An Altona mother of two young children has protested being moved on by police from Altona Beach last Thursday.
Elisha Rendall was with Evie, age five, and Jack, age three, playing on the sand and paddling with her children.
Ms Rendall said this constituted exercise and was not breaching the chief health officer’s directions.
“We went down about 2.30 [Thursday]; we were down Mount Street end,” she said.
“Maybe between the pier and that area there might have been 30 families in nearly a kilometre stretch and there were two groups of four police officers asking people to leave because the beach is closed.
“I had my two young kids 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 congregating but you can go to the park.
“I just basically said, well, why would I go to the park where there’s germs when I can be here at the beach?
“He said, you’re not exercising.
“I said, my children are exercising and they’ve got a right to exercise for two hours, as do I, and I’m supervising – they’re 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 health officer’s regulations.
“We acknowledge and appreciate the attraction of the beaches of Hobsons Bay but people still need to act in accordance with the regulations,” he said.
“Exercise is exercise – not sitting or standing around having a conversation with friends.
“[A] maximum of two hours is allowed for exercise and you must be within five kilometres of your home.
“This pandemic will take everyone being on the same page so that we can all have our freedoms returned in time.
“Police will be enforcing the chief health officer’s regulations.
“Everyone needs to do the right thing.”
The Department 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