Port Phillip Council is closing all its beaches and the St Kilda Botanical Gardens from 6 pm tonight until further notice.
Mayor Bernadene Voss said this difficult decision was taken following large numbers of people gathering at both locations today, with many flouting social distancing rules.
While people will still be able to access the beaches as a thoroughfare, such as for a run or walking a dog, the closure is aimed at beaches not being used as a gathering place during the COVID-19 crisis. Swimming is allowed at this stage, as long as social distancing and mass gathering rules are obeyed. Boat launches at St Kilda Marina are unaffected.
Although the botanical gardens are closed, all other parks, including the Catani Gardens, remain open but will be closely monitored.
The Council 's two skate parks and exercise stations at parks were also closed today.
"This has not been an easy decision as we know how important getting a break outside is, especially for those at home during the pandemic," Cr Voss said.
"This is why we are keeping our other parks open, but we will consider closing them if people continue to disobey social distancing rules and gather in large numbers. Lives are at stake here and everyone needs to play their part in keeping themselves - and others, safe during this crisis."
Cr Voss said she was disappointed to see so many people ignoring the 1.5 metre rule at St Kilda Beach today. More people were expected on the weekend with warm weather forecast.
"We feel for those who have been doing the right thing, but protecting our community is paramount."
Council locals laws officers will support Victoria Police as its members enforce the government restrictions.
Find out more information about Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.