Municipalities take matters into their own hands as mobs of people pack beaches
BARRIE, ONT. -- Several municipalities are taking matters into their own hands as packed beaches clearly show the message of physical distancing isn't sinking in.
On Saturday, changes are coming to Innisfil Beach Park as the town bans tents and umbrellas on the beach and restricts anyone from sitting or sunbathing in sandy areas.
On Canada Day, more than 1,000 non-resident cars were turned away from the beach, and more than 100 tickets were issued.
Town officials are now considering heftier penalties.
"People are maybe not that worried about getting a parking ticket, but I think people will think twice about parking illegally when they know there's a very good chance that their car will be towed," said Mayor Lynn Dollin.
Still, the parking situation isn't stopping beachgoers from unloading and coming in on foot, which isn't sitting well with some locals.
Innisfil resident Carol Griffith is planning a protest on Sunday, hoping the town will follow through in keeping the beach for residents only.
"They can walk in this park alone anywhere they want and not have to prove they're a resident," she said. "When you just pacify the residents, and you don't actually come up with something or at least consider suggestions, what do you expect, you're gonna get upset residents."
Meanwhile, Barrie's Centennial Beach has been packed with crowds as the temperature climbs.
"It is a challenge when a lot of people want to travel to your beach, but we're working hard to ensure people maintain their distance as much as feasible," said Dawn McAlpine, City of Barrie.
The city has an order in place that restricts waterfront property to residents only.
More than 2,000 tickets have been issued in three weeks, 250 of those on Canada Day.
The city has reached out to the province to approve a fine increase, which could see people paying three times the amount of the current infraction.
But in Orillia, it's a different story.
Mayor Steve Clarke said the city is welcoming visitors, but they will have to pay to park.
"There are measures in place that act as a bit of a deterrent in other municipalities, and they aren't in place in Orillia, or not to the degree that they are elsewhere. We could be seen as an attractive alternative, and that's one of the reasons we looked at those measures," Clarke explained.
Starting Thursday, Orillia residents will need a parking pass, while visitors will have to pay 50-dollars.