Social Distancing proving successful at Cottesloe Beach

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Jesse Donnelly Jones

Locals keep their distance at Cottesloe Beach.

Jesse Donnelly Jones, Reporter

The mayor of Cottesloe hopes Perth beaches will remain open, as debate continues as to whether or not our coastline should be closed to the public.

Social distancing at local beaches has been a major talking point this past week, in the wake of photos being taken showing thousands of people flocking to Bondi Beach in Sydney.

As the federal government continues to enforce stricter social distancing measures, opinion is divided as to whether or not our beaches should remain open.

While recent scenes in New South Wales are yet to be witnessed in WA, concern is growing within the community about how seriously people are taking the new social distancing restrictions.

Cottesloe Mayor Phil Angers says he’s been happy with the response from beachgoers, who‘ve been doing the right thing.

“We’re watching over, the rangers have been there every day just checking in with people and saying look please keep your distance this is very serious,” Angers said.

“We’ve mostly been very pleased especially after the first day or so when people were getting used to the concept.”

Mr Angers said he’s yet to hear of any complaints regarding people’s behaviour at the beach, and believes the vast majority of West Australians are taking seriously the coronavirus threat.

“I saw no evidence of people crowded or gathering too closely together. They are basically doing the right thing and I think we’re sticking to the rules pretty well.

“We hope to keep them [beaches] open and I don’t see any reason to close them unless people don’t obey the rules which so far they are,” he said.

“I think the warning that came out to close the beaches in the eastern states has brought it home to people that they’re [the state government] quite serious about it and if we’re instructed to close it down obviously we’ll have to.”

The Cottesloe Council has been closely monitoring the situation, receiving daily feedback from rangers and police officers who have been patrolling the foreshore over the past week.

“The Post newspapers have been taking pictures of people at the beach and how they’re sitting and so far it looks like everyone is obeying the rules plus we’ve got the rangers walking along and we’ve got the police standing at the top of the beaches making sure that people do conform,” said Mr Angers.

“So we’re doing everything in our power and we certainly want to keep the beach open.”