A mother of two young children in Altona has protested against being moved on by police from Altona Beach last Thursday.
Elisha Rendall was with five-year-old Evie and three-year-old Jack playing on the sand and paddling with her children.
Mrs Rendall said this constituted an exercise and did not infringe on the head of the health officer.
“We went down around 2.30 [Thursday]; we were down the Mount Street end, ”she said.
“Perhaps between the pier and that area, there could have been 30 families on a stretch of almost a kilometer, and there were two groups of four policemen who asked people to leave because the beach is closed.
“I had my two young children with me and I questioned why, because the beaches are open, and they basically suggested that no, the beaches are closed.
“They said … everyone has to leave the beach, we’re trying to discourage people from gathering, but you can go to the park.
“I just basically said, yeah, why should I go to the park where there are bacteria when I can be here on the beach?
“He said you are not training.
“I said, my children train and they have the right to exercise for two hours, just like me and I monitor – they are three and five.
“Creative play is exercise for children.
“Exercise for a child is play.”
Hobsons Bay police inspector Tim O’Connor said police would enforce the chief of the health officer.
“We recognize and appreciate the attraction of the beaches in Hobsons Bay, but people still have to act in accordance with the rules,” he said.
Exercise is exercise – not sitting or standing and having a conversation with friends.
“[A] a maximum of two hours is allowed for training and you must be within five kilometers of your home.
“This pandemic will take everyone to be on the same page so we can all have our freedoms returned in time.
‘The police will enforce the chief’s health function regulations.
“Everyone has to do the right thing.”
The Ministry of Health said it was a matter for Victoria Police.
Information on restrictions can be found at: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/sport-and-exercise