With summer approaching, Australians are desperate to get outside, enjoy some sunshine and visit our country’s beautiful beaches. Especially after we’ve all spent our winter hunkered down indoors. But if you were paying attention to Europe over their summer, the packed beaches were a breeding ground for the virus.
Whether you’re planning a much needed holiday up the coast for a week, or just a quiet day at the local beach with your family, there are precautions you can take to ensure your relaxing getaway doesn’t end in quarantine.
The NSW Government this week released a COVID Safe Summer Plan which outlines some brilliant ways we can safely enjoy a trip to the beach.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Stay local & avoid crowded beaches
Ask yourself if you really need to travel to get your beach fix. Staying local is a great way to support local businesses and minimise the risk that travelling poses.
Avoid crowded beaches and tourist hot spots. Yes the main town beach may be gorgeous, but do you really want to share it with thousands of other sun seekers? Try to find a more secluded and less populated beach. It’s a great excuse to explore somewhere new. If you’re stuck for ideas, the government released this round up of gorgeous under the radar destinations that could be your new local spot.
If you must go to a busy beach, try to time your visit around off-peak times. Go for an early morning surf or watch the sunset over the water rather than spending the afternoon on the sand.
As tempting as it may be, don’t invite everyone you know to join you at the beach. The maximum group size for outdoor gatherings is still 20. Within this group, you will need to maintain social distancing from all people you don’t live with. The NSW government recommends keeping a towel length between yourself and other beachgoers as an easy way to stay 1.5m away.
Don’t forget your face mask. While it’s not compulsory to wear masks in NSW, they’ve been proven to lessen your risk of spreading the virus. If you’re travelling to the beach via public transport, or are likely to be somewhere you cannot maintain a distance of 1.5m, masks are highly advised.
Remind everyone to bring their own hand sanitiser and water bottle. It’s best not to share supplies or food with anyone you don’t live with. Wash or sanitise your hands regularly and stay home if you are sick or showing any symptoms.
And remember, the regular rules for beach safety still apply. Obey the flags, listen to lifeguards and of course - slip, slop, slap, seek, slide!