Cops patrol the streets enforcing strict social-distancing rules

Beaches shut just HOURS after opening with swimmers continuing to ignore social distancing and pedestrians moved on – as a sombre Anzac Day is made even quieter due to the coronavirus pandemic

  • Police patrolled major cities on Saturday as Australians were advised to stay at home during COVID-19 crisis 
  • Residents in Sydney and on the Gold Coast ignored social distancing measures and flocked to the beach 
  • Anzac Day marches and services were cancelled across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

An already sombre Anzac Day has been made even quieter as beaches are shut, crowds are moved on and social-distancing rules are applied due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Sydney’s Coogee Beach was opened briefly for exercise on Saturday morning but authorities were forced to shut it after three hours because of large crowds eager to enjoy the sunshine.

The Anzac Day crackdown comes as the number of coronavirus cases across the country continued to drop over the past week, following increased testing and the implementation of strict social distancing rules. 

This weekend will be just as critical as the Easter long weekend to continue flattening the curve, as Australians are tempted by the warm weather.

Anzac Day marches and services were cancelled across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic and Australians were encouraged to pay their respects at home.

Beachgoers flouted social distancing rules as they headed to the beach on Anzac Day. Pictured: Burleigh Beach on the Gold Coast

Sydneysiders were tempted by the warm weather on Anzac Day and flocked to the beach in the eastern suburbs. Pictured: Mahon Pool in Maroubra

Pictured: Hundreds of people gathered on the sand at Burleigh Beach on the Gold Coast, making the most of the warm weather

Pictured: A group stand less than 1.5 metres apart on the Gold Coast on Anzac Day

Barriers were put up at Mahon Pool in Maroubra, Sydney, but beachgoers appeared to ignore the closures

Fitness fanatics on the Gold Coast made the most of the glorious sunshine on Anzac Day

Pictured: At least five police officers patrol Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD on Saturday

Pictured: People pay their respects during the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Saturday

Three women go for a walk at North Burleigh Heads Gold Coast on Saturday

Officers were seen patrolling the empty streets in Sydney’s CBD, where thousands of people normally gather for the annual Dawn Service.

At least five officers appeared to speak to with a group of people congregated at Martin Place. 

The usually bustling George Street was a ghost town on Saturday morning, as Anzac Day commemorations were kept local.

Glaring comparison pictures from the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne highlighted this year’s unique commemoration.

In 2018, thousands packed into the vicinity for the Dawn Service and to pay their respects to Australia’s servicemen and servicewomen.

But on Saturday, police officers – who practiced social distancing – stood and observed passerbys and media crews. 

Hordes of beachgoers flouted social distancing measures as they crammed along a pavement leading to MacKenzies Beach, in Sydney’s east

Masses loitered along the rocks in swimwear despite lockdown restrictions only permitting house departures for ‘essential’ reasons

One body boarder exited the water as a group of men and women waded into MacKenzies Beach

Many were seen sunbaking despite beach outings being limited to exercise activities only

A group of four got comfortable on the rocks to play a card game

Two women sit on the rocks near Maroubra in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Anzac Day

Crowds gathered in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Saturday for a coastal walk in the sunshine

A woman is seen on the rocks behind a sign advising the closure of Mahon Pool in Maroubra on Saturday

Athlete and Beastmaster Mark Edward Greenham and a friend are pictured training at Mistral Point on Anzac Day 

Wreaths are laid in Martin Place, Sydney, to commemorate Anzac Day on Saturday

The usually bustling George Street was a ghost town on Saturday morning, as Anzac Day commemorations were kept local

Boxing workouts were held in pairs at North Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast

At North Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, fitness fanatics made the most of the 27C sunshine by hitting the park.

Pictures also showed beachgoers ignoring social distancing rules at Burleigh Beach by lying on the sand less than 1.5 metres apart from each other.   

Throngs of locals were pictured swimming at Sydney’s Coogee Beach and strolling along the sand on Saturday morning. 

Coogee, Maroubra and Clovelly beaches were shut down on Friday, less than a week after reopening, after masses flocked to the shoreline, ignoring social distancing measures.  

Randwick Council said the beaches would only be open this weekend from 6am to 9am, with exercise the only activity permitted.

‘Please understand our beaches are not open for leisure – they are open only for exercise – soft sand running/walking, surfing and swimming,’ the council said in a statement.   

The council added too many people in the water were not considered to be swimming. 

‘Today we found too many people paddling at the shoreline for long periods of time. Although this is a fun activity, this is not the intended purpose for our beaches at this time,’ it said on Friday.     

Scores of people flocked to Coogee beach at dawn on Saturday morning to make a three-hour time window for exercise

The popular Sydney beach was closed down on Friday, along with Maroubra and Clovelly, after hoardes of people gathered along the eastern coastline

The words Lest We Forget were etched in the sky as Australians opted for early morning walks as Traditional Anzac Day ceremonies across the country were cancelled amid the pandemic

Meanwhile, NSW Police has slammed the ‘one per cent’ who are letting the rest of the population down by ruining the potential easing of restrictions.

NSW Health Minster Brad Hazzard expressed ‘disappointment and agitation’ at the people who continue to pack Sydney beaches.

‘Some people, when rules are relaxed and when we try to do the right thing by giving people the opportunity to exercise outside, people are disregarding the very strong message of social distancing,’ he said during a press conference this afternoon.

‘We know there is a degree of community transmission… that’s why we keep saying keep your 1.5 metre social distancing. It’s a pretty simple message.

‘It’s a sneaky virus and it could easily cut loose again if people don’t stick to the rules.’

Police have a friendly word to a man om Macleay Street at Kings Cross in Sydney on Saturday

Four police officers walk down a very quiet George Street on Saturday morning

People exercise along the Tan after the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian watches a monitor after reading a poem to a live television stream at the Cenotaph on Anzac Day in Sydney’s Martin Place

On Friday, lifeguards and rangers were seen booting swimmers and sunbathers off the sand shortly after 1pm as large numbers made policing COVID-19 rules difficult.

‘There were too many people on the sand and people were unable to follow safe social distancing practices so lifeguards and rangers are in the process of moving people off the beach now,’ a council spokesperson said on Friday.

‘We really need for people to swim their laps, surf or soft sand run for exercise, then leave immediately.’ 

As of 10.45am on Saturday there were 6,689 coronavirus cases in Australia, with 2,994 in NSW.

Eighty people in Australia have died from the virus.

More than 2000 people have recovered from the virus in NSW while 19 people are being treated in intensive care, with 15 requiring ventilators.

NSW has ramped up its COVID-19 testing plans to check more than 8,000 people a day.       

A group of people stop for a chat during a walk on Saturday in Sydney’s eastern suburbs

Groups appear to break social distancing by sitting less than 1.5 metres apart at Burleigh Beach on the Gold Coast on Anzac Day

A man and a woman swim near Maroubra in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Saturday. Randwick Council was forced to shut beaches following large crowds on Friday

A social media movement encouraged Australians to ‘light up the dawn’ and commemorate the 105th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

While there was no 35,000-strong crowd at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra like last year, director Matt Anderson felt part of something greater during the unique national commemorative service.

‘You had a real sense that the nation was watching, that the nation was coming together around this moment,’ Mr Anderson said.

‘The fact that Australians chose their own ways to honour our Anzacs, past and present, has, I think, added new meaning to the day.’ 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked Australians to pay their respects this Anzac Day despite interruptions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Mr Morrison drew on the words of his wartime predecessor John Curtin as he gave the address to the crowd-free commemorative service.

A NSW police officer stands in front of the Sydney Opera House to commemorate Australia’s servicemen and servicewomen on Anzac Day

Jenny Morrison and Prime Minister Scott Morrison pose for a photo at the conclusion of the Anzac Day commemorative service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra

Anzac Day dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance on Saturday (top) is compared to the crowds on April 25, 2018 (bottom)

‘Here in Canberra, on this day, 75 years ago and the midst of war, our then Prime Minister John Curtin, called for every citizen to give equal measure of devotion, what our servicemen and women give every day,’ he said. 

‘He reminded Australia that the original Anzacs handed on a torch, clenched and carried high, and that is passed on to every generation of Australians.

‘This Anzac Day, it’s been passed to us. And so together, with faith in each other, and guided by the lives and examples of those who’ve gone before, we grasp that torch and we raise it high again lighting up the Anzac dawn. Lest we forget.’ 

Mr Morrison said this was not the first time Anzac Day commemorations had been disrupted by a pandemic.

‘This year, our Anzac Day traditions have been interrupted, but not for the first time,’ he said.

‘On Anzac Day 1919, the first after the Great War, there were no city marches or parades for the returning veterans because Australians were battling the Spanish flu pandemic.  

‘Our streets were empty. The returning veterans were not forgotten.’ 

Australians were encouraged to conduct their own Anzac Day services at home on Saturday. Pictured: A woman wears a face mask at Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast

Residents of Swan Street in Rydalmere on their front lawns during the early hours on Anzac Day in Sydney

 

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