For many Sydneysiders, time at the beach is a vital part of everyday life. However, due to concerns about overcrowding and community transmission, several beaches in Sydney have been closed to the public in recent weeks. Three popular beachfronts – Coogee, Maroubra, and Clovelly – will reopen from today for “essential exercise” purposes only, which excludes sunbathing, lounging or eating. Authorities have warned that if distancing rules aren’t adhered to, these sandy shores could once again be off-limits.
When the government introduced the first distancing measures five weeks ago, not everyone in Sydney appeared to take them seriously. Although outdoor gatherings had been restricted to no more than 500 people, thousands of sun-seekers flocked to Bondi on March 21, drawing condemnation from both home and abroad, particularly from people living under harsh lockdown conditions overseas.
Many more regulations have been brought in since that sunny Saturday afternoon last month, with gatherings of no more than two people now the rule. Police now have powers to enforce these restrictions and issue steep fines of up to $11,000 to those refusing the comply, bu, even with these deterrents in place, there continue to be examples of people ignoring safe distancing.
In her media briefing on the morning of April 20, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian, urged Sydneysiders to abide by regulations or risk losing access to beaches for a second time. “All of us have given up a lot to get where we are,” she said, referring to the positive impact social restrictions have had on ‘flattening the curve’. “We need to all be in this together to have a positive outcome. So, please do the right thing”