Areas of national park have become some of the latest public spaces to be closed as all levels of government impose stricter travel and social distancing laws in an attempt to limit the transmission of COVID-19.
The closures on Thursday of all campgrounds, visitor centres, historic sites and areas with expected high visitation rates came on the same day the first fines were handed out by NSW Police in Sydney after changes to the Public Health Act.
The ACT chief minister told Canberrans to stay in Canberra. He did so for a reason. Because it's about health capacity, particularly here on the coast.Bega MP Andrew Constance
Concerned Bega MP Andrew Constance took to social media on Thursday, telling interstate visitors to the Far South Coast, particularly those from the ACT, to return home during the pandemic to ensure the region has the resources to deal with a predicted surge in COVID-19 cases.
"We are going to face what we're seeing overseas, particularly in the Northern hemisphere very shortly. And as a result, lives are going to be lost," he said.
"We've seen some very clear messaging around those who think this is a time to be on holidays. Go home.
"The ACT chief minister told Canberrans to stay in Canberra. he did so for a reason. Because it's about health capacity, particularly here on the coast."
After an intense campaign to draw tourists to the region following the devastation of the recent bushfire emergency, Mr Constance said his electorate does not have enough hospital intensive care units to cope with an increased population.
"Closing the highways is not on the table at the moment, but people should not be travelling," he said.
A NSW Environment, Energy and Science spokesperson said the campground closures are a "response to tighter national and state health directives on social distancing and non-essential travel", while parks already closed due to the recent bushfire emergency will remain shut.
All roads and walking tracks and trails will remain open, with the National Parks and Wildlife Service advising users to "observe necessary social distancing with others while using pathways and other facilities to maximise their safety".
"National parks and reserves are special environmental, cultural and recreational places for the people of NSW and they will remain open to the community, but the health and safety of our visitors, staff and the wider community is our priority and these measures are important," the spokesperson said.
"We know how important our national parks and reserves are as areas for conservation and recreation and we are committed to reopen these areas as soon as possible in line with government and health advice.
"NPWS staff will continue to undertake environmental protection and maintenance work in our parks and reserves, subject to all government and health advice, including in areas where important bushfire recovery action is underway.
"Other NPWS staff will work remotely to continue delivering conservation, research, visitor information and education services," they said.
Parks Victoria has also closed its major historic sites in parks and reserves, and will close visitor centres late on Friday due to "further restrictions on domestic and international travel".