‘I am on holidays and that’s that’
WHILE some Byron Bay visitors and residents are confused about new gathering rules, others have admitted they are simply defying them.
Tallow and Belongil beaches have been just as busy as normal this week.
Many people have been spotted spending time at the beach and in the carpark and park areas, talking in groups with more than two people.
From Tuesday, NSW residents now legally have to stay in their homes unless they have a "reasonable excuse" for leaving.
'Reasonable excuses' are broadly categorised as obtaining food or other goods and services, travelling for the purposes of work or education if the person cannot do it at home, exercise and medical or caring reasons.
NSW has also adopted a two-person gathering limit.
At Belongil beach on Wednesday, Melbourne residents Ariadna Perkins, Peter Skennar and Amanda Smith said they were not aware of the new measures.
"We are tourists, we are in Byron Bay, the last thing we are doing is watching the news," Ms Smith said.
"I don't care what is happening back home, I am on holidays and that's that.
At Tallows Beach, Byron Shire residents Doris and John (they did not provide their surnames) were "having a chat" to fellow Byron locals Moira and Andrew Johnston.
"Look, if you think we are going to stop saying hello to our friends because of this silly thing about the virus, you are wrong," Doris said.
"I am way too old to be listening to the government telling me how many people I can talk to.
"Also, I'm pretty sure that only applies to foreigners, backpackers and tourists."
The new laws were published late on Monday night.
They allow for fines of up to $11,000 or six months' imprisonment for those who leave the home without a reasonable excuse, plus an additional $5,500 fine each day the offence continues.
Fines for businesses are higher.