City of Newcastle has closed all its beaches, ocean baths and playgrounds to help limit the spread of coronavirus.
Red flags went up at the city's beaches on Monday morning, and the council said lifeguards would notify police if people refused to leave the sand.
The red flags mean swimming is banned.
Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said surfing was allowed for exercise "if social distancing can be adhered to".
The council has also closed skate parks, fenced off-leash dog areas, barbecue areas and exercise equipment.
The council made the decision based on Prime Minister Scott Morrison's request on Sunday for people to stay at home unless they need to work, shop or exercise.
The council issued a statement on Monday afternoon saying people should limit outdoor gatherings to two people in keeping with Mr Morrison's advice.
"While the government advice allows outdoor exercise to continue, City of Newcastle stresses the importance of ensuring boot camps are limited to two people and that no more than two people gather in public," it said.
"This includes along popular pathways such as the Bathers Way.
"Further, people must comply with social distancing, which requires 1.5 metres space between people."
It said NSW Police was the enforcement authority for public health orders.
Meanwhile, the council will organise payment plans for people struggling to pay their next rates notice.
"The city will provide financial hardship support for residents and business owners to develop payment plans for their rates, with interest penalties waived until 30 June 2021," Cr Nelmes said in a council statement.
"The next rates instalment is not due until May 31, so people experiencing financial hardship have plenty of time to contact City of Newcastle to organise a payment plan."
She said payment plans would be determined on an individual basis after consultation with a debt recovery officer.
"If you are already on a payment plan, you will have the interest waived for 12 months," she said.
Cr Nelmes said businesses were suffering from supply chain issues and substantially reduced economic activity, and the region faced a rising unemployment rate.
The council will give businesses and residents a 50 per cent discount on rent for all council-owned buildings and land in the June and September quarters.
It says it will "buy local" when possible.
It has also waived library fees and frozen hourly parking rates for a year as part of a $5.5 million coronavirus package.
What you need to know now: