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Popular Mornington Peninsula pier closed after crowds flocked to spot to fish over the long weekend 

A popular pier has been closed down by authorities after  big crowds flocked to the coastal spot to fish over the long weekend.

Hundreds of people were seen flouting social distancing guidance at the narrow pier at Rye on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula as locals gathered to watch an annual crab spawning on Sunday.

After pictures emerged of anglers packed tightly along the pier’s boardwalk, police announced on Sunday evening it would close the tourist spot because of the ‘disappointing amount of people failing to observe social distancing’.

A popular pier south-east of Melbourne has been shut down after hundreds of people failed to socially distance (pictured)

A popular pier south-east of Melbourne has been shut down after hundreds of people failed to socially distance (pictured)

The tourist spot was closed because of the 'disappointing amount of people failing to observe social distancing', police said in a statement on Sunday night

The tourist spot was closed because of the ‘disappointing amount of people failing to observe social distancing’, police said in a statement on Sunday night

‘The decision has been reached by council and local police to close the pier,’ Mornington Peninsula Police Service Area wrote on Facebook.

‘Please do not attend, as you will be advised to move on.

‘Victoria Police reminds locals and holidaymakers alike that social distancing measures are still active in the State of Victoria.

‘If similar behaviour is observed on the Mornington Peninsula, more piers and local attractions may be forced to close in the interests of public health.’   

Mornington Peninsula mayor Sam Hearn said it was not possible for people to maintain sufficient social distancing on a pier that narrow.

‘We’ve seen larger numbers down here in quite a few different areas across the weekend,’ he told The Age.

Police warned more local attractions could be forced to close if people continued to flout social distancing rules

Police warned more local attractions could be forced to close if people continued to flout social distancing rules

‘Broadly that’s been OK because there hasn’t been too many people in one area.’

The Victorian state government announced earlier this month it had completed a $500,000 upgrade to the pier to make it more accessible for fishers and divers. 

It comes after tens of thousands of protesters controversially took to the streets of the country’s biggest cities on Saturday to demonstrate about the plight of Aboriginal Australians in custody despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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