Officials 'bracing for closure' of Ont. beaches as long weekend arrives
GODERICH, ONT. -- Goderich’s mayor isn’t pulling any punches this weekend.
He fully expects to have to close the beach to visitors at some point on Saturday.
“I caution people because in all likelihood we’re probably going to close the beach very, very early on Saturday. It could be 11 o’clock in the morning that we close,” says John Grace.
Twice this summer, Goderich has turned people away from their beaches due to overcrowding. With the long weekend upon us, Grace anticipates closing it for a third time.
“We will be very strict this weekend as we’re expecting a lot of people. We will not allow any groups over 10,” says Grace, who joins OPP officers, staff, and bylaw officers in monitoring the beach on weekends.
In Sauble Beach, where they could see as many as 80,000 visitors this weekend, they’re closing Main Street to vehicles, to allow greater social distancing.
Near Grand Bend, officials are closing Waterworks Road to try and stop people from sneaking down to Port Blake beach. And in Grand Bend, they’re asking rule-breakers to stay home.
Back in Goderich, the strict enforcement comes as a section of the newly-built, and highly-anticipated boardwalk reopens to the public.
“We’ve had nothing but good comments from visitors, and residents of Goderich,” says Rick Turner of Art’s Landscaping. The company is rebuilding the entire boardwalk in Goderich this summer and fall.
But, if you want to enjoy the boardwalk or beach this weekend, in Goderich at least, you’d better get there early because the barricades may be up before noon.
“We may close at 10 or 11 in the morning. If we can’t determine that it’s a safe zone for everyone, we’ll shut it down,” says Grace.