Randwick Council opened Coogee, Maroubra and Clovelly Beach this weekend between 6am and 9am, with exercise the only activity permitted. This followed weeks of closures after crowds ignored social distancing rules and crowded onto the sand.
Yesterday these three beaches were packed out and the “no swimming” rule being ignored, and today Aussies appear to have done the same thing.
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NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Sunday afternoon councils were trying to do the right thing to attempt to let people back onto the beaches.
“But we also have to be sensible we know that to keep safe we have to have social distancing,” he said according to the ABC.
“I think the councils are having a very tough time as a result of some selfish individuals who think that beaches are their own personal backyard as I heard someone say, well sorry, no they’re not, they’re actually a place that we all share and we have to share it safely.”
The three iconic beaches in Sydney’s east were closed on Friday, less than a week after being reopened, because social distancing rules were ignored.
Video from 8.35am this morning released on Twitter shows the busy state of Coogee Beach.
— Timothy O’Leary (@teoleary1) April 25, 2020
Just five minutes later, another person took to social media to show the popular beach swarming with people.
Moths to a flame at Coogee at 8.40 this morn.
Three hour opening hours going great guns*
*if you are the virus pic.twitter.com/0VPYikFHOv
— Ruth Wynn-Williams (@RuthWW) April 26, 2020
People dressed in swimming costumes and towels in the footage suggest they were headed for a swim.
An hour and a half after the 9am closure, beachgoers could still be seen at the beach.
This photo was taken at 10.40am.
Fencing around the beach was meant to reduce the amount of people through entry and exit points in an attempt to control numbers, but locals raised concerns it was merely creating bottlenecks.
Local woman Meredith Ward, a regular swimmer at Coogee, said Sunday was the busiest she had seen the beach since it reopened after being closed on March 28 due to coronavirus restrictions.
“It was definitely the usual swimmers doing their laps but there were people in the shallow water not exercising and too many people hanging around both the beach and the promenade for comfort,” she told the ABC.
“I’m not worried about infection risk in the ocean as we are well spaced out, but I am concerned by the crowding at the entry and exit points to the beach.”
Randwick Council said it will reassess the situation on Monday.
Waverley Council have kept their iconic beaches including Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama closed, even for exercises purposes.