Muskoka is doing all it can to protect its residents and visitors from the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the region has experienced an exceptionally low occurrence of COVID-19, it’s ensuring things stay that way by taking every measure possible to prevent the spread of the virus.

Given the high volume of summertime visitors to the picturesque region, this focus remains extremely important – especially at a time when renting a cottage in Muskoka is arguably more popular than ever before.

Here are the safety measures you can expect in the Muskoka region, as it moves into Stage 3 of the Province’s COVID-19 reopening plan on Friday.

Mandatory Masks

Don’t forget to pack your mask next time you’re cottage-bound. Following Toronto’s lead, residents and visitors of Simcoe County and Muskoka are now required to mask-up when in indoor public spaces or on transit. This began on Monday, July 13. As in Toronto, face coverings are required in places like indoor retail stores, community centres, and on public transit.

Drive-Through Testing

Last month, Muskoka made headlines with pop-up drive-through COVID-19 testing centres in both Bracebridge and Huntsville. This week, the region announced the addition of more drive-through sites throughout cottage country between July 15 and August 6. They’ll pop up in places like Grevenhurst, Bracebridge, Georgian Bay, Bala, and Port Carling. Of course, the drive-through locations complement the region’s existing testing centres.

Rental Restrictions

After months of being cooped up in the city confines, rental cottages are more coveted than ever. As expected, any reputable cottage rental company has switched up operations in response to COVID-19, with heightened cleaning and sanitation measures and guest restrictions. Muskoka District Rentals, for example, blocks off a three-day window between rentals.

Friendly Reminders

Just like in Toronto, businesses are required to post signage that encourages patrons to wear a mask or face covering. Making for a reminder that’s impossible to miss, the town of Orillia recently adorned its “City of Orillia” entrance sign with a surgical mask. Serving as an important reminder, the massive mask features text that reads, “Keep Orillia Safe.”

Socially Distanced Celebrations

From concerts at the Key to Bala, to hot-ticket charity events, Muskoka is as known for its parties as it is its sunsets. Naturally, the summertime celebrations will look different this year. The annual Lake Joe Visionary team’s fundraiser has pivoted from the 700-plus-person affair at the sprawling CNIB Lake Joe camp to cottage docks throughout Muskoka, where participants are encouraged to host intimate dock parties for a good cause. Similarly, Muskoka’s Pride Week (July 18 to 26) has been reimagined, with a pivot to virtual and socially-distanced events.