Ontario won't close packed beaches despite major overcrowding issues
TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford will not order provincial beaches to close despite incidents of major overcrowding.
Ford made the comment on Friday after being asked about crammed beaches in Wasaga Beach on Canada Day.
The Town of Wasaga Beach Mayor Nina Bifolchi slammed the premier on Thursday, saying his government “mismanaged” the reopening of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, which led to “reckless” overcrowding.
"The Government of Ontario has mismanaged Wasaga Beach Provincial Park during the reopening and it is frustrating for residents and visitors" Bifolchi said.
As a result, the town announced on Thursday it will close the sand-covered portion of Beach Drive on July 9 and reduce the number of beachfront parking spots by 50 per cent immediately.
"People know what the rules are and yet they clearly ignored them all for the sake of a day at the beach," Bifolchi said. "I was appalled by what I witnessed."
The town has now requested additional support from the Ontario Provincial Police to help enforce physical distancing regulations.
Ahead of another sunny and hot weekend in Ontario, Ford is urging people to use "common sense" when heading out for a day at the beach.
"We aren't going to be closing any Ontario provincial beaches right now," Ford said. "Then again, I just ask the people for common sense, you go to a packed beach, find another place if it's jammed packed."
"I wouldn't go to jam-packed beach."
Toronto mayor also urges 'common sense' at beaches
Mayor John Tory is urging Toronto residents to practice a little “common sense” and to seek out less crowded areas should they head to a beach to cool off this weekend.
The heat wave comes after large crowds packed Cherry Beach and Woodbine Beach in recent weekends, prompting concerns about a lack of physical distancing.
Speaking with CP24 on Friday morning, Tory said that the city has no plans to limit attendance at its beaches but does expect people to continue to avoid “large crowd scenes” as much as possible.
He said that there are numerous beaches in the city that haven’t drawn massive crowds as well as six outdoor pools that will remain open until 11:45 p.m. during the heat wave, albeit with capacity reduced to 25 per cent to ensure physical distancing.
With files from CP24's Chris Fox