A bunch of beaches in Sydney’s east have reopened this morning, despite the area being a coronavirus hotspot.
The beaches at Coogee, Clovelly and Maroubra are being reopened so people can swim and exercise, as well as for the mental health of locals, Randwick Council said.
“We will be permitting limited access to our beaches for exercise purses only,” Randwick Mayor Danny Said announced.
“This means you can go for a swim, a jog or a surf, but you need to practice social distancing.”
“I know how important our beaches are to the mental health of so many in our community,” he added.
To enforce social distancing, a bunch of non-exercise activities will be banned, including sunbaking, sitting on the sand and gathering in groups larger than two.
A month ago, these beaches and others across Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and beyond were closed after crowds flocked to them in defiance of social distancing recommendations.
Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs in particular have become a hotspot for the coronavirus, so much so that Bondi even got its own popup, drive-thru clinic last month.
With 86 confirmed cases, Randwick Council has among the highest number COVID-19 cases of any local government area in the NSW.
“Our decision to close the beaches three weeks ago was not taken lightly and factored in the risk of coronavirus spread, particularly given the concentration of COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Suburbs area along with the popularity of our beaches,” Said added.
“Our decision was also based upon expected crowd numbers and people’s initial behaviour in relation to social distancing rules.”
Carparks will remain closed to stop people driving in from other suburbs, while ocean pools will also remain shut due to a public health order.
Other Sydney councils have said they have no plans to reopen their beaches for the time being.