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Changes to Central Coast Beach Patrols from 25 March 2020

Source: Central Coast Council
Posted: 25 Mar 2020
Central Coast Council and Surf Life Saving Central Coast have announced that the red and yellow flags will not go up on Central Coast beaches for the rest of the season in response to the evolving situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This means that Council lifeguard and Surf Life Saving volunteer patrols will stop setting the flags from 25 March at the 15 patrolled beach locations.

Council Chief Executive Officer, Gary Murphy said the decision responded to Federal and State Government calls to do more to ensure compliance with the regulations around physical distancing and banning outdoor gatherings of 500 or more people.

"Unfortunately, the swim between the flags message is encouraging people to congregate in close proximity," Mr Murphy said.

"Our job right now is ensuring we play our part in managing as best we can the spread of Coronavirus, and protecting the health and wellbeing of our staff and community. Lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers' job is not crowd control and social group management.

"Their important roles of keeping children, families and all beachgoers safe at the patrolled beach areas is being compromised during these unprecedented times." 

Surf Life Saving Central Coast Chief Executive Officer Jon Harkness added that an early end to the usual beach patrol season did not mean the end of beach safety education or the responsibility of everyone to be surf smart.

"Every single beach goer has a personal responsibility to be surf smart if they get in the water, and particularly adults and carers must watch and care for their children at beaches always," said Mr Harkness.

"We will continue to promote beach safety and connect families, young and senior people across the Central Coast in preparation for the coming season, even when we are not patrolling the beaches.

"We know that this decision may seem counter-intuitive as we approach the Easter long weekend break and potentially longer school holiday period. But these are not ordinary times and they require us to take all the precautions we can to keep our staff and the general public safe. We are asking everyone to be sensible and follow the regulations about public gatherings and physical distancing.

"We will be back in late September this year to raise the red and yellow flags for a new beach patrol season," said Mr Harkness.

Useful links:

Beach safety information

Latest information on changes to Council services 

Customer service enquiries can be made via phone on 1300 463 954 and via Council's website

The Australia Government Department of Health and NSW Health provide daily updates on their websites. You can also learn more about protective measures against coronavirus from the World Health Organization and read the 'What you need to know' and 'Isolation guidance' information sheets.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade is also updating the Smartraveller website every day.

 
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