Some of Sydney’s most popular beaches neared capacity Monday as huge crowds flocked to the sand for the public holiday, although council was pleased to see social distancing was largely observed.
At 1pm on Monday, Waverley Council said in a statement that Bondi beach was nearing capacity and warned if more people came, access would be restricted.
“If you haven’t left for the beach yet, please rethink your trip and check on capacity later in the day,” Waverley Council said.
The council also reminded people that gatherings are limited to 20 people while at the beach, as per the current coronavirus Public Health Order.
“We also encourage people to continue to social distance by 1.5 metres (or a towel-length apart) unless from the same household,” the statement said.
“We do not like having to restrict access to the beach, so as a reminder to everyone if beach access is closed or the sand looks busy, please come back another time or use that time to visit our wonderful cafes and other local businesses.”
Yahoo News Australia understands people along the beach were adhering to the towel length apart distancing. A photo shared earlier today by Waverley Council showed people spacing out along the beach and the post asked for revellers to head to the middle of the sand, as the north end of the beach was getting busy.
Waverley Council also looks after Bronte and Tamarama beaches.
As the sun was dipping late Monday afternoon, the mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, thanked the public for ensuring they were adequately distanced.
“This long weekend has really been a tester for this summer, as we adjust to our new normal of managing numbers, watching social distancing and group sizes,” he said.
“We did nearly reach capacity at Bondi Beach today, but thankfully people got our message of coming back another time. At no point did we need to restrict access to the sand.”
It wasn’t just Waverley Council which had to issue warnings on the Labour Day public holiday. Randwick Council also advised people to make alternate plans as the crowds grew.
“Many of our beaches are approaching capacity, so please make alternate plans if you're heading to our coastline,” the council wrote on Facebook at around 2pm on Monday.
“If you're already in the area, enjoy the warm weather and the views from our beachside parks and reserves, or support local businesses by visiting stores in our town centres.
“Please remember to follow social distancing guidelines.”
JUST IN: Waverley Council and Randwick Council have issued warnings as Sydneysiders pile on to beaches for the public holiday.— 9News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) October 5, 2020
Authorities say many beaches are nearing capacity and closures may be implemented if crowds continue to build. #9News pic.twitter.com/zjzNgSYNxe
At 12pm today, The Sutherland Shire announced beaches in Cronulla were nearing capacity and then at 2pm, beaches carparks were full.
“Sutherland Shire Council Public Safety and Lifeguards personnel are currently working with NSW Police to manage crowd numbers on North Cronulla Beach and ensure that social distancing is maintained,” a Sutherland Shire spokesperson said in a statement to Yahoo News Australia.
“Those intending to visit beaches within the Sutherland Shire are encouraged to explore other areas of the Bate Bay coastline that are currently less crowded, or delay their visit until crowd numbers subside.”
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