Surfers along Australia's Gold Coast are the latest group of wave-riders to find their beaches shutdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Beaches in Coolangatta and Surfer's Paradise will be off limits starting at midnight on Tuesday, April 7.
The decision was made by local authorities after the beaches continued to be crowded with people despite social-distancing rules being put in place.
"Unfortunately, over the weekend, out-of-towners are descending on the Gold Coast in mass numbers and I fear that this number will increase over the Easter weekend," said Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate. "Therefore, as of midnight on Tuesday, The Spit, Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta beaches will be closed [to everyone]."
Tate noted that there would be ramped up patrols from the police and enforcement actions would be taken.
For the moment, other Gold Coast beaches remain open to local residents so they can walk and get exercise outdoors.
"I didn't want to do this but over the weekend it showed me that especially people visiting from Brisbane are not listening to us," continued Tate. "I will absolutely close more if people think this is not for real."
The good news is that over the weekend Australian health authorities noted that social distancing and other measures that have been implemented do appear to be working to "flatten the curve."
"We are increasingly confident that if people continue to adhere to what we've been asking them to do we can prevent a situation like we've seen in many other countries in the world," Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said in a televised briefing.
Health officials did note that the current restrictions are likely to remain in place for months to come.