Prince Edward County to Tourists: Stay away this weekend

The entrance to Sandbanks Provincial Park, near Picton, Ont. (Kimberley Johnson / CTV News Ottawa)

The Mayor of Prince Edward County is pleading with out-of-town tourists not to visit the area during the Civic Holiday long weekend. 

In a message posted online, Mayor Steve Ferguson asked those who do not have accommodations already booked this weekend to kindly stay away, as the area has been swamped by visitors the past few weeks. 

"Provincial and municipal beaches are crowded and closing within hours of opening," Ferguson said, adding that with visitors being turned away, it's also creating gridlock on County Roads. 

Sandbanks Provincial Park in Picton has been dealing with mass overcrowding at its facilities and beaches, forcing it to close several times over the past week after reaching capacity. 

While the summer usually brings an onslaught of tourists to the area, Ferguson said this year with the region is stage three of the province's COVID-19 recovery plan before others, it's seen an influx of those on day-trips. 

"Add in these new variables and we’re seeing a major strain on our beaches, outdoor spaces, roads and amenities," he said. 

"This is not the weekend to visit the county on a whim," Ferguson said, adding they'd be more than happy to welcome tourists at any other time, but this year has proven challenging. 

Ferguson said The Little Bluff Conservation Area will also not open for the long weekend because of overcrowding issues.