West Sydney mayor DEFENDS thousands of privileged residents who gathered on beach but furious that his residents can’t even go to their local park without being fined and Gladys Berejiklian won’t take his calls
- Canterbury-Bankstown mayor defended beachgoers who flocked to the surf
- “I don’t begrudge people going to the beach if they live within 3 miles,” the mayor said.
- Khal Asfour said rules should be the same for everyone; hit out on ‘double standards’
- But it is noticeable that its residents cannot visit the park without ‘cavalry’ being called in
A western Sydney mayor has defended the thousands of beachgoers who flocked to the surf this weekend, but slammed the ‘double standard’ of his own residents being fined heavily for gathering in their local park.
Incarcerated Sydneysiders living within 3 miles of their local beach were in no mood to stay at home as temperatures soared to 30°C.
However, Canterbury-Bankstown residents still live under a strict 9pm-5pm curfew with a two-hour limit on how long they can exercise each day.
LGA mayor Khal Asfour – who claims NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian has still refused to meet with him to discuss his concerns – said the rules should be the same for everyone.
Sunbathers gathered on Bondi Beach on Sunday to enjoy the warm weather, sparking outrage among Covid-fearing residents
“I don’t begrudge people going to the beach if they live within 3 miles,” he told the police. Today show.
“The chief health officer even said yesterday that we are safe outside and that the virus is not running loose on the beaches.”
But he said those living in one of the 12 LGAs where the virus is spreading fastest can’t even visit their local park without the “cavalry being brought in.”
“It’s the double standard—the hypocrisy,” said Mr. Asfour.
“We can’t go to our beautiful parks, the recreation areas on the Cooks River or the Georges River.
“I think that’s what really makes people angry. We still have these toughest measures on us. We have the curfew that even the deputy prime minister thinks doesn’t work.’
He said he hadn’t heard from the state leader since a Zoom meeting he held with local community leaders.
“I haven’t heard from her, not a word, not a phone call. And it’s really discouraging when we’re here on the ground going through this,” he said.
Pictured: An empty street in Merrylands in Sydney’s west. Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour reacted to the ‘double standard’ of his own residents being fined heavily for gathering in their local park while those in the eastern suburbs can go to the beaches in force
Mr Asfour said those living in one of the 12 LGAs where the virus is spreading fastest cannot even visit their local park without the ‘cavalry’ brought in.
The weekend’s unusually warm weather meant the beaches from Manly in the north to Cronulla in the south were packed with crowds of sunbathers.
Many followed Covid protocols by visiting just one friend and wearing a mask, but police reminded others to follow public health regulations – as the number of new coronavirus cases reached 1,262.
But the images infuriated people trapped in the 12 hotspot municipalities that are under stricter lockdown.
They are subject to a 9pm to 5am curfew and have no opportunity to laze on the sand for hours on end under the ‘recreation’ allowances – let alone the fact that a beach is much further away than the 5km allowed.
Police patrolled Sydney’s beaches on Sunday morning to ensure no one gathered in groups of more than two. Pictured: Bondi Beach
Sober images of the west showed streets that would have been empty had the police not been there to ensure that people do not leave their homes for non-essential reasons.
Images of residents of the eastern suburbs enjoying the warm weather angered people in the city’s southwest, but health official Kerry Chant urged people to remain calm.
“I think we need to temper…” she began at Sunday’s Covid press conference when asked how busy the beaches were before she changed course.
“I realize that many people who live in South West Sydney and Western Sydney don’t have access to it because of the restrictions.
Police roamed the coast reminding people to wear face masks and making sure no one was outside the 5km limit
“However, we need to understand… that in outdoor environments, when people keep their distance from each other, these are probably the safest environments.”
She encouraged beachgoers not to gather in large groups to avoid ‘spotfire’ outbreaks of the coronavirus.
“What we want to do is put out as many fires as we have and I don’t want to put additional strain on our public health resources when responding to outbreaks in those areas,” said Dr Chant.