By: Mike Anderson
With the Town of Georgina’s public parks, beaches and now boat launches closed to residents and non-residents alike, Mayor Margaret Quirk is issuing a warning to those who are thinking about visiting recreational areas this weekend.
“We continue to communicate to both residents and non-residents that our parks and beaches are closed. Period,” said Mayor Quirk in an email to the Post.
“We are in the process of adding additional signage and barricades to deter anybody from visiting those areas.”
The Town is also stepping up its communications to urge people to stay home and not use public recreational areas as the weather warms up.
And it’s asking residents to report anyone violating the closures by calling the Municipal Law Enforcement Division at 905-476-4301, ext. 2279; for after hours and weekends, call ext. 2281.
“If your call goes to voicemail, leave a detailed message including the date, time and location of the violation, and an officer will investigate,” reads the Town’s website.
According to a Town spokesperson, bylaw officers will provide an initial verbal warning, but will issue fines if the situation warrants. Fines start at around $125 for bylaw violations; and $750 for violations of the province’s emergency orders. Bylaw officers can also seek higher fines based on the severity of the offence.
“Our message to all is to ‘stay home.’ Going to one of our parks or beaches is not an essential trip for anyone. The longer it takes for people to get that message the longer it will take to get through this and flatten the curve,” added Mayor Quirk.
The Mayor’s warning follows today’s announcement by Ontario Premier Doug Ford urging cottage-goers not to travel north to self-isolate in their cottages.
The concern is that they may strip local grocery stores, and if they are infected, overly burden local health-care systems that are already under pressure.
The province has ordered the closure of all communal, shared, public or private outdoor recreational amenities across Ontario in order to stem the transmission of COVID-19.
The order was issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act this past Monday evening, effectively shuttering all playgrounds, dog parks, beaches, condo parks and gardens, as well as other recreational facilities.
For regular updates on Town services, closures and cancellations, visit georgina.ca/COVID-19.