Sydney’s world famous beaches are normally crowded at this time of year as Aussies and tourists enjoy the spring weather with a dip in the Pacific Ocean.
But this is no normal year. There are no international tourists because of closed Australian borders and only a few interstate tourists.
New South Wales does not want to ruin its current record of 10 days with no locally transmitted Covid-19 cases. Its only new case was a returned overseas traveller in hotel quarantine on Sunday.
Sun-worshipers in their thousands were enjoying Monday’s public holiday and the warm weather by packing Bondi Beach and other popular spots.
Waverley Council began getting jittery around midday and tweeted that Bondi Beach was nearing capacity and access to the sand and water would soon be restricted to allow for social distancing, SBS News reported.
“If people continue to come to Bondi Beach and crowds grow further, restricted access to the sand is likely to be implemented within the next hour,” the council said. “If you haven’t left for the beach yet, please rethink your trip and check on capacity later in the day.”
At 5pm it was able to report, “Our beaches and parks have been busy but most people have been doing the right thing and following public health orders.”
Public sector workers are due to begin returning to work in phases after the long lockdown.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said state employees will be urged to return to work over the coming weeks, in a move considered to be a significant step towards the economy recovering.
But health authorities are concerned that only 5,000 people were tested on Sunday compared to 8,000 in the previous 24 hours. They say that ideally at least 8,000 people should be tested in NSW each day.
Dr Stephen Corbett of NSW Health said on Monday it’s vital that anyone with even the mildest symptoms comes forward for testing.
“If people don’t come forward and get tested, we can’t keep the pandemic at bay.”