Ontario beaches open

Beaches are still not open in Ontario and here's why

Beaches in Ontario are still not open even though some have returned to normal in other parts of the world. 

The sandy stretches of Europe are open to the public once more, and Canadian cities like Vancouver are beginning to do the same, but Ontario has yet to announce when restrictions will ease around its beaches, which have been off limits since March

According to health officials, we probably shouldn't expect that to change anytime soon. 

In Toronto, officials are still deliberating on how best to implement a supervised beach program, meaning all the nice weather we've been having lately will need to be enjoyed elsewhere.

It's got nothing to do with the elements, either: the main worry is still community spread, says Dr. Vinita Dubey, an associate medical officer of health at Toronto Public Health. 

"There is no evidence that COVID-19 spreads in the water," said Dubey. "We are still advising that individuals avoid public gatherings and large crowds where physical distancing cannot be maintained." 

And though we're a few days into Stage 1 of the province's reopening, Premier Doug Ford has yet to up the maximum number of social gatherings from five to ten people

Though proper physical distancing could technically be feasible at larger beaches like Woodbine or Bluffer's Park, it would be difficult to enforce, as seen in Vancouver, where hundreds flocked to the sandy shores in droves. 

Meanwhile, the numbers of new positive cases have risen across Ontario in recent days, threatening the province with lockdown mode once again unless those numbers go down. It didn't stop some from heading to the beach (and being fined) this weekend anyway. 

That, coupled with what happened in Trinity Bellwoods Park this week, means there simply isn't enough confidence in Toronto's ability to distance themselves properly to warrant opening beaches up. 

Until Toronto decides to invest in monitoring infrastructure like Greece's, whose reliance on the tourism industry has seen ticketed beach facilities with stringent health measures, we likely won't be allowed to sunbathe at places like Port Stanley, Wasaga or The Sandbanks for a while. 

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