No bustle in the Bend for unofficial start of summer

Grand Bend beach. August 22, 2019 Image via the Grand Bend beach cam at lambtonshores.ca

For the first time in recent memory, Grand Bend will not be bustling with thousands of visitors this long Victoria Day weekend.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bars and restaurants in the Lake Huron resort village remain closed, except for takeout and delivery, and visitors are encouraged to stay away.

Lambton Shores Mayor and county Warden Bill Weber said in 65 years, he can’t remember a time when the municipality and beach have essentially been closed heading into the unofficial start of summer.

“It’s a really tough thing for a mayor to say don’t come to my community but that is the message,” said Weber. “We need to protect our residents there, health and safety is number one now, we’ll get through the financial stuff.”

Weber said orders to physically distance and limit gatherings will be enforced.

“We will have some bylaw folks on duty this weekend. Because it’s the long weekend, the OPP will be around as they are on normal May 24 weekends. They’ll be looking for groups and hopefully, everyone respects the rules and continues with no more than five from your household,” he said.

The mayor said Pinery Provincial Park will be open for limited use as of Friday, May 15.

He said it’s really just for local use for walking, hiking and cycling. The beaches will be closed and no facilities including washrooms and shelters will be open in the park.

Weber said you can get outside and enjoy some nature though.

The provincial government extended its state of emergency earlier this week to June 2.