Concern, confusion in Grand Bend, Ont. ahead of long weekend
GRAND BEND, ONT. -- With the province opening some outdoor activities beginning Saturday, there's concern more people will head to the beach in Grand Bend, Ont. despite the stay-at-home order still being in place.
Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber says, “We’re not open for business here, we’re hoping (people) respect the rules.”
Weber is among those concerned the warm weather and loosening of some restrictions will lead to large gatherings on Grand Bend’s beach
“It’s a hard message for a mayor to give on a long weekend when the weather is great. But there is a provincial stay-at-home order and we hope people respect that.”
At the entrance to the main beach in Grand Bend there's a sign asking people to "Leave home only for essential purposes," but businesses on Main Street are still preparing for more customers on the long weekend.
Greg Gallello, owner of the Yogen Fruz, says, “When we have Mother Nature on our side, everything falls into place. Sometimes more than we need it to, or want it to.”
Gallello says he’s conflicted about the potential for large crowds in Grand Bend this weekend, but has prepared and improved the shop just in case.
“We’ve spent the last couple months making it COVID-safe, social distance safe. Separating everything from the cash register inside and the food handling, and the customers outside.”
Local residents are also worried about large crowds showing up
Andrew Clayton says, “I think the biggest worry right now is hoping that we don’t overdo it and we don’t end up in another lockdown.”
Weber says bylaw officers have been preparing and will be out this weekend to ensure the rules are being followed
“They are going to be out enforcing activities on the beach that aren’t supposed to be there, picnicking and tents and that.”
Beach communities across the province are trying to interpret the government’s announcement Thursday afternoon.
In an email Thursday afternoon, the province said beaches are considered to be recreational areas, but individuals should look at local websites as municipalities or public health officials may impose their own public health measures.