‘Stay away’: Byron Bay locals fear a surge in coronavirus cases as hundreds of Victorians flock to the coastal town for the school holidays
- Coronavirus testing in Victoria has uncovered 233 new cases in under a week
- Twitter users have voiced concern about the NSW holiday destination Byron Bay
- Victoria and QLD are both on school holidays and NSW will join them on July 4
- QLD border will open with NSW on July 10 but some workers can already cross
Victorians are among hundreds of holidaymakers flocking to the northern New South Wales beach town of Byron Bay – sparking fears the the state’s coronavirus outbreak could breach its borders.
The idyllic holiday destination sees an influx of visitors over the holiday period – with both Victoria and Queensland on two weeks of school holidays from June 27 and NSW to join them from July 4.
Some Twitter users have expressed their concern Byron Bay could become a hub for the virus with holidaymakers then bringing infections back to other parts of NSW and interstate.
Victorians are among hundreds of holidaymakers flocking to the northern New South Wales beach town of Byron Bay
Twitter users have said they have witnessed Victorians heading to Byron Bay in droves
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed on Tuesday the Sunshine State would be opening its borders on July 10 to every state and territory except Victoria.
However, with Victorians and Queenslanders both able to travel to NSW, some argue the state could become a bridge for contagion.
One Twitter user from Bryon Bay implored NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to shut the borders, with another replying that she had already witnessed Victorian holidaymakers heading north.
‘It’s happening now … driving on the Pacific Highway passed dozens of Victorian Grey nomads and families heading north with caravans,’ they said.
Another woman asked why Victorians were holidaying in other states and why ‘hundreds’ of them were flying into the Byron region.
‘Please stay home everyone, in all states. If you need a holiday, have one in your own state,’ a third woman said.
Yet another noted how hundreds of Queenslanders were already ‘crisscrossing’ the NSW border with work permits and heading to Byron Bay.
Friends and families watch on as a Jetstar flight lands at the Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport on June 20, 2020 in Byron Bay, Australia. Domestic tourists have started to return to Byron Bay following the easing of travel restrictions
School holidays started on July 27 in Victoria just as a surge in COVID-19 cases hit the state
One woman said there was an influx of Victorians in Byron Bay
The QLD Premier said the states borders will open on July 10 to each state and territory except Victoria
People play football on Main Beach on June 20, 2020 in Byron Bay, Australia. Domestic tourists have started to return to Byron Bay following the easing of travel restrictions
On Tuesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berijiklian issued a stern warning but stopped short of mentioning closing borders.
‘Do not allow anyone from a hot spot in Melbourne or from greater Melbourne to come into your home. You have the right to say no,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘Please, if you are a loved one, a friend or a family member, please don’t come up at this time until the community transmission is under control.’
Byron Bay has a population of about 30,000 but this swells dramatically over the holiday seasons.
With Melbourne experiencing chilly temperatures of about 12C this week the warm 20C forecast for the coastal town will no doubt be a huge drawcard.
Victoria is going hard to contain the spike in new cases of coronavirus, sending residents of 36 suburbs back into lockdown for a month.
Another 64 cases were uncovered in the state on Tuesday, bringing the number detected since a testing blitz began last Thursday to 233.
‘That is an unacceptably high number and one that poses a real threat to all of us,’ Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Residents of 10 postcodes across Melbourne will be put under stay-at-home orders from midnight on Wednesday until July 29.
‘Such is the nature of this virus, it is so wildly infectious that if we don’t take these steps now we will finish up in a situation of rather than locking down 10 postcodes, we will be locking down every postcode,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘I don’t want to get to that point.’
Intrastate travel restrictions were lifted in NSW on June 1, allowing people to travel to regional areas within the state. Although borders between NSW, the ACT and Victoria remain open, Australians have been asked not to holiday interstate