AS the Gladys Berejiklian Coalition eased outdoor leisure restrictions and okayed short range travel for visitation to family and friends some of Port Stephens beaches were swarmed over the weekend.
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The car parks and access trails along One Mile and Samurai Beach were overflowing with traffic as a solid swell and prevailing winds had every human and his dog chase the portal.
In the water hundreds of surfers filled the line-up with a vast majority being out of town day travellers who saw the easing of public health measures the perfect opportunity for a wave away from home.
Local tube-pig Ryan Parker said that the crowds surpassed even the summer holiday peak that the Port Stephens area is accustomed too.
“I’ve never seen it this busy,” he said.
“We’re used to seeing this sort of crowd over Christmas but to see it in May is pretty crazy.
“Everyones pretty chilled about it but it’s definitely a shock to the system after being so quiet the last few months.”
While the easing of restrictions is welcomed to help the local economy recover, Port Stephens MP Kate Washington wants to ensure it’s not at the cost of the communities gains in the fight against COVID.
“If you are visiting others, do so carefully, sensibly and for a good reason,” said Mrs Washington.
“Many people have done it tough to achieve our good outcome so far, it would be tragic to see the virus get a hold in our community because we relaxed too early.”
As further restrictions ease in coming months it’s hoped that regional areas can recover at a gradual and safe rate.
“It’s no time for complacency, everyone must continue to be cautious and sensible,” said Mrs Washington.
By Mitch LEES