By ALLISON HORE
Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, is urging Bondi locals to remember it’s “not a normal summer” after footage emerged online showing a large gathering at a park by the beach in North Bondi.
The videos posted to social media show a large crowd of people dancing at Biddigal Reserve on Sunday evening. The event is currently being investigated by NSW Police for potentially breaching COVID-19 restrictions as current public health orders limit outdoor social gatherings to 30 people.
Mayor Masselos said she was “disappointed” to see that crowds have been gathering at the reserve as council resources have been stretched thin keeping the beach COVID-19 safe.
“Resources are being stretched to the limit to encourage safe use of our public places and we all need to focus on how we can limit the spread of COVID-19,” she said.
The gathering in question was related to a performance by the Bondi Sunset Music group, an informal drumming group which gathers in North Bondi each week with the aim of “re-connecting people through dance and live music”.
The group doesn’t invite crowds to watch them play, however, warm weather over the weekend meant more people than usual were at the beach and attracted to the music. Bondi Sunset Music said when they noticed a crowd building up in the area they “stopped playing entirely” so people would disperse.
“What started as a casual weekly catch up jam, and still remains this way, has certainly attracted more attention than we expected,” the group said on Facebook.
“The truth is that we all deeply love music and making people feel good bringing joy and happiness into the community.”
The group said they would work closely with council rangers and local police to ensure all public health regulations are complied with so they can continue to “bring colour and joy” to Bondi beach in a COVID-safe way.
Mayor Masselos said the public needs to “be mindful” any activity which may attract attention could draw a crowd and put others at risk.
“We all want to enjoy the summer holidays safely and people must be mindful that something as simple as playing live music in a park like Biddigal Reserve, North Bondi, has the potential to attract crowds, and this poses the risk that restrictions on outdoor gatherings may be breached,” she said.
This isn’t the first time a large gathering in Waverley has come under fire for breaching public health orders. Riot squad police were called to break up a party at Bronte Beach on Christmas Day after a huge crowd of people were spotted wearing Santa hats, drinking and dancing together.
Also in North Bondi, more than $11,000 in fines were handed out to revellers who attended a house party on Boxing Day. When police officers arrived at the residence at just before 11pm following a noise complaint, at least 40 people were found to be gathered. Public health orders over the Christmas period only allowed for up to 10 adult guests in a residence.