While Sauble Beach is closed due to poor compliance with distancing and other rules, things are going pretty well on Saugeen Shores beaches according to a special council meeting Monday night to discuss beach access during COVID-19.
Mayor Luke Charbonneau says, "Council didn't take any action to increase restrictions on beach access."
He notes, so far, people have been respecting physical distancing rules and there haven't been many problems, considering this past weekend was a long weekend for many, "We had sort of, the typical bylaw infractions that we always see every year and we had some minor issues with folks perhaps in gatherings a little bit larger than they should have been, but nothing that couldn't be managed. We had our police and bylaw enforcement on the beach and talking to those folks and they got excellent compliance when they did speak to them," says Charbonneau
Charbonneau says if things do get out of control, the Town will consider closing the beach, saying, "We continue to have the ability to close the beaches if we have to protect public health and we'll take that step as a last resort if we need to but we're not contemplating that as of today."
He also notes Saugeen Shores beaches are completely open and staff are actually looking for ways to allow for more towel space so people can set up without being to close to one another.
Charbonneau says if needed, there are some parking areas that could be turned into additional towel space. He also notes the beach volleyball courts could be designated as towel space, if necessary.
Staff say the parking area north of the Beachside Cafe is being reduced to one row to allow for more towel space. Beach space has also been expanded on the south side of the cafe.
Town staff also noted Monday night that parking has been reduced at Gobles Grove due to high water levels and users are encouraged to bike to the beach or use roadside parking further south.
Staff have also laid out plans for more signage as well as a social media campaign, some of which you may already have seen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Charbonneau says you still cannot have a gathering of more than ten people, by Provincial Order and you still have to maintain six feet of space between yourself and others.
He adds, while nearby Sauble Beach is closed, he doesn't expect to see huge crowds from the GTA on Saugeen Shores beaches or others on the Bruce shoreline simply becasue they're not nearly as well known as Sauble Beach is to people outside of the area.
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You'll see these signs popping up on our beaches around town. Geese, bicycles, beach blankets—what other things can kids (and adults!) imagine to help measure 2 metres? ↔️ Share your ideas in the comments and do your part, stay 2 metres apart. #1BeachBlanketApart ↔️ #SaugeenShores #PortElgin #Southampton #SaugeenShoresStrong #physicaldistancing🤝🚫
Tourism businesses - if you need a couple printed copies of the poster, call Marjorie at the Municipal Office to arrange pickup: 519-832-2008 x115.— Saugeen Shores (@SaugeenShoresON) June 30, 2020
Or you can download it and print it out yourself at: https://t.co/OJoqBtUvck https://t.co/I81TO0xR0u