‘Devastating’: mayor responds to Bluesfest cancellation
Byron mayor Simon Richardson is hopeful the region can weather the current COVID-19 storm after the "devastating" news Bluesfest Byron Bay would not proceed this Easter.
Campers had already begun arriving when the NSW Government issued a public health order to prohibit the festival from going ahead this long weekend.
It was due to begin on Thursday, less than a full day before the announcement.
"I think it's a bit like waiting to find out the diagnosis from the doctor for a few days," Cr Richardson said.
Although the news, when it came, wasn't good for hopeful festival-goers, Cr Richardson said the decision was reasonable.
"It's necessary but that doesn't mean it's any less devastating for the organisers or for all of us," Cr Richardson said.
After many months without a local COVID case, he said it was disappointing to see a new cluster linked to the region.
"Most of us had felt the worst of COVID had passed," he said.
"All of a sudden we're looking at Easter from a very different perspective."
Cr Richardson said his own family were among the countless facing uncertainty about whether they could see geographically distant loved ones this Easter.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has praised patrons' good use of QR codes to log in to venues, bolstering contact tracing for these cases.
Cr Richardson said he was hopeful the region would get through this time in reasonable shape.
"Obviously every system still relies on humans doing what they need to do," he said.
"No system is perfect or … human-proof.
"I think so far our faith in (medical experts) has been rewarded with good political decisions based in the best medicine and scientific evidence."
While the premier hasn't told holiday-makers to avoid the Far North Coast, she stressed they would be required to adhere to the restrictions in place.
"It can be easy sometimes for people to forget that Byron's more than a playground, that it is a living, breathing and important community," Cr Richardson said.
"They may be on holidays but COVID isn't."