OTTAWA -- Ottawa residents won’t be able to drive to Mooney’s Bay, Petrie Island and Britannia Park to get some fresh air over the Easter weekend.

The City of Ottawa is closing the parking lots and blocking vehicular access at the three popular beach areas immediately due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All municipal parks are currently closed across Ottawa in a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa.  Residents are allowed to walk through the parks to get some exercise and fresh air, but play structures and sports facilities are off limits.

In a memo to Council, General Manager of Recreation, Culture and Facility Services Dan Chenier says “observations since the closure of city parks indicate that these parks remain drive-to locations with chronic issues of significant number of people gathering at these locations, carrying on activities that are not permitted as per the park closure directives, and not consistently practicing physical distancing.”

Chenier adds the activities at Mooney’s Bay, Petrie Island and Britannia Park “have generated numerous service requests for enforcement of the closure directive.”

Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services says since April 3, officers have responded to 1,397 calls pertaining to suspected violations of COVID-19 pandemic.

Officers have issued 50 tickets.

Chenier says “staff are monitoring activities at parks across the city and will advise if similar measures are required at other locations.”

The National Capital Commission has closed all parking lots at trailheads and off-leash dog parks across the Greenbelt. The Bruce Pit off-leash dog park is closed.

Benches, outhouses and picnics areas also closed.