Australia

bay councils threaten to close beaches if restrictions are not followed

Police teams monitored more orderly gatherings on Melbourne’s beaches on a hot Saturday, but Port Phillip council chief executive Peter Smith said if the illegal behavior continued the council would not have no choice but to repeat its March decision to close beaches, including St Kilda.

“We are extremely disappointed with the number of people who broke the orders of Victoria’s health chief and gathered on St Kilda beach last night,” Smith said.

“Unfortunately if we have large crowds of people doing the wrong thing then we will have no choice but to close the beach or the park as a last resort. We are trying to prevent the shutdown through a series of measures, but we will only be able to keep our beaches and parks open if everyone plays their part by following the orders of the director general of health.

Clarke Martin, mayor of neighboring Bayside council, said Sunday age he desperately wanted the Melburnians to stick to the restrictions until they were eased on October 19.

“My message to the people of Bayside and to anyone who wants to go down to the beach is not to do it. Please stay away for another two or three weeks and let this virus eat its way,” he said. said Mr. Martin.

“We’re almost there. We don’t want people going down to the beaches. And we sure don’t want people claiming to be beach goers causing problems in our Bayside area.”

Beachgoers sat in “social distancing circles” drawn by the council.Credit:Luis Ascui

On Friday night, Seven News’ Vision showed many unmasked people packed together on St Kilda beach, before one of them grabbed and kissed a TV reporter.

Mr Martin, whose council had an active case on Saturday, said he would support the beach closure.

“We need the police to do what I think they are doing, which is to increase their presence and impose fines on people who break the rules,” he said.

“Of course, the restrictions allow people to go out in parks, exercise, and meet a small number of other people. But please, if everyone comes down to the beaches, we won’t. will not be able to maintain social distance. “

Swimmers and sunbathers kept their spacing in Sorrento.

Swimmers and sunbathers kept their spacing in Sorrento.Credit:Paul Jeffers

Kingston Council Mayor Georgina Oxley called on Melburnians to do the right thing and said beach closures were “really a last resort and we don’t want to make it.”

Health Director Brett Sutton said Melbourne’s 14-day average of 12 cases per day is approaching the threshold of five and the vast majority of cases linked to known outbreaks, “the light at the end of the tunnel is really apparent “.

Sunday is expected to hit 28 degrees and Mr Andrews said it was up to police whether beaches should be closed in the future as he pleaded for the Melburnians to keep the line.

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“There is no alternative,” said the prime minister. It’s not like I’m asking people to do one thing and not another. There is no alternative. We have to do it right, and we are going to do it. “

A cluster linked to the Butcher Club at Chadstone Shopping Center grew from six to 17 people, while the Victoria area recorded another day of zero cases, with just two active infections outside of Melbourne.

Professor Sutton, however, said that even if regions hit the 14-day no-case threshold this week, ongoing cases in Melbourne would prevent them from taking the next step on the roadmap where all retail businesses reopen. and the reception capacity would increase.

“I think we need to make sure that the Victoria area is moving in some synchronization with the Melbourne metro,” he said, signaling the possibility that the regions will take another step when Melbourne is scheduled for October 19.

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Michael is a state political reporter for The Age.

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