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Sydney beaches face summer closures if large crowds threaten public safety

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Mass beach gatherings on some of Sydney’s most popular beaches could be in danger this summer if people don’t properly follow distancing measures and guidelines.

Sydney beaches were forced to close 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. 

Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos said this year would hold a different summer, with the pandemic continuing to pose harsh challenges.

People remain off the sand as Bondi Beach reopens to the public after closing following an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Sydney, Tuesday, April 28, 2020. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

“I think things are different and they’ll have to be different because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic,” Paula Masselos said to the ABC.

“Certainly I hope that we don’t have to close the beaches.

“But if people don’t do the right thing, and the beach has become too crowded then we’ll have to look at how we manage those numbers because I don’t want a repeat of what happened back in in March.”

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Waverley Council, which manages Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte beaches, is still finalising a plan for the hotter months.

“Our beach and public open spaces plan is still being finalised, but is based on the current Public Health Orders and advice from Police and NSW Health,” Mayor Paula Masselos told 7NEWS.com.au.

“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.”

Waverley Council advises people to maintain a social distance while at the beach and not to gather in groups larger than 20, as per NSW coronavirus rules.

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