No sign that 'Ontario hot spot' reopening anytime soon
SAUBLE BEACH, ONT. -- There was no one on Sauble Beach’s sandy shoreline Tuesday.
The beach has been closed since mid-March due to concerns over COVID-19, and there’s no sign it’s reopening anytime soon.
Janice Jackson is the mayor for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, which includes Sauble Beach.
“Everybody loves the beach. People live here because of the beach, yet they can’t go on the beach at this time. We’re getting pushed and pulled for our all direction, but it’s a health and safety issue which really the bottom line,” says Jackson.
Last week, the Grey-Bruce Health Unit rescinded its order closing all beaches in Grey and Bruce County.
All other beaches, opened in some small way, except Sauble Beach.
The reason says Jackson, is the expected influx of day-trippers, if it reopens, especially what might happen on long weekends.
“The majority of our residents are seniors and they are very nervous about what happens here on Canada Day. It’s the biggest weekend of the year for us. We typically get about 60,000 people, two summers ago we had 80,000. It was complete mayhem here, and our community members remember that, vividly,” she says.
But every weekend, the beach stays closed, is another day with no revenue for Sauble’s many businesses.
David Dobson runs the Crowd Inn in Sauble Beach.
“I’d say it’s a six week window we have to make up for 52 weeks out of the year for us to make a living. So if the beach isn’t open, we’re in serious trouble,” he says.
He says he hopes some sort of middle ground can be found between the current full beach closure, and a long weekend free for all, described by mayor Jackson.
“If the parks in Toronto are open, I don’t see the difference between the amount of people being in parks, as opposed to people coming onto the beach,” says Dobson.
Conceding the decision to open or keep the beach closed, makes “her feel sick."
Jackson admits, she has no idea when or if Sauble Beach will reopen this summer.
“We’re honestly not sure when it’s going to re-open. There’s the health restrictions for the health department. They lifted the ban, but now I think they’re considering putting the ban back in place. The whole community is so nervous and we have to protect them at any cost. I feel sick about what’s happening here,” says Jackson.