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Thousands flock to beaches across locked-down Sydney to enjoy beautiful 29C weather

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Thousands of locked-down Sydneysiders have flocked to the beach to soak up the warm weekend weather after being given the green light to enjoy the ‘safe fresh air’ by the state’s health minister.

With temperatures in the city forecast to hit a sweltering 29C on Saturday, residents were keen to get out of the house despite the state recording 1,599 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths.  

Sydneysiders donning bikinis and boardshorts overflowed Bondi Beach in the city’s east on Saturday morning as police set up checkpoints to keep people from travelling outside of their 5km radius.

Police officers were also seen swarming the beach and interrogating swimmers and sunbakers with many flouting the rules.

Stunning aerial footage captured countless residents seemingly ignoring the public health orders altogether with many unmasked locals seen lazing around the beach in large groups.

Two people can gather together outside their home for recreation or exercise as long as they’re within 5km of their house and inside their local government area.

It’s understood sunbaking falls into the category of recreation, however masks need to be worn unless residents are strenuously exercising or have an exemption.

Thousands of locked down Sydneysiders have flocked to the beach to soak up the the warm weather

Thousands of locked down Sydneysiders have flocked to the beach to soak up the the warm weather

Police warned they would be out in full force to ensure beachgoers were following the rules

Police warned they would be out in full force to ensure beachgoers were following the rules

Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach was packed before lunchtime on Saturday with temperatures set to reach as high as 29C

Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach was packed before lunchtime on Saturday with temperatures set to reach as high as 29C

Those living in Sydney have spent 11 weeks under a tough lockdown as cases continue to surge

Those living in Sydney have spent 11 weeks under a tough lockdown as cases continue to surge

Locals are seen enjoying the sunshine at Tamarama Beach on Saturday

Locals are seen enjoying the sunshine at Tamarama Beach on Saturday

Crowds filled the sand at Coogee Beach on Saturday as temperatures soared to a scorching 29C

Crowds filled the sand at Coogee Beach on Saturday as temperatures soared to a scorching 29C

Footage taken by 7 News shows countless residents seemingly ignoring the public health orders in North Bondi with many unmasked and gathering in large groups

Footage taken by 7 News shows countless residents seemingly ignoring the public health orders in North Bondi with many unmasked and gathering in large groups

When asked if he was concerned about the large numbers at the beach this weekend, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was only worried about those who weren’t vaccinated.

‘Fresh air as we know is the safest place to be at the present time,’ he said during Saturday’s Covid-19 press conference.

‘But we do state maintain your distance and be careful. While we have many more to get to the required vaccination we do have risks.’

He said generally people had been complying with the health orders well.

‘I know the media will have photographs of people out and about today, the tend to do that, generally that is a safe place to be,’ he said.

Checkpoints have been setup along main roads in Bondi with police checking driver’s licences to confirm they’re within 5km of their home. 

Dozens of residents were seen gathered along the rocks at North Bondi with many appearing to disregard the two person rule.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted NSW Police for comment.

The footage has sparked outrage for those living in the city’s west where 12 LGAs of concern remain under a tougher lockdown with a 9am-5pm lockdown imposed.

‘We get treated like animals and they get treated like there’s no Covid,’ one person said.

‘Wow and we wonder why we are still in lockdown and such high cases. Selfishness,’ commented another.

‘So it’s ok for some but out west we can not even see our grandchildren,’ another said.

‘live in the inner eastern suburbs and I am appalled by this,’ one admitted.

Meanwhile, others said they were happy to see people finally out living their lives after 11 weeks in lockdown.

‘Good on them – live life instead of being locked up like prisoners,’ wrote someone.

‘Great to see people out & about…fresh air, sun & freedom!’. 

When asked if he was concerned about the large numbers at the beach this weekend NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was only worried about those who weren't vaccinated

When asked if he was concerned about the large numbers at the beach this weekend NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was only worried about those who weren’t vaccinated

A couple are seen swimming at Bronte Beach in Sydney's east early on Saturday morning

A couple are seen swimming at Bronte Beach in Sydney’s east early on Saturday morning

Police have been checking beachgoers' license to confirm they are within 5km

Police have been checking beachgoers’ license to confirm they are within 5km

Residents soaking up the sunshine in Bondi were kept under the watchful eye of police officers

Residents soaking up the sunshine in Bondi were kept under the watchful eye of police officers

Bronte Beach was equally as packed on Saturday with temperatures soaring into the high 20s

Bronte Beach was equally as packed on Saturday with temperatures soaring into the high 20s

Residents wasted no time heading down for a swim on a scorching hot day

Residents wasted no time heading down for a swim on a scorching hot day 

WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR VISITING THE BEACH? 

NSW Health states up to two people can gather for exercise or recreation as long as they remain within 5km of their home and inside their Local Government Area – unless you live in one of the 12 LGAs of concern.

It is widely understood that ‘recreation’ includes sunbathing.

A major focus is likely to be ensuring residents are not stretching their allowed 5km limit to reach the coast.

But several other restrictions are likely to keep the police and marshals busy this weekend.

Beachgoers cannot gather in groups of more than two and must maintain 1.5 metres apart at all times.

Maybe toughest of all, sunbathers are expected to wear approved masks on the sand – unless they have an exemption or are strenuously exercising.

Sadly Bayside is the only LGA of concern with beaches – and under public health orders its residents cannot go and enjoy a recreational sunbake, as those in the east can. 

Earlier local authorities in Sydney’s eastern suburbs encouraged those who lived in the 5km radius to make time for a swim – as long as they follow the rules.   

”[We] have anticipated the forecast warmer weather this weekend and have been coordinating with the Police, Transport for NSW, the Department of Health and neighbouring Councils,’ Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.

Police, council rangers and Covid marshals will be deployed to Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama beaches to ensure sun-worshippers follow public health orders.

Mobile signage will also be in place reminding sun lovers to do the right thing.  

Beachgoers cannot gather in groups of more than two and must maintain 1.5 metres apart at all times. 

Police setup checkpoints along a main Bondi road to ensure drivers were within the area

Police setup checkpoints along a main Bondi road to ensure drivers were within the area

A policeman speaks to a Sydney resident down in Bondi on Saturday

A policeman speaks to a Sydney resident down in Bondi on Saturday

Residents have been encouraged to take a dip in the water as long as they follow the health orders

Residents have been encouraged to take a dip in the water as long as they follow the health orders

For many the warm weather was the perfect reason to get out the house as Sydney suffers 11 weeks in lockdown

For many the warm weather was the perfect reason to get out the house as Sydney suffers 11 weeks in lockdown

Other eastern suburbs beaches, including Clovelly, Maroubra and Coogee are also expected to be packed over the weekend

Other eastern suburbs beaches, including Clovelly, Maroubra and Coogee are also expected to be packed over the weekend

Masked officers were seen down in Bondi on Saturday as thousands hit the waves

Masked officers were seen down in Bondi on Saturday as thousands hit the waves

A couple are seen down at Tamarama Beach on Saturday to enjoy a dip in the ocean

A couple are seen down at Tamarama Beach on Saturday to enjoy a dip in the ocean

Residents took advantage of the warm weather over the weekend despite a surge in Covid cases

Residents took advantage of the warm weather over the weekend despite a surge in Covid cases

A senior eastern suburbs council spokesperson who spoke with Daily Mail Australia agreed that groups of people on the sand without masks on ‘is a bad look’ – especially to residents in the 12 hardest-hit LGAs – but said ‘that’s up to police to deal with’. 

Other eastern suburbs beaches, including Clovelly, Maroubra and Coogee are also expected to be packed.

Woollahra Council will have security guards on duty at its swimming spots – Murray Rose Pool in Double Bay, Gibsons Beach and Camp Cove in Watsons Bay and Parsley Bay in Vaucluse.

The security staff will attempt to monitor the swimming areas to ensure the public don’t breach social distancing rules.

No matter how beachgoers behave one thing councils say they will not be doing is closing any beaches.

A Randwick council spokesman said all eastern suburbs councils ‘want to keep the beaches open because its well-known they are good for our mental health’. 

The last time Sydney beaches were closed was March 2020, when police closed Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte as a result of overcrowding.

While eastern suburbs beaches, Manly and the Northern Beaches, should be busy, Bayside council’s beaches – including Brighton-Le-Sands could be subject to police attention. 

No matter how beachgoers behave one thing councils say they will not be doing is closing any beaches

No matter how beachgoers behave one thing councils say they will not be doing is closing any beaches

The city's eastern beaches were expected to be the busiest on Saturday

The city’s eastern beaches were expected to be the busiest on Saturday

Two Sydney residents are seen walking along the promenade at Bondi Beach during a sweltering hot day on Saturday

Two Sydney residents are seen walking along the promenade at Bondi Beach during a sweltering hot day on Saturday

A mother is seen speaking to police as thousands race to the beach in Bondi

A mother is seen speaking to police as thousands race to the beach in Bondi

Sunbakers are allowed as long as they prove they are within 5km and are with no more than one other person

Sunbakers are allowed as long as they prove they are within 5km and are with no more than one other person

Residents must live within 5km of the beach to be able to visit with police out in full force

Residents must live within 5km of the beach to be able to visit with police out in full force

Sydneysiders take a dip at the beach pool in Bronte as temperatures soar on Saturday

Sydneysiders take a dip at the beach pool in Bronte as temperatures soar on Saturday

Checkpoints are seen in Bondi with police checking residents live within the area

Checkpoints are seen in Bondi with police checking residents live within the area

Bayside is the only LGA of concern with beaches – and under public health orders its residents cannot go and enjoy a recreational sunbake, as those in the east can.  

NSW Police confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that they will be out in numbers this weekend.

‘The NSW Police Force remains committed to enforcing the Public Health Order to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus,’ NSW Police told Daily Mail Australia.

‘As part of Operation Stay at Home, operations will continue across the weekend to ensure compliance with the current orders.’

On Friday evening a video shared to social media showed countless residents catching the sunset in Bondi – with most maskless and not social distanced.

Footage showed groups lazing around on the grass near the beach with hardly a care in the world.

Health authorities revealed on Saturday along with the surge in new cases, eight people had died from the virus. 

Of the new deaths, four were western Sydney men – two in their 70s, one in their 30s and one in his 50s.

Another was a south-Sydney woman in her 80s, a south-western man in his 80s and another man in his 40s. None of them had been vaccinated.

There are 1,164 patients being treated in hospital with 221 people in the intensive care unit and 94 on ventilation. 

The cases come as thousands of residents in a handful of Covid-free regional areas awoke to their first day of freedom in four weeks on Saturday.

Stay-at-home restrictions have lifted for much of the state’s northeast and southwest, including in the regional centres of Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga and Albury. 

Masks will be mandatory at indoor public venues, but hospitality venues, shops, sporting facilities and beauty services have all been cleared to reopen with restrictions.

Up to to five people will be allowed in a home and up to 20 can gather outdoors.

Entertainment venues like cinemas and theatres can also open with conditions, and outdoor and stadium events can also resume, with limits on attendees.

Weddings and funerals will be limited to 50 people, with churches and places of worship to open subject to the four square metre rule and no singing.

Hundreds of locals are seen at Bronte Beach with swimmers taking the chance to enjoy some sunshine

Hundreds of locals are seen at Bronte Beach with swimmers taking the chance to enjoy some sunshine

One masked woman is seen walking in Bondi. NSW recorded 1,599 new cases on Saturday

One masked woman is seen walking in Bondi. NSW recorded 1,599 new cases on Saturday

Health authorities revealed on Saturday along with the surge in new cases, eight people had died from the virus

Health authorities revealed on Saturday along with the surge in new cases, eight people had died from the virus

Some Sydneysiders woke up early to catch the sunrise over Bronte in the city's east

Some Sydneysiders woke up early to catch the sunrise over Bronte in the city’s east



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