Nothing, not even the world-famous sun, sea and sand of Bondi Beach, is immune from the coronavirus.
While Bondi is frequently a seething mass of fun-filled beach life and tanned boogie-boarding bodies, COVID-19 will this summer force the local council and law enforcement authorities to limit the number of people on what is arguably Australia’s most famous shoreline.
Waverley Council has announced that plans are being put in place to limit the public’s access to the beach when necessary, including barriers at access points to prevent more people from going onto the beach on busy days.
This summer will be especially challenging
The same will apply to the other beaches in Waverley: Tamarama and Bronte.
“This summer will be especially challenging as we expect another very hot summer. However we recognise how important our open spaces and beaches are to people’s health and wellbeing, and our focus will be on how to keep these spaces open,” Mayor Paula Masselos said.
When barrier controls do need to implemented, the beach and water will still remain open to those already on the beach and the bathing area flags will remain up.
Beach ambassadors and police control entry
Beach Ambassadors will be at entry points advising that capacity has been reached. The council will also request that police attend to monitor the situation.
The popular Coastal Walk will be subject to similar restrictions if it becomes too crowded.
“Our plan has been drafted taking account of consultation with key internal and external stakeholders including Waverley Council staff, Councillors, local surf clubs, neighbouring councils and NSW Police,” the mayor said.
Waverley Council says its plan will be flexible
“It is operational in nature and informed by the Public Health Orders (PHOs) and health advice. It is designed to be flexible and subject to change as public health order restrictions, health advice and circumstances and conditions change.”
On days when the beaches or parks look too busy, Masselos appealed to the public to rather visit local businesses, which are also in need of support.
Again, this is not going to be a normal summer, we all need to adapt and do our bit by staying safe when visiting our public places,” she said