GRAND, BEND, ONT. -- Grand Bend officially opened its popular sandy beaches to the public this weekend, just in time for the unofficial start to summer.

But the Mayor of Lambton Shores, Bill Weber, cautions against visiting and says he was happy to see rain blanket the shoreline Saturday morning. “As mayor I am grateful for the rain that kept the crowds lower.”

Rainfall may be to blame for the Saturday mornings slow start.

Following Friday’s provincial announcement, allowing beaches to reopen if they so choose.

“For Grand Bend it’s not that bad, it’s usually packed,” says beach goer Emily Montgomery.

While a long-weekend is meant to be fun, Weber says now is not the time to get complacent when it comes to COVID-19.

“The main message is we need people to stay home and get vaccinated and we need people to follow the rules so we can get open fully later.”

When it comes to the rules on the beach, Weber says groups of up to five from the same household can sit on the beach.

Lu, was one of visitor to soak up some sun on Saturday with his wife and son.

"I think it’s pretty empty compared to two years ago. We were here 2019 before COVID and now it’s pretty good, and everyone tries to keep the distance between.”

Up the main strip of Grand Bend, shops and eateries welcome foot traffic during a long weekend.

“This is probably one of the slowest starts I’ve seen in eight years,” said Armand, owner of Hobo Piez, an eight-year family ran business.

Armand says he relies on locals and visitors for financial support.

“I like everybody to come support, I have nothing to say about people travelling, they stay socially distanced so it’s good.”

Weber says that OPP and bylaw will be monitoring Grand Bend for the entirety of the long weekend, and fines will be issued if necessary.