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‘Safety at risk’: Big long-weekend crowds force closure of Rye pier

“We’ve seen larger numbers down here in quite a few different areas across the weekend,” he said.

“Broadly that’s been OK because there hasn’t been too many people in one area.”

Cr Hearn said he expected the pier to reopen within days but no date has yet been set.

The council wants to welcome visitors back to the Mornington Peninsula, whose economy relies heavily on tourism.

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But Cr Hearn said authorities would continue monitoring crowds to ensure there were appropriate physical distancing measures in place.

“It’s great to be getting back to normal.

“We really need that, especially in an economic sense, but we’ll be monitoring and responding on a case-by-case basis to any public areas where people are interacting or presenting in a way that puts their own and others’ safety at risk.”

The pier is managed by Parks Victoria, which has not responded to The Age request for comment.

But an update on the Parks Victoria website said Rye Pier was closed in response to advice from the Chief Health Officer.

“Despite interventions by Parks Victoria and Victoria Police to manage physical distancing, a high number of visitors to the pier has necessitated the need to close,” it said.

Mornington Peninsula mayor Sam Hearn.

Mornington Peninsula mayor Sam Hearn.Credit:Eddie Jim

Parks Victoria has reopened Wilsons Promontory but once the park has reached capacity, entry will be halted to manage visitor numbers. However, the Wilsons Promontory Lightstation is closed until further notice.

The 1000 Steps walk in the Dandenongs opened earlier this month but was closed on June 5 due to physical distancing concerns. It is due to reopen on June 22.

Parks Victoria said visitation “continued to be unprecedented”, prompting the decision to close the site.

Access to the 12 Apostles visitor centre and viewing area is closed while Buchan Caves Reserve, Lower Glenelg National Park, St Kilda Pier penguin viewing platform and Fort Nepean are also shut to visitors.

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