BARRIE, ONT. -- The city of Orillia is now implementing a short-term waterfront parking program to limit visitors to the area.

The program enables taxpayers to park and launch their boats for free, while visitors must pay a $50 flat rate for each.

"We have had to take decisive action to limit the amount of people visiting our waterfronts. The health and safety of our residents is the top priority," said Mayor Steve Clarke.

The waterfront parking program will be in place from Thursday to Sunday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. as of July 9.

Parking and boat launches will continue to be free from Monday to Wednesday.

The program includes Couchiching Beach Park, Centennial Park, Veterans' Memorial Park and J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park lots and surrounding streets and the Couchiching Beach Park and Collins Drive boat launches.

"During normal times, we welcome our visitors and neighbouring township residents to our waterfront parks with open arms, but these are not normal times," said Mayor Clarke.

Residents can park for free with a permit available on the city's website.