SOUTH BRUCE PENINSULA -- The Bruce Penninsula's windswept beaches and escarpment cliffs make it a popular destination, but officials are urging anyone thinking of visiting to think again.

"The biggest worry we have in this COVID crisis is the travelling," says South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson.

"All three levels of government and departments are pleading with people to stop travelling. Stay home, hang out there until we are through this crisis."

Grey and Bruce counties have at least 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with seven of those among health care workers.

Cottagers and visitors who flock to the area put a greater strain on the already limited resources.

The hospital in Lions Head has just four inpatient beds, and Wiarton has a dozen.

Police say they will be out patrolling area highways over the long weekend and will intervene if they spot gatherings of more than five people in closed areas.

As an extreme measure to limit the number of visitors, South Bruce Peninsula has implemented a by-law banning short-term cottage rentals.

"We're not talking four or five-month rentals, we're talking a week or less. We have an abundance of that in South Bruce Peninsula," Jackson says.

The municipality will begin enforcing the ban of short-term rentals at noon on Saturday.

The by-law will remain in place until the province lifts the sate of emergency.