Frustrated residents at popular holiday spots have put up signs telling travellers to stay off their beaches due to fears the tourists could bring the deadly coronavirus with them.
At Mollymook, a normally welcoming tourist town on the New South Wales south coast, locals put up hand-written signs telling outsiders to go away ahead of the Easter long weekend.
‘We don’t have the resources for visitors. No ICU. You may unwittingly bring COVID-19. Our emergency workers need you to stay home,’ said one sign which told travellers – in red capital letters – to ‘Go Home’ and ‘Stay Home’.
The path to Narrawallee Beach just south of Ulladulla on the NSW South Coast on Wednesday
Close-up of the sign at Narrawallee on Wednesday. Locals want to protect themselves
A hand-painted sign at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast on Wednesday
‘Fines apply for non-essential travel and this pressures our police too.’
Another hand-written sign at the entrance to nearby Narrawallee Beach, just south of Ulladulla, told people to stay home.
‘We respectfully ask if you don’t live here don’t risk lives,’ the sign said.
‘Our hospital can’t cope so please go home. You may pass on COVID-19 to the community unknowingly.’
Caravan parks are closing to discourage tourists from travelling to country towns for the Easter holidays. People have been advised to stay home and foreign tourists have been asked to leave the country for their homes overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic
Caravan parks in the Shoalhaven area at Burrill Lake were closed on Wednesday.
People in New South Wales can be fined if they are seen in public in groups of more than two people due to physical distancing rules brought in to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Other similar signs had been seen all the way up the coast.
At North Narrabeen in Sydney, ‘Locals only! #covid-19’ was scrawled in graffiti on a wall next to the famous surf break last week.
Several beaches in Sydney’s north were closed on Tuesday due to coronavirus distancing fears including popular Manly Beach, Dee Why, Queenscliff, North Steyne and Shelly Beach.
Locals fear the remaining surf breaks will also be closed if social distancing is not strictly adhered to.
This sign was taped to a tree at Palm Beach, Queensland, south of Surfers Paradise
Although North Narrabeen had not been declared shut by the Northern Beaches council, it was closed on Wednesday due to dangerous surf conditions, the council’s website said.
Further north on Queensland’s Gold Coast, signs appeared around Palm Beach, near Surfer’s Paradise, telling non-locals to leave.
‘Sorry but if you don’t live here, don’t surf here,’ said one printed sign that had been laminated before being taped to a tree trunk next to a walkway to the beach.
‘Local 4221 residents or within a 5km radius only until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted,’ the sign said.
Several Gold Coast beaches including Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta were closed on Tuesday to maintain physical distancing in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus
Barricades were set up at The Spit in Queensland to deter those who want to go to the beach
‘Locals if it’s crowded please spread out or stagger surf times to enforce social distancing.’
‘Let’s all do what needs to be done to keep our beach open, thank you for your co-operation in these unprecedented times. Stay safe.’
Several major Gold Coast beaches were closed at midnight on Tuesday including The Spit, Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta. Beach car parks were also closed to deter people.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the remaining beaches would stay open for locals only, although it was unclear how that can be effectively policed.
‘The beaches will remain open for our locals so that they can continue to walk and exercise,’ Mayor Tate told the ABC on Monday.
‘We are working through the finer details now, including having parking officers redeployed to the Spit to monitor illegal parking up there.’
Palm Beach local Karen Rowles said the signs were a reminder that now was not the time to go to the beach.
‘We don’t want to see it packed by people driving down from elsewhere forcing it closed,’ she told the Courier Mail.
Bungalow Park at Burrill Lake on the NSW South Coast is shut. The normally thriving nearby tourist town of Ulladulla is encouraging visitors to stay away due to coronavirus
A playground at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast was padlocked shut to deter visitors
Out of order tape blocks a forlorn barbecue next to Mollymook beach on the NSW South Coast on Wednesday. Public gatherings are limited to two people but everyone is urged to stay home
Nobody was buying fish and chips, or a winning lotto ticket at Mollymook on Wednesday as tourist town shops shutter their doors due to the spread of the coronavirus
Ms Rowles supported Mayor Tate’s closing of the other beaches as people had been breaking the rules over the weekend with her own mother being mocked as she tried to keep to the 1.5m physical distancing rule, she said.
“A man came up behind her and purposefully sneezed into his arm. He said sorry I am not wearing my face mask,’ she said.
Australian National University Medical School Professor Peter Collignon has said he thought the coronavirus lockdowns were unnecessarily tight.
‘Sitting on a park bench in the sun – how is that dangerous if nobody is near you?’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Sunday.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,010
New South Wales: 2,734
Western Australia: 481
South Australia: 415
Australian Capital Territory: 99
Northern Territory: 28
TOTAL CASES: 6,010
Professor Raina MacIntyre, the head of Biosecurity at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute, supported the lockdown and was concerned it may not have been strict enough.
A paper she co-authored said the gradual introduction of social distancing and the decision to keep schools open during the early part of the crisis meant were cause for concern.
‘We are concerned about the possibility of Australia losing control of the epidemic,’ the paper said.
As of Wednesday evening there had beem 6010 coronavirus cases in Australia with 2734 – almost half – in New South Wales.
Case numbers worldwide had reached 1.4 million, of whom 315,308 had recovered and 82,535 had died, according to BNO News which has been tracking coronavirus since early January.
The US had the most cases at 401,146 followed by Spain at 141,942 then Italy at 135,586.
The coronavirus can be spread by droplet transmission from people’s mouths through the air or onto surfaces when they talk or laugh, breathe, cough or sneeze.
Several countries including the US, China, Israel, Sri Lanka and the Czech Republic have urged people not to come outside at all unless they are wearing face masks, including improvised face masks made of cloth due to the shortage of medical masks which need to be saved for health care workers.
There were 6010 coronavirus cases in Australia on Wednesday evening, almost half in NSW