Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that some national parks will partially reopen in early June so that people can access trails and other green spaces where physical distance can still be practiced.
This initial plan for the gradual reopening of national parks and heritage sites over the next few weeks will be accompanied by the implementation of new public health measures to protect visitors, as Trudeau said, “it is important to have fresh air, but we all have to be responsible for it. ”
The Prime Minister said that the decision to reopen the parks will be made based on the current severity of COVID-19 cases in the region, while taking into account their proximity to indigenous communities.
“We know that this pandemic has struck very differently across the country and, therefore, there will be different phases or stages in the reopening of national parks across the country. We will try to align ourselves with local jurisdiction, which the nearby provincial parks will do so that people know clearly what they can do in their own area, “he said.
Canada’s more than 200 national parks, historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas have been closed since mid-March, when vehicle access was suspended and visitor centers closed to prevent Canadians flock to these places.
In mid-April, Parks Canada announced that there will be no camping or group activities in all of Canada’s national parks until June 1 at least. Camping in national parks will continue to be prohibited for the time being.
Now, as more and more aspects of life and business begin to reopen and emerge from home stays as the new coronavirus curve continues to flatten, it looks like the federal government is ready to soften bans on visiting what are generally tourist hot spots. .
“It is not forever. Canadians have done the right things in the past few weeks, “said Trudeau. “And we have to be ready to continue making adjustments as needed.”
Although, with no indication of a reduction in restrictions on international travel, the Canada-US border appears to remain closed for at least another month, and reluctance in some provinces to welcome visitors from other parts of the country, Trudeau must have wondered what Canadians should consider. for summer outings.
In response, Trudeau said it was still difficult to predict what the pandemic would be like in the coming weeks and how it would shape the summer season.
Referring to the long weekend in May, Trudeau said he knew it would be difficult not to celebrate or spend the same amount of time outside as usual.
“We know that Canadians are making extraordinary sacrifices during this difficult time,” said Trudeau, more generally.
NEW NAVIGATION RULES, FISHERIES FINANCING
The Prime Minister has announced that in addition to the changes to the parks, new boating regulations will be imposed starting June 1 in the North. More specifically, no pleasure craft will be allowed to sail in the coastal waters of the Canadian Arctic or in the northern coastal regions of Quebec and Labrador, boats used for essential fishing and hunting being exempt.
Trudeau also used his daily address to announce new COVID-19 supports for the fishing industry, which is facing declining demand and increased economic pressure because “you can’t harvest lobster from the inside your house, “as Trudeau said.
Additional support includes $ 470 million to support fishermen, including a new benefit to cover 75 percent of losses up to $ 10,000 if their income drops this season by at least 25 percent. In addition, they are offered non-repayable grants of up to $ 10,000 for owners of fishing businesses and changes to EI rules next year.
Trudeau encouraged Canadians to support their local food sectors, suggesting buying lobster or frying a fish.