September 20 - 26, 2020: Issue 467
Promoting COVID-safety on our Beaches this summer: When, why and how beaches may be closed
Council has released a plan to maximise public safety and reduce the risk of COVID-19 in public places during the coming busy holiday period.
The COVID-19 Summer Action Plan for Outdoor Public Spaces supports NSW Public Health Orders and recommendations and provides a framework for how Council will work with NSW Police, Surf Lifesaving and other authorities over summer.
It details proactive measures Council will implement including:
- establishing a Beach Safety Working Group with key stakeholders to deliver a coordinated response;
- activating additional flagged areas to reduce crowd density;
- increasing cleansing of public places;
- monitoring by rangers and lifeguards with reminders of social distancing and crowd gathering restrictions;
- ongoing review of parking restrictions;
- regular and consistent communication through onsite signage, website, lifeguard announcements and other digital and social channels.
The Plan also details how Council will apply a staged response based on actual and forecasted crowd levels at beaches, considering crowd densities calculated for each beach when social distancing restrictions are applied.
Council will work with Surf Life Saving NSW to progress the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones, to provide aerial vision and surveillance to help monitor crowd capacity at beaches.
Council will apply a staged response based on actual and forecasted occupancy of public spaces:
- Stage One - Low to high crowd density (0 - 75% capacity) - Count 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. Record numbers -Physical distancing messaging as required (50 - 75% hourly).
- Stage Two - High to very high crowd density (75% - 90% + capacity) - Count every 1 hour or as necessary. Record numbers. Beach nearing capacity - increase in frequency of announcements. Crowd control Lifeguard / Lifesavers / Rangers / to respond to crowd density management in consultation with Police. Prepare to close carparks. Exit only.
- Stage Three - Very high to full crowd density (90% - 100% capacity). Beach closures. Closure of beach: Lifeguard / Lifesavers / Rangers / to manage closure of the beaches with assistance from NSW Police. Close entry to carparks. Exit only.
Council will also action options to restrict beach parking to reduce crowd numbers and review options to change pay and display machines limiting parking times. Council, in conjunction with SLSCs, will review each patrolled beach and put in place parking options for Volunteer Lifesavers to ensure continuity of the lifesaving service.
Rockpools are to be monitored and managed based on prevailing NSW Health restrictions and appropriate social distancing guidelines. Swimming Clubs are required to have a COVID Safety plan and therefore are not subject to the requirements of this plan, however, physical distancing requirements will apply.
Skate parks, open spaces, parks and reserves will be monitored and managed based on current NSW Health restrictions and recommendations
Mayor Michael Regan said being COVID-safe this summer was a shared responsibility.
“We really want to keep our beaches, parks, playgrounds and pools open so people can enjoy them to full this summer,” Mayor Regan said.
“But the threat of COVID-19 is still very real and we all need to remember this when we are out and about this summer.
“If you get to a public place and it looks uncomfortably busy, it might be a good idea to try somewhere else, or try again later.
“We’ll be working with Police and Surf Lifesaving to do all we can to protect the health of everyone. We also need the cooperation of community so we can all have a great summer.”
You can read the Plan in full from the link below.
The Northern Beaches COVID-19 Summer Action Plan for Outdoor Public Spaces is available at: www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/summer-action-plan-outdoor-public-spaces
- Staff/volunteer safety issue: Contact Police immediately.
- Outdoor area nearing capacity: Contact Incident Controller immediately. Lifeguards to escalate to Rangers. Incident Controller to contact Police immediately.
- Groups exceeding 20 pax on beaches: Lifeguards to escalate to Rangers to speak to group.
- Groups exceeding 20 pax in other public spaces: Rangers to speak to group.
- Groups exceeding 20 pax refusing to move on: Ranger to contact Ranger Coordinator. Ranger Coordinator to contact Incident Controller. Incident Controller to contact Police.
- Weather forecast response: If weather is conducive to attract large crowds, plan to initiate Stage 2 response well in advance. Contact Transport Manager and Police.
- Events: If known event in place and likely to attract larger crowds, plan to initiate Stage 2 response at start of day. Contact Transport Manager and Police.
Beach crowd capacity model
Council’s assessment of beach capacity thresholds took into consideration social distancing restrictions based on prevailing NSW Health Orders and recommendations. The methodology calculated the available usable sand space, which was assessed on approximately 125m to 150m either side of the flags and the width of the beach. Should circumstances arise whereby beach conditions change, for example beach erosion, reassessment of beach crowd thresholds will be undertaken.
The crowd capacity of our beaches is as follows:
Beaches Available metres squared of USABLE sand in designated patrol areas Estimated crowd threshold at high tide Estimated crowd threshold at low tide
North Palm 14,118 1,000 2,000
Palm 43,991 3,500 6,000
Whale 32,807 3,000 4,000
Avalon 29,217 2,500 3,500
Bilgola 48,878 3,000 5,000
Newport 22,377 2,000 3,000
Bungan 17,252 1,500 2,500
Mona Vale 51,126 4,000 6,000
Warriewood 36,604 2,500 4,000
North Narrabeen 33,492 3,000 4,000
Birdwood Park 3,708 200 1,000
Narrabeen 22,463 2,000 3,000
Collaroy 14,598 1,200 2,000
Long Reef 41,643 4,000 5,000
Dee Why 28,370 2,500 3,500
North Curl Curl 31,302 2,500 3,500
South Curl Curl 18,635 1,500 2,000
Freshwater 36,159 3,000 4,000
Queenscliff 18,139 1,500 2,500
North Steyne 14,388 1,200 2,500
Manly 29,638 2,500 4,000
Shelley 7,257 500 1,500
Little Manly 4,184 300 700