Magog opens two beaches to help beat the heat

By Michael Boriero - Local ­Journalism Initiative Reporter

The City of Magog opened two of its three beaches this past weekend in response to a blistering heat wave washing over Quebec.
The Plages des Cantons and the Plage de l’Ouest are staying open for the remainder of the summer season. Meanwhile, Plage de l’Est is off limits for now, as the city is unable to ensure that beach-goers will be able to maintain the required physical distance.
Magog Mayor Vicki-May Hamm said she never imagined beaches would get the go-ahead from the Quebec government, especially at the start of the pandemic. However, citizens rushing to the water this week will still need to be cautious.
“It’s the same thing as for everything else, people have to follow the rules of distance and keep their distance, that’s the main thing, so we’re just going to try to direct people to make sure that they don’t have to criss-cross,” said Hamm in a phone interview.
According to a press release, there will be lifeguards present at the beaches every day between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to uphold safety measures. There will also be supervision hours from Monday to Thursday between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
But, according to Hamm, lifeguards are not required to enforce health and safety rules drawn up by the Quebec government. They aren’t there to act like police, she said. She also believes that after three months citizens understand the gravity of the situation.
“I have to say, at the point that we’re at now, we have to trust the citizens, they know what they have to do. For three months we’ve been telling them to wash their hands, stay at two metres, and wear a mask if necessary,” she said.
The city has set up hand washing stations at the entrance of both beaches and municipal employees will be there to explain the health and safety rules. Masks will not be required, unless people are in a situation where they are unable to keep a distance.
“It’s the same rule as the government, if there’s too many people and you cannot respect the 1.5 metres then you have to wear a mask,” said Hamm. “If there’s space around you, you don’t have to.”

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