Sault Ste. Marie campers rejoice as private campgrounds reopen in Ontario
SAULT STE. MARIE -- Campers in Sault Ste. Marie were able to hit up their favourite campsites this weekend, as most private campgrounds reopened in Ontario on Friday.
But despite being able to reopen, one Sault campground owner says it hasn't been easy.
"We were told Friday morning what restrictions to amenities would be in place, so we were scrambling quite a bit," said Bill Richard, Sault Ste. Marie KOA Holiday campground owner.
"We lost a month and a half completely of business and we probably lost about 75 percent of reservations for the summer."
Richard says that already looks to be changing, with bookings being rescheduled for later in the summer.
"A lot of those are from here locally, which I think is what we're going to see this year," he said.
"Obviously with the border being closed and international flights not happening, we're losing a lot more business from abroad."
So far, Richard says morale around the grounds have been high amongst campers.
He says many are adhering to physical distancing rules and keeping "ten to fifteen" feet away from other groups.
"For us, it's been an absolute dream to return here," said Illa Gray, a KOA camper.
"My husband and I have waited three years to get back here, but we've made it."
Gray says her fiancée's car accident three years ago prevented the couple from returning.
In between of his recovery, she says their son was born, which really made her want to return.
"I was hoping COVID-19 wouldn't prevent us from camping this year, since it's been a really long time," she said.
"I got some beautiful pictures of sitting on the swing with my son and we got to play games again, I don't know, it feels just like, back like home."