It seems some areas of Sydney’s northern beaches are still as busy as ever, with hundreds of people pictured out and about at Manly this morning.
Sidewalks were packed with walkers and joggers, and dozens of surfers were photographed in the water off Manly beach.
Many people appeared to follow the 1.5m social distancing rule, but others seemed to completely disregard it.
This comes after a number of popular Sydney beaches had to be closed after crowds continued to flout social distancing rules.
In NSW leaving your house without a “reasonable excuse” could result in a fine of up to $11,000 and/or six months in jail.
There are currently 16 reasonable excuses you can have for leaving home, including getting food, travelling for work, exercise, donating blood and accessing public services.
Yesterday NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said people still seemed to be struggling to understand what constitutes exercise.
“In terms of the new isolation powers, certainly lots of questions about exercise. I don’t get it,” he said at a press conference, adding the government wanted people to stay physically and psychologically fit and healthy.
“But of course if I said that it’s OK to sit on a park bench, then everyone is going to go to the park. We’re going to end up where we started. On a hot day at Bondi Beach a couple of weekends ago, one person said they were going to go for a swim and we ended up with 10,000 people.”
Around Australia, gatherings of more than two people are banned in public places, unless they are members of the same household or it’s an essential work or study-related gathering.
Individuals can be issued with on-the-spot fines of $1000 for flouting social distancing rules, with that bumped up to $5000 for businesses.
Mr Fuller said while strict measures are in place, police would use their discretion when handing out fines.
“Every time a police officer stops someone to ask a question you get this very innate skill of working out whether people are telling you the truth or not,” he told 2GB earlier this week.
“If someone says, ‘look I’m going to the chemist’ and if the chemist is over there and visible then that’s fine, we’re not a police state. Just to be clear, we’re not. But if there’s a group of people in a car, a group of young people and they say they’re going somewhere that doesn’t match up, well then they’ll get a ticket. We’ll be reasonable about this, we won’t give everyone a ticket.”
The current restrictions will be in place in NSW for at least 90 days, but NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned it could be a lot longer than that.
“The time in which these restrictions apply is completely dependent on health advice,” she said. “I’m hoping as best case we don’t go beyond what we have now.
“We’re in it for at least six months. Until there is a cure, until there is at least a vaccine, this crisis is something we need to deal with. All of us have to come to terms with that.
“Any time a commissioner signs a health order, legally it’s for 90 days. But it could be longer or shorter.”