BARRIE, ONT. -- After multiple instances of large crowds converging last summer, the Town of Innisfil is taking steps to prevent similar cases this summer.

As of May 21, the start of the Victoria Day long weekend, parking at Innisfil Beach Park will be restricted to residents only. A parking gate will be installed at the entrance of Innisfil Beach Park, which will be staffed on weekends until June 27.

"To help reduce crowds and out-of-area travel, we're imposing measures that will keep our community safe while the province's vaccination program reaches more people," Mayor Lynn Dollin said in a news release. "Our residents did such a great job following the COVID-19 measures and guidelines at our beaches last summer, and we are counting on our citizens to show that same level of support and co-operation again."

As of June 27, the parking gate will be controlled by city staff seven days a week throughout the summer, ending September 6. Resident parking passes from 2020 remain valid through 2022.

The Gilford boat launch will have free parking for residents, while non-residents will have to pay at the Shore Acres lot, located on Neilly Road. This will also be controlled by staff on weekends only from May 21 to June 27, then daily through September 6.

The town is also putting in a host of other new measures at the park, including limiting sunbathing and general relaxation to non-sand areas. Only active play will be permitted on the sand.

Other measures that will be in effect this coming season include:

  • No outdoor cooking equipment (barbeques)
  • Allowing dogs on the condition that they are leashed and away from the actual beach
  • Painted physical distancing circles on the grass
  • Maximum occupancy limits posted
  • Increasing number of by-law officers on weekends

Non-residents who park in a designated resident-only area will be subject to a fine of $150 or have their vehicle towed.