Weather/packed beaches
Weather/packed beaches

Visitors break in to pool, lax COVID attitude hammered

Thousands have flocked to a closed children's pool at Geelong's Eastern Beach despite stern warnings about social distancing.

Photos taken over the weekend at the popular site showed crowds gathered at the council-run children's pool near the foreshore, which was closed for maintenance.

Witnesses aired concerns about a lack of social distancing and others not wearing masks.

It came as Melburnians flocked to the regions to enjoy their first weekend of freedom after the ring of steel was lifted.

Packed Bellarine beaches as Melburnians flock back to the coast crowds at Eastern beach Picture: Mark Wilson
Packed Bellarine beaches as Melburnians flock back to the coast crowds at Eastern beach Picture: Mark Wilson

Greater Geelong acting economy, investment and attractions director Tim Ellis said the city had "multiple and prominent signs" advertising the children's pool was closed.

"City staff discovered that the locks to the pool gate had been broken and some 'closed' signage removed," he said.

"Staff moved people on from the pool and private security was put in place to monitor the facility.

 

 

The childrens pool officially closed for maintenance but was used anyway. Picture: Mark Wilson
The childrens pool officially closed for maintenance but was used anyway. Picture: Mark Wilson

 

The childrens pool officially closed for maintenance but was used anyway. Picture: Mark Wilson
The childrens pool officially closed for maintenance but was used anyway. Picture: Mark Wilson

 

 

It's understood the site has been closed for maintenance and repair in the lead up to the patrolled season in December, which will operate in line with COVID restrictions.

"It is obviously extremely disappointing to see people ignore that the pool is closed and also ignore COVID-19 restrictions, putting themselves and others at risk," he said.

"We urge people to adhere to the current COVID-19 restrictions and follow any informational signage installed at City facilities which is there to keep us all safe."

 

 

Packed Bellarine beaches as Melburnians flock back to the coast Eastern beach crowds Picture: Mark Wilson
Packed Bellarine beaches as Melburnians flock back to the coast Eastern beach crowds Picture: Mark Wilson

 

Packed Bellarine beaches as Melburnians flock back to the coast Torquay main beach traffic Picture: Mark Wilson
Packed Bellarine beaches as Melburnians flock back to the coast Torquay main beach traffic Picture: Mark Wilson

 

 

But the surge of visitors also had a positive impact on businesses across the region.

Tourism Greater Geelong Bellarine executive director Brett Ince said anecdotal evidence and early numbers indicated Geelong and its surrounding coastal towns had experienced a "very positive" weekend despite the overcast weather.

"As we understand it, lots of accommodation has been booked up and a lot of Melburnians have been travelling to their holiday homes in the region," he said.

 

 

Torquay main beach crowds. Picture: Mark Wilson
Torquay main beach crowds. Picture: Mark Wilson

 

Torquay surf beach crowds. Picture: Mark Wilson
Torquay surf beach crowds. Picture: Mark Wilson

 

 

Mr Ince also paid credit to the city's metropolitan visitors, who he said he'd observed largely following social distancing rules and wearing masks.

"I was in central Geelong yesterday and saw a lot of people doing the right thing and being respectful," he said.

Similar crowds flocked to businesses along the Great Ocean Road, many of which are heavily reliant on visiting Melbourne clientele.

Kiaras Kyle, 9, with Patch the border collie. Picture: Mark Wilson
Kiaras Kyle, 9, with Patch the border collie. Picture: Mark Wilson

Cape Otway Lightstation manager Trish Goodlet estimated 300 people visited the historic site yesterday.

"Visitor numbers have been really strong this weekend," she said.

"It's been so wonderful to welcome everyone back."

 

 

MORE NEWS

BELLARINE MUM MOURNED AFTER SUDDEN DEATH

REGION'S NEWEST FINE DINING RESTAURANT

FISHERMAN RESCUED AMID WILD WEATHER

 

Eased restrictions meant the lightstation's iconic buildings could reopen for tours in time for the influx of visitors.

"We'd reduced entry because we could only have the grounds open," she said.

"The vibrancy and wonderful people has been a real boost to staff morale after a difficult year and it's been so wonderful to welcome everyone back."

Originally published as Visitors break in to pool, lax COVID attitude hammered

Yolanda, 9, surfing. Picture: Mark Wilson
Yolanda, 9, surfing. Picture: Mark Wilson


Foul-mouthed tirade lands man in court

Premium Content Foul-mouthed tirade lands man in court

Christopher Michael Currie was found on Goondoon St, mouthing off at someone...

How does Gladstone’s 2020 rainfall compare?

Premium Content How does Gladstone’s 2020 rainfall compare?

The predicted La Nina climate pattern could bring higher volumes of above average...

Gladstone Council records $2.7m operating deficit

Premium Content Gladstone Council records $2.7m operating deficit

The result was a stark contrast to the previous financial year which yielded a...