Thousands of sunseekers have swarmed Sydney beaches to take advantage of unseasonably warm weather, but the ever-present pandemic and the threat of more lockdowns was not far from beachgoers’ minds.
As the mercury hit a scorching 29C on Thursday, Coogee was covered with groups of friends craving sun and sand after months being stuck indoors.
But the return of the heat has sparked fears the beaches could once again be closed to the public like they were in March when the outbreak began.
There are no restrictions on going to the beach in New South Wale, but there is a 20-person limit to group sizes. Residents have been encouraged to social distance and wear face masks while in crowded areas.
Daily Mail Australia saw no face masks on Thursday although most beachgoers were attempting to remain at least 1.5metres apart.
For Imogen Brownlee, 21, and Lindsay Firth, 24, the threat of the coronavirus was not far from their minds.
The group (pictured) had ventured to the beach together to soak up some sun, all of whom are currently out of work due to the pandemic battering the tourism industry
For many beachgoers the threat of the coronavirus was not far from their minds. Pictured from left: Samantha Robertson, 25, Alex Hale, 29, and Shona Davidson, 27, Maddie Smith, 24, Brianna Henderson 22, Imogen Brownlee, 21, and Lindsay Firth, 24)
Further along the beach lounging in the sun were housemates Zoe Martin, 24, and Emma Byden, 26, they felt everyone was social distancing on Thursday
Katie and Georgia (pictured) were at the beach enjoying the sunshine on Thursday, the pair were with a group of friends celebrating a birthday
‘When it’s cold it feels like flu weather whereas this doesn’t feel like it,’ Ms Firth said.
Ms Firth said they were trying social distance but the high temperature made it hard to resist heading to the beach.
‘The warmer weather does make it harder, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to shut down Bondi again,’ Ms Brownlee said.
‘I think at the moment we’re all doing what we can, at the beach today I think we all could probably be doing a little bit more,’ Ms Brownlee said.
Ms Firth said: ‘I think unless the beaches are actually shut, you’re not going to stop going.’
The women had ventured to the beach with a group of seven others, all of whom are currently out of work due to the pandemic battering the tourism industry.
The group (pictured), who work in the travel industry, have been left in limbo as they wait for travel restrictions to be eased
A woman in red messages on her phone as she soaks up the sun on Thursday. Temperatures reached a scorching 29C
Alex Hale, 29, and Shona Davidson, 27, have a laugh as they enjoy the beach with their friends on Thursday afternoon
They are all on JobSeeker, stuck in limbo, hoping travel restrictions are eased soon so they can get back to work.
For Alex Hale, 29, the travel ban has been devastating.
He has no idea what the next year will bring.
‘I’m just trying not think too much about the future,’ Mr Hale said.
Samantha Robertson, 25, had her dream job lined up working for an events company but when restrictions were brought introduced in March, banning mass gatherings, her dreams were dashed.
‘It was looking pretty promising but as soon as they shut off the mass gatherings my job was cut.’
Thousands of sunseekers flooded the beach on Thursday making the most of the hot weather, most remained at a distance due to COVID-19 restrictions
Two women toss a volleyball in the sand as they enjoy the first taste of the warm spring weather on Thursday afternoon
She said she understands the need to keep Australia’s borders closed but is hopeful state borders to reopen.
‘I think the state restrictions definitely should ease, it’s impacting the rest of the economy, especially tourism,’ she said.
‘I think now is a good time to open borders up and promote tourism in Australia.
‘I’m not too fussed about travelling internationally at the moment. I mean, I can’t really afford it anyway.’
Shona Davidson, 27, was also hopeful the borders would reopen soon.
She hasn’t seen her family in over a year due to restrictions, despite being based in the Sunshine Coast.
A couple apply sunscreen on their backs before hitting the water at Coogee Beach on Thursday afternoon
Two women walk between sunbathers who were all spaced out along the sand in Coogee on Thursday afternoon
Sunbathers took to the rocks to soak up the sun after the beach was scattered with thousands on beachgoers
‘I did have flights booked to go home (to Queensland) in April but that wasn’t able to happen. I’m hoping restrictions will be eased by my sister’s wedding in June next year.
‘I’m nervous because it would be really upsetting if I couldn’t go to the wedding.
Further along the beach lounging in the sun were housemates Zoe Martin, 24, and Emma Byden, 26.
The pair were optimistic with how New South Wales had been handling the pandemic. They said residents seemed to be doing well with social distancing.
‘It’s starting to feel like we’re returning to normal a bit – well a new normal I guess,’ Ms Martin said.
‘I feel like the next few weeks will be a test for what Christmas and New Years will be like.’
Coronavirus cases continue to climb with New South Wales recording 12 new cases on Friday, bringing the total of cases in the state to 3,902.
A sign at Bondi Beach warns beachgoers there is a maximum of 20 people allowed per group at the beach
A group of women go for a splash as the mercury soared to a scorching 29C on Thursday afternoon, after months of cold weather
Volleyball players are seen at Bondi Beach on Thursday afternoon as the mercury soared to a scorching 29C
Five of the 12 new cases have been linked to known clusters including three out of a growing source of infection in Sydney CBD, which has ballooned to 52 infections.
Waverley Council has employed roving ambassadors who wear shirts reading ‘spread kindness not germs.’
Under New South Wales health guidelines residents are allowed to gather in groups of up to 20 people in public places, including parks and beaches.
But lifeguards are urging beachgoers to try and stay one ‘towel-length’ apart from others and avoid crowding inside the flags.
Swimmers brave large swells to cool off during a 29C day in Sydney on Thursday, most people were social distancing
Sunbathers lay metres apart at Coogee Beach on Thursday, ensuring they social distance due to the COVID-19 threat
Beaches in the Waverley and Randwick local government areas were closed in March after visitors failed to comply with social distancing restrictions.
Bondi and Bronte were closed for four weeks, with those who broke the rules threatened with hefty $1,000 fines.
Nearby beaches Coogee, Clovelly, Maroubra and Malabar were closed for three weeks.
THE FOUR-DAY FORECAST IN YOUR CITY
Thursday: Min 15. Max 29. Sunny.
Friday: Min 15. Max 22. Possible shower.
Saturday: Min 13. Max 21. Partly cloudy.
Sunday: Min 11. Max 21. Mostly sunny.
Thursday: Min 11. Max 19. A few showers developing.
Friday: Min 8. Max 17. Partly cloudy.
Saturday: Min 9. Max 18. Shower or two.
Sunday: Min 9. Max 21. Mostly sunny.
Thursday: Min 14. Max 25. Partly cloudy.
Friday: Min 14. Max 26. Mostly sunny.
Saturday: Min 14. Max 26. Mostly sunny.
Sunday: Min 15. Max 25. Shower or two.
Thursday: Min 11. Max 20. Cloudy.
Friday: Min 12. Max 21. Partly cloudy.
Saturday: Min 15. Max 21. Showers.
Sunday: Min 15. Max 21. Showers.
Thursday: Min 11. Max 17. Shower or two clearing.
Friday: Min 10. Max 17. Shower or two.
Saturday: Min 9. Max 19. Possible shower.
Sunday: Min 11. Max 23. Sunny.
Thursday: Min 7. Max 18. Possible shower.
Friday: Min 7. Max 14. Shower or two.
Saturday: Min 7. Max 15. Possible shower.
Sunday: Min 6. Max 18. Partly cloudy.
Thursday: Min 8. Max 20. Shower or two.
Friday: Min 5. Max 17. Partly cloudy.
Saturday: Min 1. Max 17. Mostly sunny.
Sunday: Min 6. Max 18. Partly cloudy.
Thursday: Min 23. Max 34. Mostly sunny.
Friday: Min 23. Max 35. Sunny.
Saturday: Min 23. Max 35. Sunny.
Sunday: Min 22. Max 35. Sunny.