"Byron loves visitors, but please not now".

'Reciprocate closure of QLD-NSW border': Mayor urges action

BYRON Shire Mayor Simon Richardson says the NSW Premier should reciprocate the border closure with Queensland in an effort to stop people coming to the North Coast.

At tomorrow's ordinary meeting, he will present a comprehensive mayoral minute to his fellow councillors.

Some of his proposed measures include:

  • Ask the NSW Premier to reciprocate the closure of the QLD-NSW border to stem the flow of people from Queensland visiting the Byron Shire
  • Carpark closures at Main Beach and Clarkes Beach for three months
  • Temporarily suspending busking licences and all activities such as tarot cards, fortune readers etc, for three months
  • Establish and install clear signage promoting effective social distancing, for the sake of the whole community
  • Promote social distancing practises especially in common use spaces such as Apex Park (and close these spaces if the protocols aren't adhered to).


Cr Richardson said it was a difficult and challenging time.

"I would like to take this opportunity to assure the community that council is well-prepared and will continue its emergency response with a strong focus on the delivery of essential services for the community including water, sewer and infrastructure during the challenges we are facing," he said.

"We are continuing with our road building and infrastructure maintenance program, along with the other services we provide such as slashing.

"Our Health and Safety team has been visiting food premises in the Shire to check in and see how people are going and it is very sobering as the impacts and short term outlook is stormy at best."

Other measures to be considered include:

  • Suspend footpath dining for three months with Council also suspending the fees for these businesses
  • Close all halls and sporting centres for three months, and waive all cancellation fees incurred as a result and review closure after that time
  • Decrease opening hours of the customer service front desk at Council's Mullumbimby Offices and provide and promote online services
  • Review the current fees and charges to the Byron Bay Community Centre for the management and operation of the homeless shower and services provided by the Girl Guides Hall.

Cr Richardson said councillors would also acknowledge the "drastic impact" of COVID-19 on the visitor economy.

He also raised concerns about the promotion of Byron Shire by AirBnB, Stayz and other platforms, as an attractive place to 'self-isolate'.

The council will seek support for removal of this promotional messaging, and their concerns will be conveyed to Federal and NSW Ministers for Tourism.

The council is also set to write to owners of backpacker hostels supporting the instructions by police for ensuring information on COVID-19 are readily shared so that social gatherings are minimised and social distancing practised.

The goal is to create a promotion/message that "Byron loves visitors, but please not now".

Farmers' markets could be expanded to other days and new food share, markets and swap activities will be supported.

Council will also support the use of certain locations (on council-owned and/or managed land) for Class-2 mobile vendors to operate. 

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