Tourist hubs along the Great Ocean Road, have already suffered a plunge in visitor numbers following the federal government’s ban on overseas visitors to Australia.
Beach towns along the world-famous holiday trail are trying to stop visitors heading there for the usually busy Easter holiday period, to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The move follows outrage over the huge numbers of people flocking to Bondi beach in Sydney recently, which prompted authorities to fence off the beach.
Great Ocean Road Real Estate has emailed all holiday-home owners on its books this week advising it would block any new bookings until the end of April.
“We are hoping that people are listening to what the government is saying. There should be no unnecessary travel, people shouldn’t come to Lorne for a holiday, there will be no flags up and no patrol”
The business manages about 700 holiday homes along the surf coast, including in Lorne, Torquay and Apollo Bay. Existing bookings would be honoured, but many of these had already been cancelled.
The surf club in Lorne for instance, has stopped beach patrols, while the region’s biggest real estate rental agency is blocking all new bookings of holiday houses until the end of April.
“We are hoping that people are listening to what the government is saying. There should be no unnecessary travel, people shouldn’t come to Lorne for a holiday, there will be no flags up and no patrol,” said the captain of one of the surf clubs in the area. “The beaches are not shut, the word is we are just trying to do self-isolating and social distancing and there should not be any need to go to the beach.”