Australian Beaches Close in NSW as People Ignore Social Distancing Rules

By AAP

Hundreds have shown up at Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach despite it being temporarily closed to manage public gathering requirements amid the coronavirus pandemic.

NSW Police Minister David Elliott says about 450 people who showed up at Bondi Beach on Sunday morning will be told to leave.

“We are not doing this because we are the fun police. We don’t close these public spaces because we want to punish people,” he told Channel 7.

“Some people are just stupid and want to take the risk. Some people think they are above the law.”

All beaches in Sydney’s eastern suburbs have been closed on Sunday, including Bondi, Tamarama, Maroubra and Coogee.

The beaches are closed after images of people cramming on to Bondi Beach were widely condemned amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under regulations introduced to control the spread of the deadly virus, outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more have been banned.

Elliott on Saturday said beaches across the state that did not meet public gathering regulations would be closed and beachgoers who did not comply would be removed by police.

Waverley Council responded by closing Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte beaches until further notice.

Randwick Council has also closed its beaches on Sunday.

“Given the sunny weather forecast of 27 degrees for Sunday, it is highly likely that beach numbers will exceed the 500 person cap,” Randwick Mayor Danny Said said on Saturday.

“For everybody’s own health, I urge people not to come to the beach on Sunday as you are potentially putting your health and the health of others at risk.”

NSW on Saturday had recorded 83 new COVID-19 cases within 24 hours, with the state total reaching 436.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged young people to take the COVID-19 threat seriously, saying “the problem is just over the horizon, on the basis of the numbers that we’re now seeing.”

“It’s a serious matter. Save yourself and save your family,” Hazzard told reporters on Saturday.

By Steven Trask and Jodie Stephens