Police have been captured swarming a woman exiting the ocean after a swim, putting on an intimidating display despite the beach being one of several to recently reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The bikini clad woman was shown surrounded by five officers at Balmoral Beach on Sydney’s North Shore on Friday, after the Mosman Council reopened its popular beaches last week.
Several restrictions still applied however, with people still banned from sun baking on the sand and permitted to only use the waterway for exercising purposes.
The group of officers reportedly approached the woman because she was sun baking.
While the offence carries a $1000 on-the-spot fine, the woman appeared to have not been issued one, and instead enjoyed a lengthy discussion with the police officers about the upcoming school term.
“They were actually really sweet and told me it was fine to go swimming we just couldn't sit on the beach,” the 48-year-old mum told Daily Mail.
“My friend and I had a long chat with them about how we are all concerned about sending our children back to school next term.”
She reportedly said the image captured of her surrounded by police was a powerful reflection of the drama unfolding around the world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sydney beaches under the management of Randwick Council have also been reopened, with people allowed to use beaches from Clovelly to Yarra Bay for exercise – both in the water and on the sand.
Anyone taking advantage of this will still need to comply with social-distancing rules.
“People must maintain 1.5 metres between each other, limit groups to two people and move on once they have completed their exercise,” the council said in a statement.
Sitting, sun-baking or gathering on the sand is banned while ocean pools – closed with the beaches on March 28 – remain off-limits.
Bondi and nearby beaches in Waverley Council are lined with barricades and fencing, with those at Manly and Dee Why not patrolled, and other northern beaches open and being patrolled by lifeguards.
There are varying policies in place for beaches stretching from Newcastle to Wollongong.
Lifeguard patrols at all beaches from Newcastle to Gosford's Umina have ceased but running, swimming and surfing are permitted.
In the Sutherland Shire lifeguards are conducting hourly head-counts of swimmers, joggers and walkers while colleagues urge away those dawdling on the sand.
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