Lives will potentially be lost if inexperienced swimmers take on the waves at unpatrolled beaches.
That’s the message from Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mark Jamieson to people swimming at open beaches while surf lifesaving flags are down.
“Just this week, people walking along the beach have fortunately been at the right place at the right time to save people swimming at some of the Coast’s most dangerous beaches,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Those swimmers are only here today because someone was walking past.
“In light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and to support compliance with the national public health directions, there are no flags on our beaches, in an effort to discourage people from visiting and congregating at these locations.
“Most importantly, we are encouraging everyone to stay home during this time.
“If you do need to go out to exercise, then stay in your local area to avoid crowding.
“If your exercise involves going to the beach, then stay out of the water if you are not an experienced swimmer.
“If you need to ask where the safe swimming spots are to avoid dangerous rips – then you should not be going into the water – it is as simple as that.
“Surf Life Saving Queensland has made it clear that they only want experienced swimmers heading into the water and even then, think twice.
“Community safety is far more important than recreation,” he said.
Mayor Jamieson has again urged residents to continue social distancing over the Easter school holidays to keep downward pressure on the number of new COVID-19 cases.
“I want to acknowledge and congratulate the majority of the community who appear to be staying at home and heeding the social distancing rules by not congregating,” he said.
“I applaud and thank those of our residents who are doing the right thing. Keep up the good work.
“For those who are still socialising and travelling for non-essential purposes – you need to stay home in the best interests of your own health and the safety of our community.
“Just because the number of new cases is decreasing does not mean it’s okay to socialise and travel during the upcoming long weekend.
“And please don’t invite family and friends to visit the Sunshine Coast this Easter.”
Mayor Jamieson reminded people congregating outside that they risked being fined, losing access to more facilities and placing themselves and others at risk.
“If you go out to exercise and your favourite walking track, beach or dog park is crowded, turn around and go home,” he said.
Council will introduce the following further restriction today (April 8) in line with the nationwide effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Gardners Falls closed
Gardners Falls in Maleny is closed to stop people from gathering at this location and to discourage them from leaving home unnecessarily.
Obi Lane, Maleny will be closed ahead of the Easter long weekend blocking access to the car park at Gardners Falls.