Businesses forced to place restrictions on visitors
BYRON Bay businesses have taken “difficult decisions” and have started to restrict access to their premises by visitors from specific areas, like the current Victorian coronavirus hot spots.
Speaking with anonymity, a Byron Shire tourism business owner who has not restricted access to any visitor, said its an unfair position to be in.
“One day the Premier says that we should not be allowing Victorian visitors in our premises, but when you took a booking two weeks ago, how can we say no when these people are here, drove or flew here and our businesses are trying to survive?” he said.
“The borders are open, and only now there have been restrictions to people coming from those hot spots, but he have hundreds of visitors here already, are we meant to kick them out or deny service? That would damage the Byron brand. It’s ludicrous,” he added.
Byron and Melbourne resident Allen Hammon posted a statement in Byron Bay social media explaining situations can be deceiving and hunting for Victorian number plates around town is not the answer.
“So if I reside in Melbourne (none hot zone) and building a new home in Coopers Shoot and a rental in town, I’d like to know from members: would I and my wife be welcomed in the town?”
The Byron Bay Golf Club is currently asking for photo ID as they are not currently welcoming Victorian clients at the course or the clubhouse.
“We regrettably cannot welcome Victorian residents at this time,” the sign reads.
“Of course, we look forward to welcoming you to our course again when it’s safe to do so,” the sign added.
The Byron Gym also posted a sign outside its premises placing a similar restriction.
“Due to recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Victoria, Byron Gym will not be accepting interstate travellers or returning visitors from any known hot spots,” the warning read.
The business owner declined to comment on the reasons for the restrictions.
While Byron Shire Council welcomes visitors for school holidays, Mayor Simon Richardson asked holiday-makers to be extra considerate of the local community and stick to the 1.5m social distancing rules.
“I get that there’s a strong temptation to let your hair down a bit, especially if you’re here for some relaxing and getting away from what has been a really stressful year, but I ask that we all put the safety of the whole community first.
“Our local police officers have expressed concerns to me, especially about some gatherings that have been happening in Byron Bay recently, and are warning visitors to stick to the rules or risk fines,” he said.
To discourage large gatherings, Council has also extended the suspension of busking permits until 31 July.