Ontario Premier Doug Ford says "there will be plenty of long weekends to come," as he asks cottagers to stay home and stay away from their summer homes ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend.

Earlier this week, Ford had a conference call with a number of mayors from across Ontario’s cottage country regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their communities, and he says he thanked them for all of their incredible work.

Ford’s reminding cottage owners that we’re all in the fight against COVID-19 together, and we all need to follow social distancing and travel guidelines to keep our communities safe from the virus.

“While Ontario is vast and regions are facing the challenges of COVID-19 differently, it is more important than ever that we stick together and fight COVID-19 as one team,” says Ford, in a prepared release.

“With the Victoria Day long weekend and cottage season just around the corner, we need to stay vigilant. We are still battling a terrible virus, so we are asking seasonal residents travelling to their cottages to practice the same public health measures as usual, including no public gatherings, avoiding nonessential travel as much as possible, and continue to practice social distancing.

“Cottage country residents are known for their hospitality and normally they would be welcoming tourists with open arms right now. This year, however, they are asking visitors to help them fight the spread of COVID-19 and hold-off travelling to these regions until it is safe to do so.”

Ford says he understands that people are eager to get outside and enjoy the warming weather, "but there will be plenty of long weekends to come. Right now, we need to focus on doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians. We’re all in this together and together we will beat COVID-19.”

On May 5, Ford had said that he “couldn’t hold taxpayers back from going to their cottages” during a daily press conference at Queen’s Park. He asked how healthcare officials could predict the impact of COVID-19 by May 24, saying that Ontario was doing "pretty good."

On May 7, Ford clarified his comments, asking cottagers to stay home.