While still not actually calling for local residents to get vaccinated, Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon is calling on people to keep their distance and get tested as Byron braces for the return of large numbers of visitors.
As NSW more broadly moves towards meeting the vaccination milestones set out in the NSW Government’s roadmap, rates in the Byron Shire are slowly catching up.
This week’s data from Healthy North Coast shows 80.4% of Byron Shire residents have had their first dose and 55.3% are fully vaccinated.
‘There has been a very positive response to the vaccination hub that has been operating at the Byron Bay Surf Club for the last two weeks with an average of 200 vaccinations a day recorded,’ said Mayor Lyon.
‘With travel to regional area including the Byron Shire to be open from 1 November, our community is getting ready to adjust to life with COVID-19.
‘I am grateful the NSW Government listened to our concerns about regional travel and has allowed us extra time so that people who want to get vaccinated have been able to.
‘All indications are that this will be a busy summer for our shire as people, locals and visitors, start to move freely around NSW,’ he said.
Bumper months on the way?
Buskers have been allowed back on the streets of Byron Bay since 18 October, and there are currently crowd restrictions of a maximum of 50 people who must be able to show a vaccination certificate, if asked.
Michael Lyon said, ‘I know many businesses have their fingers crossed that December and January will be bumper months for them, making up for the impact of lockdowns, low visitor numbers and border closures.
‘It’s impossible to predict what will happen but whatever the case, this is the time for people to look after each other, respect what the Public Health Orders are at the time and of course get tested if you’re not feeling well,’ he said.
‘We are expecting some school leavers from other parts of NSW and Victoria to make the pilgrimage north and this will be followed by the summer holidays.
‘There’s nothing we can do about COVID-19 other than acknowledge it, adjust as we need to and get on with it,’ said Mayor Lyon.