OTTAWA -- Gatineau Police spent a day at the beach to make sure people are respecting the physical distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One day after pictures on social media showed large groups gathering at the Aylmer Marina, police said additional patrols would be deployed to the beach and other popular destinations across Gatineau to help limit the spread of novel coronavirus.

“We received many calls about people not respecting the social distancing,” said Gatineau Police Lieutenant Jean-Francois Gregoire in an interview with CTV News Ottawa on Sunday afternoon.

“We want our officers to be present and talk to the community.”

Comments on the Gatineau Police Facebook page said there were groups playing volleyball at the beach and a group of 30 people hanging out on Saturday.

“It doesn’t even compare today to the crowds we saw yesterday. We were here together as a family,” said Christine Bertrand, adding it was nice to see Gatineau Police officers at the Aylmer Marina.

“I definitely think it helps with the police presence here today.”

Jordan Lajoie also noted it was quieter at the beach on Sunday, adding “I like what I see. I'm seeing a lot more groups of five or three. (Saturday) It was like 15 to 30.”

In a message on Facebook, Gatineau Police said they were proud of the citizens who are respecting the health measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, but “we have seen several groups of people who do not respect” the measures of the Public Health Act and the calls for physical distancing.

Police say as of Sunday, additional patrols will take place at several spots, including the Aylmer Marina.

“Warnings will be given. We continue to build on awareness and collaboration,” Gatineau Police said on Facebook, adding tickets will be issued if people refuse to cooperate.

No tickets had been issued by Gatineau Police by early Sunday afternoon.. 

As of Friday, the Quebec Government allowed a maximum of 10 people from three households to gather outside.

In Ottawa, parks, sports fields, off-leash dog parks and beaches are open for the public. But Ontario’s COVID-19 rules state playground equipment, splash pads, pools and outdoor exercise equipment must remain closed.

Users are encouraged to practice physical distancing and do not gather in groups of more than five people who do not live in your household.