News National Going to the beach during the coronavirus crisis? Police explain what you can and can’t do
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Going to the beach during the coronavirus crisis? Police explain what you can and can’t do

Victoria police coronavirus beach
Victoria Police will be patrolling beaches for people breaching social distancing rules designed to stave off the coronavirus. Photo: Getty
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Sunny weather is expected in all capital cities this weekend, but before you make plans to go to the beach, you need to know the rules.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases is rising every day in Australia, and it is vital we practise social distancing to slow the disease’s spread.

Lives depend on it.

Although it may be tempting to take advantage of the sunshine by going to the beach with friends, police are strongly warning against it.

And they will be out in full force ensuring we don’t have a repeat of Bondi Beach last week in Sydney, where thousands flocked to lap up the sun and exposed each other to the killer virus.

Images of the crowded beach attracted worldwide condemnation and prompted the New South Wales government to seal off the beach completely.

Police are determined to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

In Victoria, where temperatures are expected reach a top of 25 degrees on Friday and 27 on Saturday, police are considering flying drones over beaches and bays to detect people congregating in groups.

The aerial technology will be used to supplement patrol officers scouting beaches on foot for groups of people gathering together on the sand.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has urged anyone planning to meet friends at the beach to “do the right thing by each other” and stay home instead.

“We do not want to see what happened last weekend in NSW,” Commissioner Ashton told reporters on Thursday.

“We absolutely do not want to see large groups of people sitting cheek to jowl on the beach, on their mats, blowing up their blow-up things and getting on them. That’s just ridiculous.”

He urged Victorians to “use common sense” as the coronavirus claims more and more lives around the globe.

“We’re in a state of emergency,” Commissioner Ashton said.

“Going to the beach is a nice thing to do on a hot day. We are not in that situation at the moment.

“If you do not need to go out, don’t go out.”

The one exception

Although we are banned from going to the beach with others, for now it is OK to run or walk along the beach by yourself or with someone from your household.

But do not move in a group and do not stop and chat to friends.

If passing others, keep a distance.

Commissioner Ashton said he recognised that some people used the beach “on their exercise route”.

“We don’t want to see large groups flocking to the beach and creating a risk of transmission of this disease over the weekend,” Commissioner Ashton said.

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