Port Stephens Council has temporarily restricted access to public spaces such as playgrounds and outdoor exercise stations across the local government area in a bid to further assist efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The restrictions came into effect on Friday, March 27 in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's call to cease all non-essential travel including vacation travel.
"These measures are designed to prevent public gatherings and encourage travellers to stay at home rather than visit our region for the moment, so that we can all help stop the spread of COVID-19," the council said in a statement.
"The health and well-being of all people should be everyone's priority at this time."
Temporary closures apply to:
- Holiday Parks - except permanent residents and their visitors and people who have no other place of permanent residence and their visitors.
- Beaches - closed for public gatherings. Lifeguard services have been modified at Birubi, Fingal and One Mile beaches, with no flagged swimming areas. People may still walk through a beach under social distancing rules. All water based activities are undertaken at the persons own risk and under social distancing rules.
- Boat ramps - are closed to all non-essential users to discourage non-essential travel to the area and limit the need for emergency services personnel from responding to water-based incidents. Essential users are all emergency and rescue services, commercial fishers, boat-based businesses and people retrieving boats from Port Stephens waterways to transport to other areas.
- All council owned sporting venues and facilities including barbecue areas, playgrounds and play equipment, outdoor fitness stations or exercise equipment, skate and BMX parks, enclosed dog parks.
Signs will be put up at these facilities "as soon as possible to indicate closures until further notice", the council said.
Fencing will not be installed around open spaces. The public is being asked to respect the restrictions.
"Council is still here to help our community. Our objective is to keep delivering our services for the community while doing everything we can to help slow the spread of COVID-19," the council said.
Port Stephens Council's website has a dedicated COVID-19 information and updates page that is updated every time we receive new information portstephens.nsw.gov.au/covid19.