Byron Bay on high alert as mayor admits situation worrying
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Speaking to Today, Byron Shire Council Mayor Simon Richardson said it had been a “worrying” few days, with the region anxiously waiting to see if cases will emerge.

“After all we’ve gone through to get to the Easter holidays and now to have this uncertainty hanging over our head – it’s a really worrying couple of days,” Mr Richardson told Today.

Byron Bay Mayor Simon Richardson. (9News)

About 4000 people have come forward to be tested in the region, with Mr Richardson describing the result as “pleasing”.

“The queues, the very first day, were pretty long and arduous and tested the patience, but yesterday we rolled out a lot more testing stations and the queues were pretty manageable,” he said.

Mr Richardson said it is possible cases could arise in the Byron Bay area.

“You’d be naive to think that there won’t be any positive testing over the next week or two, because of course what comes out today will only be a snapshot for the last couple of days,” he said.

“As we know some of the positive cases can take a few days to emerge. I guess what we need to do is just find out the information as soon as we can and then respond appropriately.”

The mayor believes face masks may become mandatory in certain places in the region, including at the upcoming festival.

“I am sure the premier will be announcing an increase in mandatory face mask wearing which will be at Bluesfest and all the buses to get people to Bluesfest,” Mr Richardson said.

Currently face masks are only optional.

“So I think they will increase some of the requirements in Bluesfest and the requirements in Bluesfest and the Byron CBD,” he said.

“I think we will go back to some more stringent COVID rules and regulations but, I guess, we and the wider NSW just want assurance from the State Government that they will continue to look after us and make sure that whatever is put in place will be for the best health and safety of the local community and the rest of Australia.”

NSW Health has issued a number of COVID-19 health alerts for venues in Byron Bay, including the Byron Beach Hotel and Three Blue Ducks.

Anyone who attended the venues at the given times is now considered a close contact and must get tested immediately before isolating for 14 days.

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