People Are Divided Over Whether It’s Okay For Sydneysiders To Go To The Beach During Lockdown
Thousands of people flocked to beaches all over Sydney at the weekend as temperatures climbed to 30C degrees.
Sitting outside is within the rules, according to NSW Health, as long as you're wearing a face mask and you're more than 1.5 metres away from the next group.
The surge towards the sand became so large that authorities at two beaches had to close some entrances to limit the number of people trying to find a spot to sunbake.
While many were just taking advantage of the rules and good weather, it's sparked a debate over whether it's okay.
People in Western Sydney, where the Covid-19 outbreak has been particularly bad, are under much tighter restrictions.
Residents in 12 local government areas are only allowed to leave their homes for exercise and they don't get to soak up the sunshine by just laying outside.
As images of crowds at Bondi, Bronte and Coogee went viral on social media, some took it as an opportunity to start a debate about optics.
One person wrote: "I think most takes miss the point re the photos of people at the beach. Sure, it's allowed, whatever, ultimately, the outrage is about solidarity.
"This is a city divided, by wealth, opportunity, access. No one in the West can lounge on a beach, let alone leave their homes."
Another added: "I think the point is that the message is extremely...harsh. You're all in lockdown but some of you get to spend the day on the beach while others will get to go virtually nowhere. I don't disagree with the idea of beach going but it must be a real slap in the face to many."
A third said: "Flaunting masklessness without exercise at the same time as flaunting proximity to the beach is a display of people who don't realise or rather don't care that others are doing it really tough."
While the optics might be argued as a bad thing, experts say sitting by yourself outside is perfectly fine.
Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said 'parks and beaches are very low to no risk' of spreading the coronavirus.
New South Wales Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, added: "In reality, outdoor environments, if people are keeping away from each other, are probably the safest environments.
"I would like to see that people are really respectful and they are adhering to the public health orders as they move about.
"If they are walking along the beach. But I would not want crowds, people engaging, people socialising, that is not what we need at this moment."
She admitted it must be tough for people in Western Sydney to see others in the east lapping up the sun and surf, however the restrictions have been brought in to help areas where the virus has been running rampant.
Featured Image Credit: PA