A different kind of long-weekend in cottage country

Commuters head back from a long weekend in cottage country drive down Highway 400 on Monday, May 18, 2015. (Katherine Ward/ CTV Barrie)

The May long weekend is normally all about barbeques and roadtrips. But this weekend, like everything else during COVID-19, will be different.

That includes cottage country. We've been hearing for weeks from officials who would rather you stay away but if you do decide to check on your summer property, expect a very different scene this year.

Muskoka Lakes Mayor, Phil Harding, told Moore in the Morning he's calling it an "isolation weekend," rather than a holiday weekend.

He expects those who decide to make the trip will be doing spring mainenance around their property rather than socializing.

He points out that many restaurants, bars and retail stores are closed. Don't be surprised if you see lineups at grocery and hardware stores.

"I'm going to encourage people, if they are up here, to try to bring as many supplies as they can," Harding says.

If you do need to leave your cottage, Harding hopes you'll wear a mask, be respectful and try to avoid contact with others.

It seems COVID-19 has caused something of a divide in cottage country.

"I've never in my lifetime seen a more polarizing topic," Harding says.

On one side, are many of the full-time residents who would rather not see any out-of-towners this weekend, worried they might bring the virus in with them.

On the other hand, are those who rely on them to help pay the bills.

"Our retail and our restaurants and bars, they want to get on with summer. We've only got a limited time."