COVID-19: Outdoor fitness equipment, parks and skate bowls open again in Port Stephens

EXCITED: Sandro Demar, 6, was happy to be able to use the swings at Nelson Bay foreshore playground when it reopened to the public on May 15.
EXCITED: Sandro Demar, 6, was happy to be able to use the swings at Nelson Bay foreshore playground when it reopened to the public on May 15.

More than a month after they were closed to the public, outdoor fitness equipment, parks and skate bowls in Port Stephens are once again available to use.

As COVID-19 restrictions further eased across NSW on Friday, Port Stephens Council reopened and restarted some of its facilities and services that were closed at the end of March in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the community.

From May 15, Port Stephens residents can once again access:

  • Barbecue facilities
  • Fenced dog parks
  • Outdoor fitness stations or exercise equipment - Use with caution. Wash your hands before and after use. Assume the person who used the equipment before you has the virus.
  • Parks and reserves - National parks remain open for local residents to exercise, providing people follow social distancing.
  • Playgrounds and play equipment - Use with caution. Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Restaurants - All existing Footway Dining approvals have been reinstated. These premises must develop and submit a COVIDsafe plan to the council prior to recommencing operation.
  • Skate and BMX parks

While beaches are open, the council advised:

  • Beaches - lifeguard services have officially ended for the season. All water activities are undertaken at the person's own risk and in accordance with public health orders and social distancing rules.

While the advice for national parks is:

  • National parks - All camping and beach driving at Samurai Beach and the Worimi Conservation Lands is currently closed and access to high use visitor areas in national parks is restricted.

As for sporting venues and waste drop off in the Port:

  • Sporting venues - Closed for organised community sport, open for informal exercise.
  • Waste drop off days - Will be reinstated from June 1 with physical distancing measures in place.
OPEN AGAIN: The Nelson Bay foreshore playground that was closed by Port Stephens Council at the end of March to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Pictures: Ellie-Marie Watts

OPEN AGAIN: The Nelson Bay foreshore playground that was closed by Port Stephens Council at the end of March to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Pictures: Ellie-Marie Watts

Residents who access these facilities and services are being reminded to ensure they are social distancing (1.5m distance from other people) and following proper hand hygiene practices (washing hands with soap, using hand sanitiser). Any resident who is feeling under the weather is advised to stay home.

The changes in Port Stephens are in line with the eight changes to NSW's Public Health Order that came into effect on May 15 allowing:

  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people (backyards do not count, says the NSW Premier)
  • Cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons
  • Up to 5 visitors to a household at any one time
  • Weddings up to 10 guests
  • Indoor funerals up to 20 mourners, outdoor funerals up to 30
  • Religious gatherings/places of worship up to 10 worshippers
  • Use of outdoor equipment with caution
  • Outdoor pools open with restrictions

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