Sydney police have immediately closed Bondi Beach after crowds reportedly exceeded Australia’s outdoor gathering limit due to Coronavirus. The country has prohibited outdoor meetings of more than 500 people in an attempt to tackle coronavirus spread. Yet huge numbers of people still flock to beaches all over Australia, flouting the warning to stay inside.
Pictures from Bondi Beach on Friday showed swimmers, surfers, and sunbathers crowded in huge numbers on the sand. New South Wales (NSW) Police Minister David Elliott said at a televised news conference that lifeguards should monitor the number of people on the beach.
If the number reaches 500, the beach will be closed, and visitors will be moving on. If anyone refuses to move, the police will be sent in. Health Minister Greg Hunt said the actions of beachgoers were “unacceptable” and called for local councils to take action to ensure that residents cooperate with the social distance recommendation. The recommendation is that people should try to stay 1.5 m (4 ft 10 in) apart. Mr. Elliott warned that other beaches would be able to take similar action if people failed to comply with the regulations.
He said to ABC News, “Some of the pictures I’ve seen from this very beach, dozens of families using public showers and toilets, are in complete denial about what this epidemic is all about.” NSW Labor Shadow Treasurer, Walt Secord, urged the government to allow the full closing of the beach.
“Today’s decisions can be life and death decisions for other people in a few days. People are violating the social-distance guidelines, so I just think it’s ridiculous.” Prime Minister Scott Morrison proposed new restrictions on socialization on Friday. Indoor spaces such as bars and restaurants will have a density of no more than one person per four square meters (43 sq ft) of floor space. The previous total limit of 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors is also in place. The number of coronavirus infections in Australia has grown to more than 1,000.