By ALLISON HORE
Riot Squad police were called in to help break up a huge crowd of party goers on Bronte Beach on Christmas Day.
Video posted to Instagram and Facebook showed a huge crowd of people wearing santa hats, drinking and dancing together by Bronte Beach on Christmas day. Some revellers sat on others’ shoulders, in a clear breach of social distancing guidelines.
While the public health guidelines were loosened over the Christmas period to allow families to celebrate together restrictions remained in place. Indoor gatherings were limited to 10 people, not including primary school aged children.
For outdoor areas, gatherings of up to 100 people were allowed. However, the crowd of Christmas day revellers at Bronte Beach is estimated to have been between 200 and 300 people, many of whom are believed to be British and Irish nationals.
Police broke up the crowd of Christmas revellers at around 5pm. One 25 year-old man will face court for failing to comply with a move on order. But as the rest of the crowd dispersed when directed no other fines will be issued, NSW police have stated.
Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, slammed the party goers saying their actions put the whole community at risk. He said he hopes the event will not become a “super-spreader” event but there is every chance that it could.
“It is absolutely appalling to see what was clearly a group of people, a large gathering of people who didn’t give a damn about the rest of Sydney,” he said.
“Obviously in the earlier stages of the pandemic we had some challenges with backpackers who clearly wanted to party in the eastern suburbs. It cannot go on.”
In March, 33 backpackers tested positive for COVID-19 after two parties in the Eastern suburbs. The first at the Bondi Hardware restaurant and the other was at The Bucket List at the Bondi Pavilion.
Waverley Mayor, Paula Masselos, echoed the Health Minister’s concerns about the gathering at Bronte. She said she was “appalled” by what happened and that the event “threatens to undo the good work of Council and the entire community”.
“We are appalled by the behaviour that was displayed yesterday by a group of people visiting Bronte Beach,” she said.
“Many families are unable to be together this time of year because of restrictions on movement and border closures, so we must continue to be considerate and do the right thing.”
She urged the public not to visit public places if they did not wish to comply with the current health orders and to get tested if they are feeling unwell.
“Please do not visit our public places if you refuse to observe Public Health Orders and current health advice- you pose too great a health risk.”
“If you are feeling unwell, please, stay at home and get tested and remain at home until you receive a negative result.”