If you had plans to visit Mooney's Bay, Petrie Island, or Britannia Park this Easter weekend, you'll only be able to visit on foot. Starting on Friday, the city has prohibited all vehicular access and car parking at the beach areas, due to COVID-19 in Ottawa. If you're not a local, sadly you'll have to visit somewhere closer to home.

There's bad news ahead for anybody who wanted a little bit of beachside fresh air during their long Easter weekend. 

In an announcement on Thursday, the City of Ottawa confirmed that they would be closing all vehicular access to the three beaches, which will only be accessible to those who are able to get there on foot.

In a memo to Council, made public by CTV News, General Manager of Recreation, Culture, and Facility Services Dan Chenier confirmed the latest closures.

“Observations since the closure of city parks indicate that these parks remain drive-to locations with chronic issues of significant numbers of people gathering at these locations,” Chenier explained.

He added that some people appear to be “carrying on activities that are not permitted as per the park closure directives, and not consistently practicing physical distancing.”

Chenier also noted that the activities at all three of the beach areas “have generated numerous service requests for enforcement of the closure directive.” 

This comes after the city made moves to close all municipal parks across Ottawa, in an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19 in the capital.

While residents are still allowed to walk in parks, to get exercise, or to walk dogs, facilities like play structures and sports courts are forbidden.

Anybody caught in violation of this protocol can expect to be hit with hefty fines.                                 

Last week, one Ottawan was slapped with an $880 fine for walking his dog alone in Britannia Park. According to a city bylaw officer, he was failing to comply with Ontario's latest social distancing rules.

If you're feeling unsure about what is and isn't allowed, you can find more details on the Ottawa Public Health website.

On Wednesday, the city's medical officer of health suggested that there could be up to 34,000 current cases of undiagnosed COVID-19 in Ottawa.

While projections suggest that the capital's hospitals are coping with the number of cases of COVID-19, the situation will only remain stable if locals continue to practice social distancing, Dr. Vera Etches explained.

Even if your long weekend is going to be a little more boring than usual, remember to stay home and stay safe, Ottawa!

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