Easter is a popular time for family getaways and now the kids are (physically) out of school early, a trip to the beach may sound appealing, however, you are being asked not to come.
The key message from the Prime Minister is to stop all non-essential travel, to halt the spread of COVID-19. In addition to that potential problem, regional areas do not have the health facilities to cope with critically sick people en masse.
Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes has a direct message for those intending to head to the coast to isolate themselves.
“I ask those planning a coastal retreat to consider staying where they are and those who’ve already arrived to return home. You will be much better served in the city where medical facilities are more accessible, and goods and services more abundant,” she said.
It’s a really tough time for the fire-ravaged regions in NSW. After sheer survival, came the emotional and financial roller coaster. Local, State and Federal funding was funnelled into tourism campaigns imploring city dwellers to come and visit, bring their empty eskies and spend up.
That message has now taken a sharp U-turn. The marketing campaigns have been put on hold. Not only have states been closing their borders, but health authorities are urging people to stay home.
In Braidwood over the weekend, business was still brisk in the main street and there were plenty of ACT number plates heading down the King’s Highway to the coast.
Member for Bega Andrew Constance has joined the chorus asking visitors to stay put – for the time being at least.
“The ACT Chief Minister has advised for Canberrans to not come to the South Coast in the region’s interest. I strongly support his call and would urge all non-essential travel to stop,” Mr Constance said.
“The fires tested our community and once again we will be tested in order to save lives. Time to dig deep and continue to be the amazing people and community we are. Please follow the public health advice to safeguard our doctors, nurses and our wider community.
“To those who have to keep our community going from our supermarket staff, our pharmacies, our medical workforce, teachers, police, firies – thank you. We all care and we are here to support you.
“Please look after your neighbours and our seniors who live alone. A simple phone call can mean so much” he added. “I know this is so unfair after the fires but we have incredible resilience and resolve. Let’s get through it.”
Mayor Liz Innes said calls from some in the community to ‘close borders’ were not feasible.
“I understand people are concerned about containing the spread of COVID-19, but local councils don’t have authority to close borders,” she said.
“The message from our civic leaders is very clear. Do not travel unless it is essential. ACT Chief Minister Barr said on Monday this means no holidays on the South Coast. I have asked Canberrans to stay at home.
“But we must be realistic. Almost 40 per cent of homes in Eurobodalla are owned by people who live outside the Shire. Those people have a right to be in their own home. However, we’re seeing mandatory lockdowns across the globe. By traveling to the coast to isolate, people risk being stuck here and placing a huge strain on our health services.
“For those that were planning to come down here – please don’t. It’s a very difficult message. Thirty per cent of our population is over 65, which means we have a vulnerable community. Please don’t come,” Mayor Innes said.