Sydneysiders are furious after a major threatened to shut down an iconic eastern suburbs beach this summer if crowds get too big amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bondi Beach and other beaches were closed during March and April during the first coronavirus wave, and only reopened in May under strict restrictions.
With more locals heading to the sand as the weather warms up, Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos warned beaches could close if large crowds pose a public health risk.
‘If people don’t do the right thing, and the beach has become too crowded then we’ll have to look at how we manage those numbers because I don’t want a repeat of what happened back in in March,’ she told the ABC.
With more and more locals heading to the sand as the weather warms up, Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos warned beaches could close if large numbers of people pose a public health risk. Pictured: Coogee Beach on Sunday August 30
Bondi Beach (pictured) and other beaches were closed during March and April during the first coronavirus wave, and only reopened in May under strict restrictions
The warnings come after massive crowds of people flocked to beaches across Sydney last Sunday to enjoy the start of spring (Clovelly Beach pictured in April)
‘I think things are different and they’ll have to be different because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.’
While Ms Masselos said she hopes beaches can remain open, locals have slammed the possibility as ‘increasingly draconian’.
‘I think it’s probably safer to be outside down the beach rather than indoors at shopping centres and workplaces,’ one Sydneysider wrote on Facebook.
‘Ridiculous. Beaches are places where people keep their distance naturally. If you can spend your whole day at a shopping centre, why not a couple of hours on the beach?’ wrote another.
‘The inconsistency of our increasingly draconian governments is getting laughable.’
‘How can the beach be any worse than going to a supermarket? Police the behaviour, not the location. Social distancing is the same no matter where you do it,’ another comment read.
‘How can Scomo hold NSW as the golden state when you cannot go to the beach as normal. Stop messing around and get rid of the virus.’
Northern Beaches Council has also threatened to close its beaches ‘if crowds become too large and unmanageable’.
CEO Ray Brownlee said rangers and lifeguards will continue to monitor coastal areas, and ensure the four-square-metre rule is being adhered to.
Sydney locals have slammed the possibility of beach closures as ‘increasingly draconian’ and said supermarkets pose a higher health risk
‘Council is also increasing its cleansing regime of popular outdoor public places, providing extra restrooms in key locations, and reviewing the need for Council-sponsored outdoor events during summer,’ he said.
During the first outbreak of COVID-19 in Sydney, some councils closed car parks, erected ‘swim and go’ signs and used restricted entry points to deter beachgoers.
The warnings come after massive crowds of people flocked to beaches across Sydney last Sunday to enjoy the start of spring.
Bondi and Coogee beaches were packed with thousands of people by midday while Manly Beach was much the same.
Lifeguards used loudspeaker systems to try and encourage swimmers and sunbakers to practice social distancing but photographs showed crowds packed together like sardines on the shore.