More Beaches Open Around Sydney But Locals Warned To 'Swim And Go'
A local council in Sydney's east is reopening its beaches and harbour pools but strict warnings have been put in place for beachgoers that the areas are to be used for swimming or exercise only.
Woollahra Council announced a number of its beaches would reopen from Wednesday as the state continues to slowly ease COVID-19 restrictions.
Beaches including Camp Cove, Double Bay, Gibsons, Kutti, Lady Martin, Parsley Bay, Seven Shillings, Watsons Bay and Rose Bay have now reopened to the public alongside the Murray Rose Pool (Redleaf) and the Watsons Bay Baths.
But locals who are hoping to return to the popular spots have been warned accessing the sand and water is permitted "solely for the purpose of exercise".
"Sunbathing or resting on the beach before or after swimming or exercise is not allowed," a statement on the council's website read.
Woollahra Mayor Susan Wynne said the local area had now reached a point where it could responsibly move to a "carefully managed reopening".
"These measures will be regularly reviewed and beaches may be closed again if appropriate social distancing requirements are not adhered to or large gatherings occur, Wynne warned.
“We will be closely monitoring all our beaches and if numbers become too great or people are not observing social distancing regulations, we will not hesitate to implement closures -- the health and safety of the community is our primary focus.
“If we all do the right thing, take a quick swim, run or walk and then leave, our beaches can remain open for everyone to enjoy.”
Wynne said beaches in the area were initially closed due to their small size, meaning there was an "unacceptable risk" of overcrowding.
Beaches have been a hot-button issue during the pandemic, with the popular local and tourist spots initially closed after hundreds were pictured on beaches during the early days of social-distancing restrictions.
Some beaches were later reopened after the number of infections in the city began easing, but were later closed again due to ongoing fears of overcrowding.
Last week Waverley Council which oversees the popular Bondi and Bronte beaches voted to reopen the areas for "Swim & Go" and "Surf & Go" uses only. Tamarama beach was opened for "Surf & Go" measures only.
Land-based exercise such as walking and jogging remained banned and access to the water was only allowed between 7am and 5pm on weekdays via designated entry and exit points.
On Friday, the council said that water access would likely be made available over the weekend also, after the "responsible conduct of swimmers and surf craft users" that week.