Hervey Bay lifeguard Liam Farrelly keeps an eye on bathers at Torquay Beach. Photo: Cody Fox
Hervey Bay lifeguard Liam Farrelly keeps an eye on bathers at Torquay Beach. Photo: Cody Fox

Why Bay beaches are staying open despite virus risk

BEACHES on the Fraser Coast remain open despite ongoing efforts to clamp down on the spread of COVID-19.

Mayor George Seymour said local beaches were not experiencing the same issues as those in more heavily populated areas in Queensland and other parts of Australia.

"We are not seeing the same issues locally that are being seen on the heavily populated beaches on the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and interstate," Mr Seymour said.

"All levels of government are continuing to monitor public spaces, and at this stage, we do not believe there is any need to close beaches on the Fraser Coast."

The comment came after some Gold Coast beaches were declared off-limits due to thousands of people defying strict social distancing rules at the weekend.

The stretch of beach along the Hervey Bay Esplanade painted a contrasting picture on Monday.

With schools having closed on Friday for the Easter break, the beaches, parks and children's play areas would normally be hives of activity.

Instead, a few people could be seen swimming at Torquay while others walked in the shallows during low tide.

Parents and children riding their bicycles and other residents walking their dogs were generally well-spaced on the promenade.

Cr Seymour encouraged people visiting Fraser Coast beaches to abide by Australian and Queensland Government directions that aim to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"This includes staying home as much as possible, limiting outdoor gatherings to two people and maintaining a social distance of 1.5m between each other," he said.

Lifeguards remain on Hervey Bay beaches, performing surveillance duties.

Surf Life Saving Queensland services co-ordinator for Wide Bay Julie Davis said they were reminding people to follow the instructions of the relevant authorities.

"Even though we are discouraging people from going to the beach, we are still putting our rescue equipment out and monitoring beaches," Ms Davis said.

Meanwhile, Aquavue owner Larry Burch said his cafe and watersports business had been hit hard by the restrictions.

"We have probably lost 90 to 95 per cent of our business," Mr Burch said.

Mr Burch said he had inquired with the authorities whether they could continue hiring single-person kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.

"We haven't received a definitive yes or no answer," he said.

Mr Burch said Aquavue would probably begin hiring out some equipment for exercise purposes again soon.

"Should we do so, we would follow a strict program when it comes to collecting and returning equipment and also making sure it is kept clean," he said.