Drive-in theatres to reopen, backcountry camping allowed as Ontario eases restrictions


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It’s once again possible to sleep or watch a movie under the stars as Ontario continues to ease restrictions on outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Backcountry camping and camping on Crown Land will be allowed as of Monday, the province said Saturday morning. Additionally, drive-in theatres will be allowed to reopen on Sunday.

That’s good news for David Bird, owner of the Port Elmsley Drive-in outside Smiths Falls, who’s been lobbying to be allowed to open again for weeks.

“I’ve seen the reports, but I haven’t seen anything official. I’m kind of waiting on the parameters,” Bird said on Saturday morning.

“We worked with the health department on a plan about a month ago, so we’re pretty comfortable with it.”

Bird, who boasts that drive-ins “were social distancing before social distancing was cool,” is hoping he can be open for next weekend, and is planning to operate at half capacity to begin with and require tickets to be bought in advance online. He promised to keep fans updated on the drive-in’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/portelmsleydrivein.