Large crowds are gathering at Sydney beaches on Saturday amid a high temperatures which are set to linger over the Harbour City until Tuesday – but it’s come with a warning from authorities.
Big crowds were already packed into the iconic Bondi Beach before midday with the mercury set to nudge the high 30s across parts of the city.
And while NSW recorded its sixth straight day without a community infections, residents have been urged not to ignore COVID-19 restrictions with Waverley Council warning of the possibility of a super spreading event.
Waverley mayor Paula Masselos said that council and police patrols would be stepped up during the heatwave.
Mr Masselos said also visitor access would be restricted as a last resort and implored beachgoers to observe social distancing rules.
“Australia Day is a time for celebration but I would be really disappointed if a new COVID-19 cluster were to emerge in Sydney because people ignored the Public Health Order limiting outdoor public gatherings to 30 people or the health advice about social distancing by 1.5 metres or keeping one towel-length apart,” Mr Masselos said.
He also urged beachgoers to leave if beaches were too busy.
With the memories of the Avalon cluster which forced the northern beaches into a hard lockdown still fresh in their minds, the Northern Beaches council issued a warning to its constituents.
Over the long weekend they have rostered on extra lifeguards and lifesavers to ensure people are safe on the beaches and health guidelines are being adhered to.
Beachgoers are urged to stay one towel length apart and not congregate in groups of over 30, as per NSW Health rules.
They also have an agreement with Surf Life Saving Australia to use drones to monitor the number of people on beaches.
Randwick City Council – which takens in popular beaches such as Coogee and Maroubra – said it had signs up asking people to socially distance and wear masks if possible.
As well, lifeguards were making announcements and reminding beachgoers to socially distance.
A council spokeswoman said there were no plans in place for extra patrols but they did have a scaling system in place to step up surveillance if rules weren’t followed.
By 11am, the temperature had already hit above 30C in parts of western Sydney including Penrith, Badgerys Creek and Campbelltown.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting Penrith and Richmond to both hit 37C on Saturday.
In Sydney’s eastern, northern and southern suburbs, conditions will still be hot with Bondi, Cronulla and Mona Vale are expecting highs of 27C
After hot conditions hit on Friday, western Sydney is in the midst of what is expected to be a five-day run of temperatures above 35C.
Authorities have asked residents to be on high alert for health dangers amid the heatwave which is set to stretch into Australia Day in NSW.
Sunday is expected to be the peak of the hot conditions for South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT but the heat will linger in NSW.
While temperatures are expected to ease across other parts of south-eastern Australia on Tuesday, a top of 40C is expected for Sydney on Australia Day.