Is this mecca for our most toned, fitness junkies safe?

Stairs. The name sends a shiver down the spine of those who have trained at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs exercise mecca.

But fears of picking up coronavirus from exercisers packed in close together have forced some diehard stairs fans to get up before sunrise to avoid the crowds.

Last weekend, City South News observed dozens of people ascending and descending during the late afternoon peak, from children in family groups to adult walkers and runners.

One metre wide at its narrowest and steepest point, the queues of people going up and down have to squeeze to one side to let others past.

 

Inexperienced users almost always touch the handrails or rock face to steady themselves.

Those in the know follow the unwritten rules - people coming down should wait for those ascending, and stand to one side.

And they are supposed to watch the competition, timing their ascent and descent to minimise holdups.

"There's an etiquette, although not everyone knows about it at first,'' Karen Riley said.

"And you're supposed to go round the rock at the bottom so everyone knows when you're ready (to go again).''

Ms Riley said there was no social distancing in evidence when she ran the stairs on Thursday last week.

"I didn't come here for about four weeks for that reason (coronavirus risk),'' the essential services worker said.

Her friend Heather Johnstone, also an essential services worker, said the pair now often arrived before 5am after battling large numbers of walkers and runners on weekends and afternoon peak times.

"We've learned you've got to get here before the rush,'' she said.

"As soon as it got crowded (in recent weeks), or there were too many people who didn't know the rules, or who were being rude, I left.''

 

Bailey-Anne Tewake uses the stairs. Picture: AAP/Sarah Marshall
Bailey-Anne Tewake uses the stairs. Picture: AAP/Sarah Marshall

 

Bailee-Anne Tewake, of the Gold Coast, said she tried the 107 stairs, which climb 25m straight up the cliff overlooking the Brisbane River and the CBD, for the first time yesterday.

"My friends come here and my coach comes here,'' the national-level athlete said.

"(Coronavirus risk) didn't really occur to me. There weren't that many people - there are more on the weekend I think.''

Originally published as Is this mecca for our most toned, beautiful fitness junkies safe?