Hundreds of people have ignored authorities and flocked to Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach despite it being closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott says about 450 people who showed up to the iconic beach on Sunday morning will be told to leave.
‘We are not doing this because we are the fun police. We don’t close these public spaces because we want to punish people,’ he told Channel 7.
‘Some people are just stupid and want to take the risk. Some people think they are above the law.’
All beaches in Sydney’s eastern suburbs have been closed on Sunday, including Bondi, Tamarama, Maroubra and Coogee.
The beaches were closed indefinitely after thousands of people flocked to Bondi over the weekend despite the government advising people to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Hundreds of people have ignored authorities and flocked to Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach on Sunday despite it being closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak
NSW Police Minister David Elliott says about 450 people who showed up to the iconic beach on Sunday morning will be told to leave
All beaches in Sydney’s eastern suburbs have been closed on Sunday, including Bondi, Tamarama, Maroubra and Coogee. Pictured: Surfers leaving Bondi on Sunday morning
Under regulations introduced to control the spread of the deadly virus, outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more have been banned.
Mr Elliott on Saturday said beaches across the state that did not meet public gathering regulations would be closed and beachgoers who did not comply would be removed by police.
Waverley Council responded by closing Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte beaches until further notice.
Randwick Council has also closed its beaches on Sunday.
‘Given the sunny weather forecast of 27 degrees for Sunday, it is highly likely that beach numbers will exceed the 500 person cap,’ Randwick Mayor Danny Said said on Saturday.
‘For everybody’s own health, I urge people not to come to the beach on Sunday as you are potentially putting your health and the health of others at risk.’
NSW Police were seen at Bondi Pavilion on Saturday after state officials made the decision to shut down the world-famous beach after outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more were banned
Hundreds of beachgoers were seen packing up and leaving shortly after the announcement was made on Saturday
NSW on Saturday had recorded 83 new COVID-19 cases within 24 hours, with the state total reaching 436.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged young people to take the COVID-19 threat seriously, saying ‘the problem is just over the horizon, on the basis of the numbers that we’re now seeing’.
‘It’s a serious matter. Save yourself and save your family,’ Mr Hazzard told reporters on Saturday.
Despite the 500-person maximum imposed for outdoor gatherings, shocking pictures showed thousands of sunbathers ignoring health warnings at Bondi Beach on Saturday.
Australia’s national total of coronavirus cases has hit 1,073 – prompting calls for people to do their bit to stop it spreading further.
But the spiralling health crisis was clearly of little concern to the beachgoers, with health minister Greg Hunt accusing them of ‘putting others at risk’.
Police – along with NSW Lifesaving – were seen ordering sunbathers off the beach on Saturday. They were back at Bondi on Sunday to order hundreds of locals off the beach
Within hours, the once-packed beach resembled a ghost down after hundreds of sunbathers were told to leave on Saturday afternoon
Speaking from Bondi Beach on Saturday afternoon, police minister David Elliot said: ‘This is the most irresponsible behaviour we’ve seen so far.
‘This is not something we’re doing because we’re the fun police, this is about saving lives.
‘We cannot have an area where more than 500 people are gathered.’
‘If the community does not comply, this is going to become the new normal.’
On Saturday, the NSW government made the decision to shut the beach completely, following the national crowd rules – after it became swamped with revellers this week as they flocked to enjoy the 30C temperatures.
Under regulations introduced to control the spread of the deadly virus, outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more have been banned.
As part of that, lifesavers will have the power to close beaches and ask people to move on if a crowd of 500 or more is gathered at the same spot.
Mr Elliot also issued a chilling warning that officials expect cases in NSW to top 500 by tomorrow.
Lifesavers will have the power to close beaches and ask people to move on if a crowd of 500 or more is gathered at the same spot
A group of friends are seen leaving after being booted off the beach on Saturday
Pictures of crowds soon emerged on Instagram showing a lack of concern for social distancing rules, with many of the young sun-worshippers even making jokes about the virus.
LATEST RULES TO CONTROL CORONAVIRUS SPREAD
On Friday, Scott Morrison announced new rules for indoor spaces.
It means the number of people in a venue is dictated by the size of the room.
There needs to be four-square-metres per patron.
This means that if a venue is 100-square-metres, 25 people are allowed inside.
Event then, Australians are asked to try and keep 1.5 metres apart from one another.
The shocking images prompted criticism from across the world, with many incensed by the revellers lack of awareness about the virus.
Sunbathers ignored 1.5metre social distancing guidelines on Friday and Saturday as they lay together on the sand and helped each other apply sunscreen.
Following the announcement, NSW Police were seen working alongside NSW Lifesaving to remove sunbathers off the sand.
Within minutes, the once-packed beach resembled a ghost town.
‘I don’t really speak English that well so I didn’t realise what was happening. They [the rangers] came up to me to say it was closed. I am guessing it is the virus,’ one resident, who did not want to be named, told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Yesterday’s behaviour was just plain stupid. I’m a school teacher and I’m already exposed to the virus enough,’ Bondi resident, Lara, added.
Lauren Ellis, from England, said people were likely taking advantage of the beach before the coronavirus pandemic escalates further.
‘I think the reason a lot of people are here are because they want to make the most of it knowing they won’t be able to do this in a couple of days,’ she said.
Life savers have also been instructed to stop patrolling beaches where there are large numbers of people, which could include popular spots such as Coogee, Manly, Maroubra and beaches in the Sutherland Shire.
Critics slammed the beachgoers for being ignorant about the coronavirus threat, after they flocked in droves to Bondi Beach (pictured) on Saturday
One beachgoer poses for a photo during warm weather in Sydney on Friday (pictured) despite the threat of coronavirus
Hundreds of people packed onto the grass next to Bondi Beach (pictured) and were clearly not socially distancing on Friday
Waverley mayor Paula Masselos had earlier been forced to issue a public plea for people to stay indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic and away from beaches.
‘The public must at all times keep a minimum safe distance from each other in public places and if you don’t need to be out in public, please consider staying at home,’ Ms Masselos said.
‘We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I am frustrated that people continue to ignore health advice about social distancing as observed yesterday at Bondi Beach.’
Ms Masselos asked for people to heed advice from NSW health including practising social distancing and following hygiene rules.
‘No-one is immune to COVID-19 and behaving irresponsibly puts the entire community at risk,’ Ms Masselos said.
A couple at Bondi Beach on Friday (pictured) smile as they emerged from the surf to join the packed crowds on the beach
Beachgoers are seen at Bondi Beach on Friday (pictured) despite the threat of coronavirus
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt also hit out at beachgoers who flouted social distancing advice and risked spreading the virus.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 1,073
New South Wales: 436
Western Australia: 90
South Australia: 67
Australian Capital Territory: 9
Northern Territory: 5
TOTAL CASES: 1,073
‘What happened in Bondi was unacceptable, and the local council must take steps to stop that from occurring,’ Mr Hunt told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.
‘Each of us as individuals, as families, as groups, as councils, as state governments, as a national government has responsibility.’
‘This now is a pandemic … a vast majority are doing the right thing,’ he added.
‘If you are breaking these rules you are putting, not just yourself, but you are putting other Australians at risk.’
The crowds were seemingly unfazed by the threat of coronavirus as they embraced on the shoreline, splashed in the waves and played beach volleyball.
New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the ‘thousands of people’ who gathered at Bondi should be following the 1.5 metre recommendation.
Those who flocked to Bondi Beach on Friday (pictured) have been accused of putting lives at risk by ignoring social distancing
‘We are in a different time,’ he said on Friday.
‘We need to behave in different ways and that is to keep your distance. The recommendation is at least 1.5 metres. That is a sensible recommendation that people should sensibly take on board.’
While residents can ‘by all means’ visit the beach, they must stick to the strict advice given by health authorities.
Shockingly, many of the beachgoers took to social media to boast proudly of their day in the sun – even making jokes about the global pandemic, which has killed more than 10,000 people across the world.
‘Two weeks behind the rest of the world,’ was the caption of one group photo as 16 young people hung off each other.
‘Solid social distancing,’ wrote one commenter, making light of the new guidelines which are designed to keep people from spreading the virus.
Two friends dip their feet in the water at Sydney’s Bondi Beach on Friday, despite guidelines to exercise social distancing (pictured)
A couple embrace at Bondi Beach, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, on Friday as the temperature soars above 30C (pictured)
A man and woman ignore social distancing guidelines as they embrace in the water at Sydney’s Bondi Beach (pictured on Friday)
‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,’ wrote a young man on a picture of him pointing at a Corona beer with a group of friends,
‘I would just say that it doesn’t matter where you are. Whether you are on Bondi or in a church, separate by 1.5 metres,’ Mr Hazzard said on Saturday.
Government advice reads: ‘Social distancing is important because COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person.’
‘So, the more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.’
The crowds come as Australia prepares to lock its borders to non-residents at 9pm on Friday in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Victoria Premier, Daniel Andrews, warned that unless infection rates drop, hospitals will soon become overwhelmed.
Two women smile for the camera as they hit the surf at Sydney’s Bondi Beach on Friday (pictured) despite concerns over the global pandemic
Beachgoers play a game of volleyball on the sand as the government urges residents to exercise social distancing (pictured on Friday)
‘If you’re in any doubt of how serious this is, switch your TV on and see what’s happening in other parts of the world,’ he told reporters on Saturday.
‘People are dying. We are going to get to a dark place.’
Mr Andrews announced a $550 million business relief package to help those struggling to stay afloat during the crisis.
A payroll tax refund will be made available to 24,000 businesses small and medium-sized businesses.
It is hoped the cash will help keep about 400,000 workers employed.
Sunbathers ignored 1.5 metre social distancing guidelines by helping each other apply sunscreen and lying together on the sand (pictured on Friday)
Crowds also gathered at the rocks lining Bondi Beach despite the growing threat of COVID-19 (pictured on Friday)
On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced tough new social distancing measures, which are designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The number of people allowed in an indoor venue will be dictated by its size.
Announcing the new crowd restrictions, Mr Morrison said there will be a maximum limit of ‘four square metres provided per person in an enclosed space’.
When in a venue, patrons should try and sit a minimum of 1.5 metres away from one another.
He also warned a unprecedented ban may be brought in on domestic travel next week ahead of the school holidays – and pleaded with holidaymakers not to fly.
Addressing the nation on Friday, Mr Morrison said he needed people ‘to keep going’ and ‘do their bit for their fellow Australians’.
The warm weather has lead to crowds flocking to Bondi Beach (pictured earlier on Friday) despite coronavirus concerns
When Bondi Beach reopens, the police minister confirmed there would be patrols in place to ensure there are no more than 500 people on the sand.
‘We are relying on the laws of common sense. They will be asked to move on if there are more than 500 people on the beach,’ he said, adding that ‘headcounts for 500 people have been done before.
‘In consultation with the police and Surf Life Saving NSW, we will now see beaches across the state that do not comply with the regulations close,’ Mr Elliot explained.
‘If people to not comply, the police will have the power to ‘move on’ individuals. This is because we want you to be safe. I for one am disappointed,’ Mr Elliot went on.
‘I cannot sit by and watch the community not only ignore the laws but blatantly flout them,’ he said of the images of thousands of sunbathers on Bondi Beach on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
‘This is called a pandemic because people’s lives are in danger.’
People are seen playing volleyball at Bondi Beach on Saturday morning (pictured), hours before it was shut down