WASAGA BEACH, ONT. -- Wasaga Beach's four new pods opened on Friday for the first time.

Beach ambassadors were ready and waiting for folks as they arrived at the sand-covered portion of Beach Drive, where four fenced areas are set up to reduce overcrowding.

Beachgoers are directed to an available space after they have completed a self-assessment, received hand-sanitizer and been given a day-pass wristband.

Entrance to the pods is free, but it's first-come, first-serve, and the four pods have a total capacity of 738 people.

By early afternoon, the second pod was full, and people were being directed to other areas.

Meanwhile, the largest pod, which is reserved for locals, was virtually empty.

"I feel like they're not utilizing the right amount of space over here. They are cramming everybody in one section. It's pretty ridiculous," said one visitor.

Wasaga Beach resident Jim Coleman said he's in favour of the locals-only pod. "We love it. We gotta get everybody out there to come back out to the beach and start using the area given to us."

Members of the town's COVID Command Team said adjustments could be made to the pods.

The town has bylaw officers helping to educate the public, but if capacity thresholds are crossed, it could change to enforcement.

Being caught inside a pod without a wristband could result in a $300 fine.