RARE SCENE: An empty main beach at Byron Bay on Sunday as people take social -distancing rules seriously.
RARE SCENE: An empty main beach at Byron Bay on Sunday as people take social -distancing rules seriously.

Can you still go to the beach during a pandemic?

WITH new restrictions on what we can and can't do changing daily, the advice on whether we can still go for a surf or a swim at the beach seems to be a bit of a blurred line.

From Tuesday, people who leave their home without a valid reason - for work or study, buying food or other essentials, seeking medical care or exercise - can be issued an on the spot fine of up to $11,000 and a maximum six months in jail.

But Richmond Police District Inspector David Vandergriend said under the current government directive going to the beach was fine if people maintained social distancing.

"It's one of the exceptions as part of exercising," Insp Vandergriend said.

"They just need to be mindful because it's not a social occasion where they're going to be forming up in groups of people.

"They've got to maintain that minimal social distance when they're doing this as well

"All the health measures still need to be undertaken.

"If we all do it together, we'll have a better chance of reducing the spread."

But people were being warned to stick to the two-person rule when out in public and needed to listen to police if they've been told to leave a public place, like the beach.

Minister Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said police are in the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 and deserve respect.

"I've had a gutful of people abusing, harassing and assaulting our hardworking police officers who put their own safety on the line every day to protect the very people who attack them," Mr Elliott said.

"If you choose to ignore a direction from police - one that is in place to save lives - then you can expect to be issued with a hefty fine or jail time."

NSW Police Force Commissioner Mick Fuller said police will continue to do their best to keep the community safe.

"Our officers are committed to community safety and will continue to enforce all ministerial directions aimed to stop the spread of COVID-19," Mr Fuller said.

"If you choose not to comply with directions put in place to protect the community against this virus, you can expect to face the full force of the law."


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