Popular Gold Coast beaches to shut after virus rules ignored

Council has taken the extraordinary step of closing some Gold Coast beaches after thousands of people ignored social distancing rules on the weekend.

Beaches at The Spit, Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta will shut from midnight on Tuesday.

The remainder of the city’s beaches will stay open for people to exercise, swim or surf, but Council says it won’t hesitate to close more beaches if people continue to flout the rules.


Mayor Tom Tate says he had no other choice, pointing the finger at non-locals.

“Unfortunately over the weekend, out-of-towners are descending on the Gold Coast in mass numbers and I fear that this number will increase over the Easter weekend,” Mayor Tate said.

“I say to Logan and Brisbane people, we love you, but we don’t want you visiting us right now.”

PHOTO: Marcus Greig

Council closed the car park at The Spit after hundreds of people flocked there on Saturday.

But that didn’t stop people going there on Sunday, with barricades to be set up to prevent it happening again.

“We are working through the finer details now, including having parking officers redeployed to The Spit to monitor illegal parking.”

PHOTO: Marcus Greig

Mayor Tate says limiting the spread of COVID-19 is the number one priority.

“I don’t want to do this but over the weekend shows me that, especially people visiting from Brisbane are not listening to us.”

The Mayor held discussions with senior Police, confirming that they even considered doing Police checks on the northern Gold Coast to stop non-essential travel to the city.

But that’s been ruled out for now.

Council is urging people from out of town not to come to the Gold Coast, especially over the Easter break.

“When we ask people to stay in their suburb, it means don’t come and stay on the Gold Coast.

“It’s happening and my heart feels for people in hospitality, but if we don’t do it, the longer term effect will be more devastation for our city.

PHOTO: Marcus Greig

Coolangatta Beach will be closed from Greenmount Point to the Coolangatta Groyne.

Surfers Paradise will be closed from Clifford St Tower 33 to South Narrowneck Tower 37 adjacent to Higman St.

And the Spit will be closed from Tower 42 Adjacent to Seaworld to the Rock Wall adjacent to Tower 46.

Police are warning that Gold Coast beaches will be heavily patrolled over the long weekend.

Commissioner Katarina Carroll says officers will be conducting checks to ensure people on the beach are locals.

“That’s very easy to monitor, if you’ve got people living on the beach, in the units, there’d be a form of ID so that’s very easy to monitor, in fact it should only be for those people in that local area to enjoy those local beaches and use it for exercise.”

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I went to the spit on the weekend and it was NOT crowded

Saturday morning was a joke at the spit. Over crowed was understatement. I even had people coughing n sneezing towards me without covering. Standing in groups blocking the path to the beach.

Must’ve been at an abnormal time like bulls*** o’clock , i went to surf there on Sat morn and it was packed .

You obviously went at the wrong time because it was pretty full at 6am

If you look at the pictures, almost everyone is more than 2 metres away from each other – as per normal. Where’s the evidence? Media rouses up the do-gooders who atrta firing off emails saying how outraged they are that others are not suffering as much as them. Politicians start firing their uzies to show how tough they are.

Yeah well, at Main beach, outside my unit there were families setting up for the day…. all the walkers were fine but there was no doubt there were day trippers

Same with Coolangatta beach. Any people that were there were doing the social distancing. None on beach this morning. Just Tate trying to get in on the act of looking like a genuine leader who is actually concerned about people

Yes TomTate: da tuff guy

GC and Brisbane are pretty much one city. I have businesses in both. If we are practicing social distancing and keep doing so, the number of new cases are dropping significantly therrs no need for these draconian laws. Just fine people breaking the law. Can’t even enjoy nature, there will be a lot of mental health damage. Don’t ban everything.

Ummm stay in your postcode no need to drive 50 min Sth to the GC to enjoy nature, you can practice social distancing where you live.

The reason the rate has dropped is because of the rules, let’s not get complacent and think it’s ok to break the rules because the infection rate is on the way down. Stay at home means stay at home. If people want to exersise stay in your own neighborhood.

Could you help me with a job? I’m from Brazil and I’m passing throught a difficult moment. Here is my number 481129025. Thank you so much

The reason it looked busy was that the intellectual pygmy that is the mayor closed off all the parking which caused a concertina effect of having everyone congregate in singular areas, if the idiot left them open then you wouldn’t have seen the issues.

B/s I live in surfers and at 6-30 am Saturday there were groups of people meeting with coffee and talking,just not good enough now we all pay

Sorry mate but I saw it first hand when I rode to go surfing. All parking had been shut which pushed people into limited areas.

Shut means shut stay home means stay home 1.5 is not hard to measure and rules apply to everyone.

So who takes the tape off the seats and fitness gear .im sure it’s not the wind it’s the people who don’t give a s*** and will still meet and greet with a coffee.why don’t they just obey the rules like the rest

Does this mean the authorities will be checking ID for out-of-towners or is it closed to everyone?

Corruptly elected corrupt mayor trying to flex his muscles! #notmymayor

I cycled to the Spit on Sunday. NOT CROWDED at all on beach. The carpark was all shut off though causing hazards for cyclists as cars were parked in cycle lanes and all down the street, causing unnecessary car door hazards for cyclists. Better if the cars are allowed safely in carpark. If they took the photos from a bird’s eye view you could see the distance between people. Its the camera angle making it look crowded.

You must be living under a rock trying to use camera angles as an excuse to keep doing whatever you want. Your more worried about the paint on your bike getting scratched than global infection.

Cycling solo is well within what is allowed and I live on the GC. I didn’t set foot on the sand but I could see the amount of people and distance between them. Actually I have had a broken elbow & collarbone from car door being opened on me before. The hospitals are going to be under enough pressure so the fewer accidents the better.
Anyway, I cycled there again today and yellow lines have been painted all along the street so people won’t be able to park in carpark or street. Which is going to put pressure on surrounding beaches. Fewer beaches per person to go around now. Doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe some ID checks to stop out of towners crowding in at the weekends.

I feel that maybe beaches should all be closed on weekends only to stop people from all over coming to crowd the beaches and then have them open on week days as most people still have to work the impact would be very small as most coasters comply with distancing rules

I live a few meters from beach and yes there are a few crowded places here and there but mainly people maintain distances. What happen to on the spot fines? Have we even issued any here on the beaches? Maybe that will work let try it…

I emailed the Mayor’s office last week concerning the potential closure of beaches as I could see this coming. I suggested leaving the beaches open early in the morning, say to perhaps 8or 9am, as this is when people are genuinely exercising, surfing, swimming, walking their dogs or improving their mental health in these difficult times. This would have been a better alternative to a blanket closure. 99% of people at The Spit on the weekend were abiding by the rules.

Yeah only problem – people will crowd in before 9am and after 4pm rather than spreading people out throughout the day.

This is the best idea. Open all beaches until 9:00am and then close them until 4:00pm. We’ll discourage visitors from coming but keep all beaches open for genuine exercise.
Make thoroughfares (for walking and cycling) a no-stopping zone (to prevent thoughtless stair runners from making life difficult for everyone else).

Amazing how quickly government bodies are happy to erode our civil liberties, imagine they wont be as quick to re-en-state them.

Tom thought we “were all in this together”, doesn’t seem so when there is someone else to blame, to try and score point with your local voters (who you encouraged to go out to vote during the height of numbers being infected). How about real action, GC is seeing higher rates of infection, close none or close them all.

Yes it is likely the out-of-towners breaking the rules, therefore the only solution is to issue fines- those breaking the rules clearly don’t care about beach closures as they will not suffer from them yet us locals (especially those of us living in small apartments with young children who need the healthy wide open space of the beach at this time- footpaths are not safe places for children to exercise!) certainly will suffer if further beach closures were to occur. Please PLEASE issue fines to actually deter the rule-breakers (there aren’t many of them & they’re are easy to spot!) rather than closing the vital open beach space that is infinitely important to us locals at this challenging time.

Yes, heaps of people sun baking at Greenmount and Kirra today and some are in groups more than two.

Well done Tommy Tate – yet another example of how out of touch you are with the people you represent. Just because you don’t use the beach you are happy to restrict others from it. The out of towers are the problem (your words) so he chooses to punish the locals instead.
Congrats on everyone who voted for him – 3 more years of this mentality to suffer.

Unfortunately majority of Gold Coasters (maybe all the blow-ins from down south over the past 20 years – like the mayor) are now corrupt as well and only interested in seeing their property prices go up regardless of the damage being done that see’s the property price rises. Everyone knows Tate is corrupt they just either couldn’t prove it or the corruption watchdog has also been corrupted. Tate’s over-development (brown paper bag approvals) yes cause the property prices to go up but at what cost? Overcrowding, more stress, wait till the ugly tram goes through to Burleigh and beyond – that is going to forever ruin the nice look of getting to the beach, more parking time restrictions on way to Coolangatta – surfers will wear the brunt of that. They voted him in knowing he is corrupt and an idiot but that’s what they want so be it. Total corrupt j*** offs – and yes I’m talking about you that voted for him. And not much better those who voted Gail O’Neil who is favour of increasing rents, and thought surfers only surfed before 9am and after 6pm. What a dunce – and yes that is to you people who voted for her. When you get your parking ticket thank yourself for voting for these idiots.

I understood that the one could still go to the beach if it is strictly for exercise. What about the dog walking beaches? Can we still take our dogs for their beach walks? Thank you.

Kirra’s my backyard, if your not local stay in your own backyard (suburb). This is our backyard…We don’t need you spoiling this for us..

Oh! Finally you get what you want! Locals only! How about we tattoo or postcode next to our southern cross

“Your papers please!”

I rode my bike down on Saturday and car park was full groups of people going out surfing and snorkeling no one was distancing themselves

How local is local? Elanora? Robina? Mudgeeraba?

Born and bred local 48, walk on beach almost everyday, how can a government prevent a person from walking on a public beach if they are keeping the required social distance. Government doesn’t own the beach, people have a natural born right to walk on the beach. Respect the virus constraints on our lives, but this is over the top.

Now they will squeeze all the walkers onto the pathways where there is far less room to avoid each other. How is this legal? Public beach, not private, who is public – all of us! A small number of government officials should not be allowed to prevent anybody from being on beach, especially below high tide mark! This is an abuse of basic human rights, fine those not social distancing, will support that completely, but do not blanket punish innocent people and turn them into criminals for enjoying the earth they were born into, you have no right to do that.

David it sounds like you will be our next Mayor. Oh sorry what your saying is common sense. You can’t be the next Mayor as one of the prerequisites is to be void of all common sense.

there are a few people who are not practicing the social distancing rules, but by far most people do. Sad to hear Cooly will be closed, its one of the most sparse beaches at the moment…

is main beach closed?

What beach is this? the trees are not tropical. No buildings I recognize. No one dresses like that on the GC.
Every photo I have seen is cropped.
It didn’t happen folks.

I lived in Brissy for a while and the brissy people think the Gold Coast is theirs.
It’s not.
It’s a separate city. It’s not Brisbane. Let them swim in Morton Bay, their smelly river drain or wherever.
How dare they. How dare they!
Let’s just close the boundary between the cities. Like at the NSW/Qld border. Put up a barricade, with poice with guns and tasers.
We don’t like you. No one does. No one. Just stay in your dopey stupid river town you rave so much about all the tme, but never want to stay in.
Just stay at home, you and your stupid big dogs, loud utes with australian flags and spoilt overweight kids wearing stupid broncos shirts. Again, no one likes you. Just stay at home and let us visit out beaches, which are not yours. You Bas in the reflective glory of a city you are not worthy to even looking at on a map. The beurocrats are closing our beaches because of you. Like the backpackets at Bondi, you are uninvited interlopers. Stay at home. Thank you.

I consider his is an ill-considered and very lazy decision Mr Tate! Do not penalise those adhering to the rules of social-distancing and walking &/or swimming alone or in pairs etc. Get your council-rangers on the job Mr Tate. You are paid to manage..not mismanage and “throw your hands up in the air” when things become too difficult, which is exactly what you have done here!
I am retired single, female and pay ridiculously, heavy council rates to live on the Gold Coast (virtually double of what Sydney-siders in select suburbs pay!) …to enjoy beachfront living… and now will be unable to swim on “my” beach; the last haven of normality and enjoyment for myself and numerous others, as we are now isolated from friends during this pandemic. In my view your decision, made because you are unable or unprepared to adequately manage the issue. Yes, these are extraordinary and difficult times but you have just made life almost unbearable (both mentally and physically) for many on the Gold Coast, particularly single people, who live alone.
Anyone interested in a mass protest?

I totally agree with your views .U live near Chevron Island. I do park on the esplanade ..away from Surfers ..walk on the beach most days .I also am single and we p equally now that we are so isolated look forward to my beach walk .But now with these communist measures I cannot .My son loves surfing and normally drives to the spit and surfs at Stradbroke but can now no longer do This. Tom Tate has no idea …this is going to cause major mental issues .I am.most unhappy with this decision as therr has been no overcrowding at all .Take a look at Burleigh will be a nightmare this Easter weekend !

if they close OUR beaches then surely we don’t have to pay OUR rates…..#fuckyouTateyoupuppet

It was alright for us to go out and stand around in queues to vote you in.
Close the M1 to all non essential travel. Don’t punish the people who voted you in Tom. All Gold Coasters have a right to the beach.

Hopefully this will now make people invest more in Australia ?? instead of bringing in the problems of the rest of the world.

We should have listened to you Pauline

Ban all parking near beach areas. That will discourage intruders but give locals access.

Went for a surf at currumbin today and found NSW cars with their permits to come into QLD for work, but was infact surfing.

Is there a map of beach closures?
Can we walk on the sidewalk?

Wondering what backpackers doing seen all business been closed?

I really don’t have a problem following rules but my problem is when beaches are being shut down and beauty saloons are being shut down, why are brothels allowed to operate. Obviously Tate considers this an essential service. Would love to see the contactless services provided by brothels. Be fair and uniform with restrictions is all I’m asking for.

You can’t help dumb, people who still think going to the beach claiming it to be an essential are ignorant. Brisbane people still flocking to the Gold Coast from down the M1, ignorant, people flaunting they have liberties to do what they want, ignorant. Lock them up and throw away the key, they aren’t worth a pinch of salt, selfish deviance and so wrapped up in themselves and what they want, failure to see a larger than themselves situation is what causes us all to loose. STAY HOME YOU MORONS !!!!

I live at Surfers & yes there are some groups of tourists congregating and setting up on the beach for the day. But all of the locals are doing the right thing. How about Instead of the huge step of closing beaches & punishing the responsible people for the actions of a few, fining the rule breakers and close car parking then automatically problem solved. And locals can still stay healthy and sane?

That’s a very LONG high power zoom lense using trick photographic techniques the make people look apparently closer together. Try it yourself. As a photographer I know this technique. I know that people are giving the 1.5 m distance at all times on the beaches and doing the right thing. Don’t let minority spoil it for the majority 99%. Have a public officer physically talking to the groups and moving them on who are loitering. Have a sign at the entrance of each beach so there are no excuses of ignorance. Easy.

Yes – I believe as well that this is the key – patrolling and warning, instead of a full closure through a blanket punish.
Moreover, it would be a great job opportunity for many casual workers, who just lost their job. They could watch for groups, who are not keeping social distance (on the beach I would require 5 meter distance at least to make sure they use the space) and talking to them and moving them on or help the police to show these group of people after an unsuccessful warning. While the rest of the people could enjoy nature.

I would even accept the rule that the beach would be restricted to a certain number of people and one should not stay longer than an hour.
Even a mobile app could be developed quickly to allow people to book a slot for a section of the beach. The system can easily calculate if the number of beach users are within the limit or it could ban access or suggest another section of the beach.

I assume that life savers are also worrying about the crowd, because they don’t want to be exposed to corona-virus during a CPR. This would be very valid, because that could lead extra amount of virus to be spread to the life saver and it could cause severe infection even for a young and healthy person. More and more experience implies overseas that the severity of COVID-19 illness correlates with the quantity of virus received during getting infected.
If the safety of life savers is part of the reason why beaches are about to be closed, then the maximum number of swimmers/surfers per tower should be suggested by the life savers and enforced by the above-mentioned casual public officers.

All in all – council serves the public the best if tries to solve both issues at once with a quality and more differentiated way. People on the Gold Coast, even at neighbouring suburbs, need their access to their precious beaches and it helps to mitigate mental health issues as well. Families need to be allowed to have their kids run and play in the salty, fresh air.

It is also necessary to mention that all the efforts made by closing beaches or forest tracks are ruined immediately, when people visit shops and chemistry, where only a minority wear masks or at least scarfs.
Since everybody goes to these places regularly, without masks (or scarfs at least) the virus can spread without any problem – and this ruins all the efforts and sacrificing on other areas!
If council wants to focus on the most important source of infection in current situation, then masks/scarfs should be required in retail stores both by staff and by customers.

I live in Southport,can I go to Main beach to surf?

What about a mobile app, which could help to book a slot for a segment of the beach for an hour?
The mobile app could limit the people and to suggest a new part of the beach with less user, if possible.

Also, council could hire casual workers to patrol the beach sections and warn those who don’t keep social distance.
This would be a great earning opportunity for many people, who lost their job just these weeks.

If you’ve been surfing down Coast but are from Brisbane. Can you still surf? Mainly southern end. Burleigh heads etc..?