Superintendent Dave Roptell speaking to the media earlier today.
Superintendent Dave Roptell speaking to the media earlier today.

Riot squad on call as schoolies descend on Byron Bay

POLICE are urging people attending Byron Bay for schoolies to remember that coronavirus restrictions are still in place during the event.

It will be Schoolies with a twist as Tweed Byron Police District officers and many additional numbers from supporting districts will be in town to monitor the event and ensure restrictions are adhered to.

While no official ‘Schoolies’ events are taking place in Byron, Superintendent Dave Roptell said police have a plan in place for the expected travellers.

“It is going to be pretty packed, we’re anticipating a full house so to speak, so a number of policing resources will be up here to assist,” he said.

“There’ll be police from the Tweed-Byron Police District, the Richmond Police District, from the Northern Region Policing Districts, the operational support group, the public order and riot squad and youth command, police transport command.”

Supt Roptell said this is to ensure people are maintaining social distancing, that no more than 20 people are in a house, including short term accommodation, and up to 30 people can gather in a public space at any one time.

Supt Roptell said that while adherence to COVID-19 restrictions will be a focus for police, so to will crime during the November to December period.

“Yes they are (prepared to give out fines for breaking general health orders) but also just general crime, general offences,” he said.

“That’s why we have a number of policing resources out here, we’re not just focusing on COVID-19, COVID-19 is part of it … however, we have to ensure that the venues are doing the right thing, the business are doing the right thing and the patrons are doing the right thing.”

Byron mayor Simon Richardson urged schoolies to help the local community and stay safe.

“Let’s face it – we all know what an amazing feeling it is to finish school and this year’s cohort have certainly been faced with enormous challenges – but as guests in our community we are asking you to do the right thing,” Cr Richardson said.

“This means observing social distancing and abiding by the rules relating to parties because the last thing we want to see is an outbreak of COVID-19 here in Byron Bay.”