Woodbine Beach was littered with garbage strewn across the area on Sunday morning, reportedly left by revelers who packed the beach on Saturday.
Videos posted on social media show people dancing and drinking on the beach in close proximity, with no masks and social distancing rules being ignored.
Litter including empty bottles of alcohol, cans, food packaging, and other remnants of picnics were found in several areas of the beach along with smoldering remains of what may have possibly been beach barbecues.
William Kelly, a resident of The Beaches tells CityNews he was shocked to see the beach “demolished” after “dozens of parties.”
“It’s a disaster zone. Never in all my years of being at the beaches have I ever seen it so bad,” he said.
Kelly says complaints were called into the city as early as Saturday afternoon. He called 3-1-1 on Sunday as well, to no avail.
In response, the city’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa tells CityNews while people are encouraged to go out and enjoy the nice weather, they must continue to do so safely as “COVID-19 continues to circulate our city. ”
“This means staying home if you are sick, maintaining a physical distance of six feet from others, wearing a cloth mask especially when we can’t consistently be six feet from others, and washing our hands often. I also strongly recommend wearing a cloth mask in all indoor public spaces to protect others from your germs. This will continue to be our new reality as we live with COVID-19,” she said in a statement.
CityNews reached out to the City of Toronto about the complaints and the state of the beach.
In a statement, the city said they have “realigned resources to ensure additional bylaw enforcement in busy parks and beaches today, including Woodbine beach” and reminded residents that drinking alcohol is not permitted in public spaces.
The city says staff is currently managing increased litter in parks and beaches with additional staff on-site and mesh bins.
“Solid Waste Management Services has also increased the number of waste bins and has instituted a mid-day patrol to check if waste volumes are at the point where they need to be emptied again,” said a city spokesperson.
In terms of enforcing social distancing bylaws, the city said the preferred method of engagement is to educate people about the rules “but enforcement continues to take place if necessary.”
Jasmine Patrick with the City of Toronto said they had received a total of 55 complaints regarding city parks, but didn’t know how many were from Woodbine Beach.
The Mayor’s office said Mayor Tory “continues to remind people to physically distance themselves from others outside their social circle and follow the guidelines put in place by our public health professionals to keep them safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.”