Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot Photo: Jessica Lamb
Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot Photo: Jessica Lamb

'We're urging people not to visit here', pollies plea

Politicians within and outside the restricted local government areas have responded to the announcement from 5pm on Wednesday it's masks on and distancing restrictions.

Anyone in the Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Tweed local government areas will now be required to wear masks on public transport, in retail stores and indoor settings with 1 person per every four square metres and house guests capped at 30 until April 5.

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Lismore mayor Vanessa Ekins said it was really disappointing news.

Lismore mayor Vanessa Ekins.
Lismore mayor Vanessa Ekins.

 

"We're urging people not to visit here," she said.

"If you're thinking of coming down please stay home."

She said it was devastating this had happened on the eve of Bluesfest after so much organisation went into the event.

Her message was for people to just stay home this weekend.

"This is the weekend to stay with family and wash your hands," she said.

"And don't eat too much chocolate."

Ballina Mayor David Wright congratulated the state on the move.

David Wright, Mayor of Ballina Shire Council. Photo by Natalie Grono
David Wright, Mayor of Ballina Shire Council. Photo by Natalie Grono

"It's just hopefully precautionary," Mr Wright said.

"Most businesses are doing the right thing anyway, they're still doing protocols.

"Hopefully that will help any cases that come up."

He reminded people Ballina was still open for business and there were still plenty of outdoor activities to do in the area.

In Kyogle, which neighbours the restricted areas, Mayor Danielle Mulholland is urging the people to stay in their areas.

Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland.
Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland.

"I've got an ageing population, its incredibly critical to us that we can minimise the impact that COVID is going to have," she said.

"At the end of the day we're all in this together."

She said her council would offer a hand to any of the other local government areas that were restricted if the needed.

Lismore state member Janelle Saffin said she thought the restrictions were necessary.

State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin.
State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin.

 

"When we have community transmission in particular we have to jump on it quickly and as strongly as we can," she said.

State member for Tweed Geoff Provest said it was the right move to follow the advice of senior medication officers.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest speaks at Tweed Shire Council's Australia Day ceremony at Twin Towns Services Club on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Picture: Liana Boss
Tweed MP Geoff Provest speaks at Tweed Shire Council's Australia Day ceremony at Twin Towns Services Club on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Picture: Liana Boss

 

"While its disappointing to many, I think we follow their recommendations about wearing masks," he said.

"I encourage everyone who has any slight symptoms - particularly if they've been to Byron Bay to get tested."

He said his concern was now focused on what the Queensland Government was going to do, especially if the boarder closes again.

"These are challenging times," he said.

"We've lived through the last 12 months with 18 different passes and closures.

"At the end of it we have a large population of over 65s, we need to follow professional advice and do the right thing for all of us.

"No one likes closures, no one likes wearing masks but it's about keeping us safe for the long term."

Federal member for Richmond Justine Elliot said the whole situation could have been avoided if the vaccines had been rolled out faster.

Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot Photo: Jessica Lamb
Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot Photo: Jessica Lamb

"Locals are angry," she said.

"They've been waiting months and months and months.

"We were told we're first in the queue, this is appallingly slow."

Healthy North Coast has reported several thousands of residents have received their first dose of the vaccine.

She said it was concerning the number of venues now listed as casual and close contact areas and urged anyone with symptoms to go get tested.


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