Surf's up at Ottawa beaches

Three of Ottawa's four beaches open today, but beachgoers are reminded to stay two metres away from one another, both in the water and on shore.

But keep your distance in the water and on shore to limit COVID-19 exposure

Petrie Island in Ottawa's east end is one of three city beaches officially opening Saturday. (Jérémie Bergeron/Radio-Canada)

It's finally safe to go back in the water. Just don't get too close to one another.

Mooney's Bay, Westboro and Petrie Island beaches officially open today. The beaches typically open one week earlier, on the third Saturday in June.

Lifeguards will be on duty from noon to 7 p.m. until Aug. 30. Britannia Beach will remain closed for the entire season for dredging of the riverbed.

Ottawa Public Health has resumed water testing for potentially harmful bacteria such as E. coli, and will post the water quality results here. If necessary, the city of Ottawa will post any no-swim advisories here

COVID-19 protocol

The city is urging beachgoers to practise "sun, water, and COVID-19 safety."

That means people should stay two metres away from other bathers, both in the water and on shore, although families and bubbled-in friends are exempt. According to a statement from the city, "lifeguards may educate residents on the importance of physical distancing, but only as a secondary duty."

The city also recommends packing hand sanitzer, and bringing a mask in case physical distancing becomes difficult. Beachgoers should also avoid touching other bathers' chairs and beach toys.

People enjoy the warm weather at Mooney's Bay in Ottawa on Saturday, May 23, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The beach officially opens Saturday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

For its part, the city has stepped up the cleaning schedule for public washrooms. There will be no rentals of stand-up paddle boards or volleyball nets to limit possible exposure.

A limited number of beach-accessible wheelchairs will be available to borrow for free.

Parking lots for the beaches will be open.

The $3-million dredging project to restore Britannia Beach is going ahead despite COVID-19. Since the work was last done 30 years ago, silt and sand have reduced the depth in the swimming area to less than half a metre, according to the city.

Some city of Ottawa swimming and wading pools will open July 6, with the remainder opening July 13.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now