Beachgoers have ignored messages from local council to stay away and have been pictured defying advice from Surf Lifesavers and stepping through barriers.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott said the hundreds of people who turned up to Bondi Beach on Sunday morning will be told to leave.
He said on Channel 7: “We are doing this because we are the fun police. We don’t close these public spaces because we want to punish people.
“Some people are just stupid and want to take the risk. Some people people they think are above the law.”
Mr Elliot and NSW Police will hold a press conference at 1pm AEDT to announce law enforcement powers which could see people fined up to $11,000 or six months in jail if they fail to comply with public health orders.
A number of beaches in Sydney are closed after a lack of social distancing on Bondi Beach caused worldwide outrage.
A source told news.com.au: “I spoke to the life guards and they said they didn’t have the authority to stop them, they could only advise them not to go onto the beach.”
Waverley Council on Saturday closed all three of its beaches in an immediate response to NSW Police Minister David Elliot’s announcement that beaches across the state can only have a maximum of 500 people on the beach at any one time.
Those beaches are Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama.
Nearby Randwick Council has followed suit, closing Maroubra, Coogee and Clovelly beaches
The closure will allow Councils to plan ways it can comply with the new restrictions effective immediately, Waverley Council said in a statement.
A spokesman for Minister Elliott told news.com.au Saturday that the closure would be “effective immediately.”
“Beach goers are clearly not complying. The PM has announced a ban of people over 500 for outdoor arrangements.”
The spokesman went on to say the ban could be extended to other beaches should the defiant behaviour continue.
“If the beaches are found to be not complying, then they will be closed too. Both police and surf life saving will be working together on this,” they said of monitoring the closure.
They added that while today’s ban was only for NSW, nationwide restrictions could be implemented.
Queen Elizabeth Drive (Bondi Beach car park) has now been temporarily closed to the limit the number of people accessing Bondi Beach.
Minister Elliot’s announcement is in line with the Australian Government restriction of 500 people gathering in public spaces.
Surf Lifesaving NSW has advised that “volunteer lifesavers and council lifeguards will be directed to close beaches to comply with the Government’s ban on mass gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Waverley Council Lifeguards said it “will now work with NSW Surf Lifesaving volunteers to develop plans to allow our beaches to comply the government’s guidelines”.
The Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos said Saturday Waverley Council’s Lifeguards will do what they can to uphold these guidelines, working closely with NSW Police.
“We have only just found out about this announcement, and need time to work through how it translates to the practical day to day,” Mayor Masselos said.
“Our beaches will remain closed tomorrow as we plan for the future.
“If you’re from across wider Sydney and are thinking to coming to Bondi, I welcome you to visit our local businesses but please don’t plan on going to the beach as it is closed.
“I want to reiterate that this is a time to be kind, while being vigilant in maintaining social distancing recommendations, as well personal hygiene and staying home if you’re feeling unwell.
“If you are being asked to leave the beach, please be respectful to our Lifeguards and Surf Lifesaving volunteers. They are doing their jobs in keeping our beaches safe.
“We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We all need to behave in a safe and responsible manner so that the spread of this virus can be slowed. No-one is immune to COVID-19 and behaving irresponsibly puts the entire community at risk.”
It comes as pictures have emerged of a much emptier Bondi Beach on Saturday, following news that the popular beach will close in an attempt to quell the spread of the deadly coronavirus after thousands of beachgoers ignored social distancing advice.
The photos are a stark contrast to those taken Friday, showing people exercising and clearly adhering to new social-distancing measures imposed by the Federal Government.
Police Minister David Elliott implemented the beach’s closure amid widespread outrage over dramatic photos depicting thousands of beachgoers flocking to the beach despite global efforts to stay inside, away from large groups of people, to minimise risk of infection.
According to Minister Elliott, other large beaches nationwide may follow suit.
Speaking in a press conference Saturday, Mr Elliott said the changes will see Bondi Beach patrolled to ensure there are no more than 500 people on the sand at a time.
He said the move will become “the new norm”.
“We are relying on the laws of common sense. They will be asked to move on if there are more than 500 people on the beach,” he said, adding that “headcounts for 500 people have been done before.”
“In consultation with the police and Surf Life Saving NSW, we will now see beaches across the state that do not comply with the regulations close.
“If people to not comply, the police will have the power to “move on” individuals.
“This is because we want you to be safe.”
He added that he was “disappointed” by the “unacceptable” behaviour exhibited by beachgoers over the past few days.
“I for one am disappointed … I cannot sit by and watch the community not only ignore the laws but blatantly flout them,” he said of the images of thousands of sunbathers on Bondi Beach on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
“What we saw this morning was a breach of public safety.”
“This is called a pandemic because people’s lives are in danger”
He said it would be a “rolling implementation”, and other popular beaches in NSW will be monitored the same way.
The move comes after Health Minister Greg Hunt slammed Bondi beachgoers and the local council for not meeting self-isolation measures on Friday.
“Around the country people are generally taking enormous strides but what happened in Bondi was unacceptable and the local council must take steps to stop that occurring,” he said.
“Our message to local council is this is all of our responsibilities each of us as individuals, groups, families.
“Where something like this is occurring the local council must step in, that message is absolutely clear.”
On Friday night, Mayor Masselos, posted a statement in response to the overcrowding, urging the public to “observe health advice about social distancing when visiting our area including our beaches”.
“The public must at all times keep a minimum safe distance from each other in public places and if you don’t need to be out in public, please consider staying at home,” Mayor Masselos said.
“We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I am frustrated that people continue to ignore Health advice about social distancing as observed yesterday at Bondi Beach.”
It then led to Mayor Masselos issuing a public plea on Saturday for people to stay indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic and away from beaches.
Thousands flocked to Bondi Beach on Friday amid temperatures in the high 30s, with pictures of packed beaches going viral online.
The photos of beachgoers ignoring social distancing measures have been harshly criticised by foreign media and on social media as the world attempts to slow the spread of the deadly virus.“
The public must at all times keep a minimum safe distance from each other in public places and if you don’t need to be out in public, please consider staying at home,” Mr Masselos said.
The news comes as the fallout for Australians and tourists who were spotted recklessly defying the government’s strict advice on social distancing and self-isolation continues to prompt fury from locals and officials.
Hundreds made the most of the warm weather in Sydney on Thursday and Friday despite the Prime Minister announcing strict new rules yesterday.
Pictures of a packed Bondi Beach were circulated around the world, prompting Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos to call on the public to observe health advice and consider staying at home.
“We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I am frustrated that people continue to ignore health advice about social distancing as observed yesterday at Bondi Beach,” she said.
“We all need to behave in a safe and responsible manner so that the spread of this virus can be slowed. No one is immune to COVID-19 and behaving irresponsibly puts the entire community at risk.”
International publications such as the UK’s The Metro described the scenes on Bondi Beach as “unbelievable” while readers labelled those responsible as “stupid”.
Over 1000 cases of the new coronavirus have now been confirmed across Australia, and seven people have died.
“I am surprised by the number of people out,” one swimmer told CBS.
“I’ve just been out for a swim, and come out, get a bit of exercise, get outside and head home.
“I guess I’m more surprised by just the number of people who are just lazing around on the beach.
“The whole social distancing hasn’t really taken hold in Bondi just yet, I would say.”
Earlier on Friday, The Daily Telegraph spoke to one group of American backpackers who said they were unfazed by the virus because they were young and “unlikely” to be infected.
“We figure none of us have any symptoms, due to our age the virus is unlikely to get us, and we’re more likely to get it in New York City where there are double the amount of cases than the 300 in Australia,” Lauren Titone said, citing incorrect figures.
“I’m not nervous. I’m young. I feel my body can handle it.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday that he was aware of some people continuing to flout the rules.
“We are hearing reports of some who are saying they’re in self isolation and they’re out and about,” he said.
“In many cases for the young and the healthy, it is true that the majority of cases, 8 out of 10 people only have a mild illness … but by you doing the right thing, you’ll be saving the life of someone who is more vulnerable,” he said. “So do it for your fellow Australians.”