It has been over a year and a half since the pandemic started. COVID-19 was a major factor in destinations and entertainment places closing. Beaches were one of them, as for the entire summer of 2020 many of the locations were closed to Ontarians. However, in 2021 people have been receiving vaccines in Canada, now with approximately seventy-percent of all Canadians having at least one dose of the vaccine. This is the direct cause of why this summer, Toronto officials have decided to open up the beaches for public use. Opening beaches have caused a widespread opinion from people living in Toronto.
The times of opening and closing can vary depending on the beach. Here are some of the beaches in the GTA that are opening with vaccinated lifeguards:
Bluffer’s Park Beach (Blue Flag)
Centre Island Beach (Blue Flag)
Cherry/Clarke Beach (Blue Flag)
Gibraltar Point Beach (Blue Flag)
Hanlan’s Point Beach (Blue Flag)
Kew-Balmy Beach (Blue Flag)
Marie Curtis Park East Beach
Ward’s Island Beach (Blue Flag)
Woodbine Beach (Blue Flag)
Beaches are open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Opening beaches in the GTA benefits Canadians. A beach is a place where families and people can come together. It is a place where people can swim, play on sand and barbeque food. Having locations open means that people can enjoy going outside for what seems like the first time since the pandemic started. These activities can help improve mental health and well-being of those that had stayed locked down in their homes for the past year.
Opening beaches is also a good thing because it helps people in the GTA know that the city as a whole is progressing through this pandemic and that more and more facilities and ventures will open in the future similar to the beaches. Overall, I find that beaches should open as it can help people enjoy some quality time with families which can further improve the mood of Canadians during this pandemic.
Moreover, opening beaches comes with many consequences. Opening beaches can increase the cases of COVID-19 in that particular neighborhood. If many of the people that don’t have their first dose of the vaccine go to beaches, they can potentially infect each other with coronavirus. This increase of active cases can result in the beaches closing again. If the cases continue to rise in that particular beach and neighborhood it can eventually close other stores and locations. This can slow the process of returning back to pre-COVID-19 lifestyle.
Lastly, one of the reasons why opening beaches is bad for the GTA is because many of the beaches don’t have social distancing restrictions. Since they don’t have restrictions it means that as many people can visit beaches at the same time. This can cause overpopulated areas which can also cause a rise in COVID-19 as a result of the different variants that are arising across Canada.
Since the beaches are reopening during the pandemic, many of the beaches don’t have the required amount of lifeguards to operate accordingly. This is because of the less number of lifeguards willing to get fully vaccinated for the job. Furthermore, during the lockdown many of the lakes were not checked to see whether they are safe to swim, showing how dangerous it could be to open beaches all over the GTA.
Cobourg Mayor John Henderson said in a press release,
“The beach is a popular gathering area starting around this time of year, and for the time being, we want to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our community. During these unprecedented times it is the health and safety of our citizens that will always come first.”
Opening beaches in the GTA can result in a variety of positive and negative outcomes. While opening beaches can potentially help Canadians well-being it can also result in an increase in COVID-19 cases due to the populated areas on beaches.
Overall, I believe that reopening beaches can help citizens of the GTA. Having beaches and recreation can help people enjoy their summer. Last year, many of the people in the GTA couldn’t enjoy the summer due to lockdown. That is why I think opening can further add a sense of enjoyment for those who were in lockdown this past year.
- Wilson, K. (2020, June 10). Toronto beachgoers urged not to swim as lifeguards are off duty. CP24. https://www.cp24.com/news/toronto-beachgoers-urged-not-to-swim-as-lifeguards-are-off-duty-1.4976822?cache=.
- Staff, N. (2021, June 4). Toronto beaches open for season as heatwave hits GTA. 680 NEWS. https://www.680news.com/2021/06/04/toronto-beaches-open-for-season-as-heat-wave-hits-gta/
- Published by To Do Canada On June 29, 202118 R. (2021, July 9). COVID-19: What is Open & Closed in Toronto & GTA. To Do Canada. https://www.todocanada.ca/toronto-event-cancellations-and-closures-due-to-covid-19-outbreak/.