Ontario reports 323 new COVID-19 cases as province to reintroduce backcountry camping


Backcountry camping will be available at Ontario Parks and Crown Lands starting June 1. (CBC)

Ontario reported 323 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday morning as the province surpassed its testing benchmark for a third straight day.

The new cases bring the provincial total since the outbreak began to 27,533.

Meanwhile, 20,640 tests were processed on Friday. The current daily target is 16,000, through the system has the capacity to handle more than 20,000 on any given day.

A total of 801 people have been hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, with 121 patients in intensive care units and 84 on ventilators.

According to the province, there have been 2,247 COVID-19-related deaths, an increase of 17 deaths from the last report.

A total of 21,353 cases have been resolved.

Province to reopen drive-in theatres, batting cages

Ontario is set to reopen drive-in theatres and batting cages and reintroduce backcountry camping as the province continues to loosen measures in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The province says existing outdoor drive-in movie theatres will be allowed to resume business starting on Sunday.

The decision comes as the province proceeds with stages of a larger reopening plan.

Drive-in theatres have been operating in other parts of the country, but Ontario delayed opening them because health officials were concerned about the spread of COVID-19 without sufficient physical distancing in place.

The province says washrooms in the facilities will be operating as long as health and safety requirements are followed.

Ontario will also permit batting cages to reopen on Sunday.

Backcountry camping available starting Monday

The province has also given backcountry camping at Ontario Parks and on Crown Lands the clear to reopen.

As of June 1, Ontario Parks will open up access points, paddle and portage routes and hiking trails, as well as day-use activities, such as picnicking and off-leash pet areas.

Recreational camping will also reopen on Crown land.

But the province says some measures will still be in place. These include restricting campsites to no more than five visitors during a stay, unless the group of people lives in the same household.

The province is also reminding visitors to practice physical distancing and to wear a face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

All building facilities, including campgrounds, roofed accommodations, visitors centres, park stores, playgrounds and beaches will remain closed but some washrooms will be made available.

CBC News

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