A popular Sydney beach continues to be busy despite desperate pleas for people to stay home and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Manly, on Sydney’s picturesque Northern Beaches, was packed on Saturday as locals adopted a ‘business-as-usual’ attitude despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Couples, families and friends were seen breaking social-distancing rules – with one family telling Daily Mail Australia that they wouldn’t let the global crisis that has killed more than 50,000 people interrupt their usual morning swim.
Locals in Manly were spotted flouting social distancing laws in front of the Life Saving Club on Saturday morning
Beachgoers ignored 1.5m social distancing rules and congregated in groups alongside Manly Beach on Saturday
One woman wore a colourful neon bikini to Manly Beach as she headed for a solo swim in the water
Police, lifeguards and council rangers (pictured) approaches groups of people to enforce social distancing measures
Reid Shaw, 13, said: ‘There’s no difference, it feels the same.’
His father, Chris Shaw, noted that ‘last week there were a few people here clumped in groups but I hope that people are starting to get the message about how serious this virus is now’.
Beachgoers at Manly today were pictured chatting in groups, ignoring the 1.5-metre distancing rule and sunbaking.
Some were even seeing standing around sipping coffees as they enjoyed their 22C morning at the beach.
The Federal Government’s tough social distancing measures require all Australians keep a distance of 1.5metres away from each other and restrict groups to a maximum of two people.
There has been a fresh surgeovernight in coronavirus cases in New South Wales with another 104 people confirmed to have the killer illness.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said there were now 2,493 cases of coronavirus in the state, up from 2,389 on Friday.
The number of new cases in NSW had been declining for the last three days before Saturday’s new figures. There are now 5,539 confirmed cases in Australia, meaning more than 43 per cent of cases are in New South Wales.
The NSW Government implemented further restrictions that only allow residents to leave their homes for one of 16 essential reasons.
These reasons include exercise, grocery shopping, seeking medical care and attending school or work.
One young woman out for a walk with her boyfriend said she felt at risk coming down to the beach.
Jana, 26, said: ‘It’s really busy down here, people definitely aren’t behaving any differently. I don’t like to walk down here because I feel like it’s too crowded.’
Some Manly residents said that the social distancing laws had not impacted daily life by the beach
One woman enjoyed the sunshine as she took to Manly Beach dressed in a wetsuit and a bikini with her surfboard
Other beachgoers noted that the government restrictions were not being properly followed or understood
One young couple spent time relaxing in the water as they chatted in the shallow waves of Manly Beach
Two friends who were strolling along the walkway told Daily Mail Australia that the lack of social distancing was an issue in Manly.
One woman, 33-year-old Kat, said: ‘The social distancing measures are not well understood here. Not may people are giving you space, especially all the runners jogging and brushing up against you.
‘There’s a bit of confusion around the restrictions and it’s not really clear if we should be going out or staying home.’
On being out and about herself, Kat said: ‘I don’t feel at risk. I feel most guilty that I could be putting someone else at risk.’
Three friends stood on Manly Beach to chat despite the Federal Government’s ban on gatherings over two people
Three people stopped to chat on the busy walkway alongside Manly beach and attempted to maintain a distance
Some beachgoers ignored social distancing measures and instead participated in a group sun-baking session
Her friend El, also 33, said that it was ‘hard to make the space among so many people’.
She noted that: ‘Being outside is the only thing keeping people sane at the moment, so I think it’s important to keep the beach open wherever they can.’
Licien Batista, 34, on a walk with her baby and friend from Brazil, said that the social distancing measures should be more closely followed.
‘If everyone keeps their distance and follows the rules then we will be able to get over this virus quicker,’ she explained.
Manly locals decided to sit and chat alongside the beach despite the laws that asked Australians to remain at home
Locals walked their dogs and congregated in groups to socialise in front of the Manly Life Saving Club
Police were stationed at Manly Beach on Saturday to ensure that beachgoers were not congregating in groups
Two NSW Police officers patrolled Manly Beach on Saturday morning and asked those not exercising to return home
‘Some people aren’t following the rules and they might get us sent into a total lockdown. When it’s nice weather people come down to the beach and hang out in groups and stroll around or sit on the sand,’ Ms Batista said.
Other beach-goers felt that they were protected from the virus as long as they were cautious.
One couple pushed a pram along the walkway and said they were taking extra precautions.
Jeremy Bennett, 36, said: ‘We’re just being really careful, staying away from people and making sure not to touch any railings or anything, we’ve brought hand sanitiser with us.’
NSW Police officers patrolled Bondi Beach on Saturday to make sure that nobody was on the closed beach
The officers approached Bondi locals who were sitting in the grass and asked them to move along back to their homes
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 5,550
New South Wales: 2,493
Western Australia: 436
South Australia: 407
Australian Capital Territory: 93
Northern Territory: 26
TOTAL CASES: 5,550
His wife Sasha, 31, agreed: ‘We don’t feel at risk as long as there’s lots of space but sometimes the beaches can get really busy and clogged up.’
Two NSW police officers were patrolling the beach and asked anyone who was not exercising to return home.
Lifeguards and council rangers were also monitoring the group sizes.
Unlike Manly, the beaches in Sydney’s East were shut down over coronavirus fears.
This did not stop Bondi locals from trying to enjoy some sunshine by the beachside on Saturday.
NSW Police patrolled Bondi Beach on horseback and approached anyone who was sitting down in the grass.
They asked couples and families to move along back to their homes.
Groups of friends and single beach-goers were also informed that they could not stay at Bondi beach or its surrounds.
The number of positive coronavirus cases across Australia have reached 5,539.