UPDATED

Update | Surfers paddle from rocks and boats to get around closure of Cronulla beaches

Update Friday

Surfers are getting around the beach closures at Cronulla by paddling out from rocks or jumping off boats.

Council lifeguards can only patrol access to the water from the beach, and can't touch the surfers at Cronulla Point and Shark island.

NSW Maritime and police Marine Command have control of those waters, so action could still be taken.

Sutherland Shire Council's comments on Facebook.

Sutherland Shire Council's comments on Facebook.

Surfers risk a $1000 fine if those authorities view their actions as a breach of the regulations.

Surfing NSW has made it clear surfers should "stay at home" .

Update Thursday

Council crews have moved quickly to close Cronulla ocean beaches and car parks.

The car park at Cronulla beach was closed by 6pm on Wednesday night, with concrete blocks and barricades installed at other locations on Thursday morning.

Update Wednesday

Cronulla ocean beaches, parks and car parks will be closed over the Easter long weekend.

The Esplanade will remain open except for the section between Cronulla and North Cronulla.

Gunnamatta Park and baths will remain open.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Sutherland Shire mayor Carmelo Pesce said the council had received "a strong recommendation" from NSW Police, NSW Health, NSW Fire & Rescue to keep Bate Bay beaches and car parks closed over the Easter long weekend.

Beaches and car parks that will be closed. Picture: supplied

Beaches and car parks that will be closed. Picture: supplied

Cr Pesce said the council would "abide by this recommendation from the expert agencies".

"The step is to ensure the public safety of the local community and ensure that the mass gathering and social distancing laws are complied with over the four day holiday period," he said.

"Overall, our local community have shown a commendable level of compliance with federal and state government health and social distancing measures in recent weeks, but following very the strong advice from NSW Police and NSW Health, and other authorities we will now be taking additional measures to deter crowds over the holiday break."

Cr Pesce said, from midnight on Thursday, 9 April until midnight on Monday, Greenhills beach, Wanda beach, Elouera beach, North Cronulla beach, Cronulla beach, Shelley Park beach and Oak Park beach would be closed.

Cr Pesce said the council would also begin to barricade car parks at the following locations from 7am on Thursday, allowing adequate time for clearance of the cars parked prior to the midnight closure:

  • Don Lucas Reserve.
  • Mitchell Rd/Murdoch St, Wanda.
  • Wanda Surf Lifesaving Club.
  • Prince Street and North Cronulla SLSC
  • Gerrale Street, Cronulla
  • Hungry Point

"Roadside signage has also been rolled out across various suburbs to inform the general public of the beach and car park closures over Easter," he said.

"Fencing will also be installed to restrict pedestrian access to the Esplanade between Cronulla beach and North Cronulla beach.

"We're so grateful our community have continued to do the right thing, we know how much beaches mean to our residents and they're a part of the fabric of our community, but in this instance we're acting on the very strong recommendation and request of authorities in order to keep our community as safe as possible.

"As we have already observed across the Sutherland Shire in recent weeks, I would urge all those who are outdoors over the Easter break to continue to do the right thing, observe social distancing restrictions and abide by any instruction from NSW Police or our council staff respectfully and courteously.

"It brings us no joy to have to impose these extraordinary measures, but it's important to remember they are there for a reason - to keep you, your family, friends and the wider community safe as we continue to deal with the unprecedented and deadly threat of coronavirus."

Cr Pesce said on-street parking would not be affected.

"Other open space areas including parks, reserves and other off-leash dog areas outside of Bate Bay will remain open across our suburbs," he said.

The statement said information on access to the Boat Harbour 4WD Park should be obtained by calling the private operator on 9668 9313

Earlier

Cronulla beaches and car parks will be closed following strong advice to the council from state government authorities.

It is understood the Esplanade will remain open.

An official statement from Sutherland Shire Council is expected this afternoon.

The council has begun advising of the closures on trailer-mounted message boards on major roads, which indicate the closures will just be for the long weekend.

It is understood the decision followed a meeting of the council's Local Emergency Management Committee, which includes senior police, Fire and Rescue NSW and health officials.

The council had been determined to try and keep the beaches open, believing they provide an important place for people to exercise during the coronavirus pandemic.

If necessary, the council was prepared to close car parks to stop crowding and breaches of social distancing regulations.

Mayor Carmelo Pesce said a fortnight ago people would "go stir crazy" if the beaches were not available for a swim, run or walk.

On Monday this week, Cr Pesce said, "the beaches are not the problem".

"On Sunday, there were 300 to 500 people along our beaches," he said.

"The problem is the number of people in the areas around them.

"On Sunday afternoon, we closed the car park at Don Lucas Reserve at Wanda when it became too packed.

"We will do that again this week with any of the car parks if necessary."

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