Australia closes beaches amid Covid-19 lockdown

Travel
(CNN) — Most years, Easter weekend marks the last big hurrah of beautiful warm weather in Australia.
But 2020 isn’t any ordinary year. Amid the worldwide Covid-19 epidemic, people all over the world are being asked to practice social distancing and stay indoors as much as possible.

For Aussies who were hoping to spend a holiday weekend at the beach, though, this edict is proving a challenge.

Arguably the most famous beach in all of Australia, Sydney’s Bondi closed to the public last month when locals had too difficult a time staying away.

Since then, Bondi’s beachside pavilion has transformed from a place to get snacks and change into swimsuits into a pop-up coronavirus testing center.

The neighborhood had been identified as a hotspot for coronavirus cases, some of which are being linked to the many backpackers who come from around the world to stay in hostels near the water.

Gold Coast's Coolangatta Beach is now blocked from visitors.

Gold Coast’s Coolangatta Beach is now blocked from visitors.

Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Now, the beaches along the Gold Coast in Queensland are also officially off-limits as well.

“For us to win this fight against Covid-19, we’re in it together, and if a minority of people are congregating and spreading it … in this case, health is the number-one priority,” Tom Tate, mayor of the Gold Coast, told media.

He added a warning to residents and non-residents alike: “Happy Easter, but stay home and stay out of the Gold Coast.”

Currently, Australia has 6,109 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, according to data from the World Health Organization.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the country would close its borders to all foreigners on March 20. Social distancing guidelines were put into place, and non-essential workers have been sent home.

“Life is changing in Australia for every Australian and life is going to continue to change,” Morrison said at the time. “For many young and old, 2020 will be the toughest year of our lives.”

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