Beachgoers flout social distancing and we’ll all pay

Despite repeated government warnings, many beachgoers, park users and shoppers across Perth appear to be ignoring social distancing laws and face on-the-spot fines of one-thousand dollars.

Source: Australian Government Department of Health.

Public Health Advocacy Institute WA (PHAIWA) Director Melissa Stoneham says she’s concerned people seem to be ignoring social distancing rules, especially on WA beaches.

“We all love beaches but I think if people can’t agree with distancing rules then I think the government will have no choice but to close beaches,” she says.

“I think it’s a small ask for people to just obey the rules for the time being and don’t go out unless they really need to. If they do go out stay 1.5 metres away from people.”

At Cottesloe Beach, some beachgoers ignore proper social distancing. Photo:Jade Bradford.

Town of Cambridge Mayor Keri Shannon says the council has installed more than 200 signs, reminding members of the public of social distancing regulations.

“The Town of Cambridge Rangers undertake regular patrols of the popular public areas where people are choosing to exercise to remind them of their obligation,” she says.

“Additional Rangers will be rostered on during the Easter holidays so that extra patrols of public areas including the beaches can be done to ensure everyone is still adhering to the regulations.”

Professor Nikos Ntoumanis from the School of Psychology at Curtin University believes some people are not taking COVID-19 seriously.

“This [is] defiance behavior, for some individuals when their freedom is constrained there are different ways they respond to it,” he says.

Earlier today, WA Health Minister Roger Cook pleaded with West Australians to do the right thing and follow social distancing laws over Easter.

“I know this long weekend is going to be different from any other that we’ve had, the message is clear: please stay home,” he says.

“If you do need to go out, please keep your distance. We can’t do this alone but we can do it with everyone’s help.”