Sydney’s iconic beaches could be off limits this summer due to restrictions on crowds aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Coastal councils are working on plans to safely manage large crowds at the city’s beaches before the upcoming summer season.
Spring weather has seen swimmers and sunbakers start to return to Sydney’s beaches, with popular locations potentially subject to closures in coming weeks if crowds become too large.
Councillors say beach management plans are based on advice from NSW Health, public health orders and police.
Sydney’s coastal councils are working on beach management plans for summer to be able to safely host crowds amid coronavirus. Pictured: crowds flock to Coogee Beach on August 30
Beaches including Bondi (pictured) were forced to close earlier this year due to coronavirus-busting restrictions on large gatherings
Waverley Council Mayor Paula Masselos said officials are still working on their plans for beaches including Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte.
‘The plan involves working with key stakeholders and agencies, and draws on some of the measures and resourcing approaches we have used over the last five months,’ Ms Masselos told 7News.
Many Sydney beaches closed due to restrictions on the size of gatherings in March after crowds continued to flock to the ocean once summer had ended.
They were later reopened for swimming, surfing and other exercise only, with no sunbaking or sitting on the beach allowed.
Lifeguards, police and COVID marshals were vigilant in maintaining social distancing among crowds, which is likely to be repeated this summer.
Northern Beaches Council CEO Ray Brownlee said he hopes to keep coastal businesses active as the weather heats up.
A beachgoer poses for a photo taken by a friend at Sydney’s Bondi Beach on August 30
‘The aim is to keep the community COVID-safe and to assist businesses to continue to operate during the summer months where there will be greater outdoors activity,’ he said.
Randwick Mayor Danny Said hopes all Sydney councils can create a uniform policy to avoid crowds flocking to open beaches while others remain closed.
He said people must be willing to change their behaviour and play by the rules to keep beaches open.
‘People need to prepare themselves that this will not be a normal summer,’ Mr Said said.
Councils are working out how to safely manage crowds with COVID-19 sanctions. Pictured: a group of friends sit at Coogee Beach on August 30