Sydneysiders asked to stay out of shops due to COVID fears
With up to half a dozen flights from Sydney disgorging passengers at Ballina-Byron airport today, there are signs local Northern Rivers' residents are getting nervous about the spread of COVID-19.
As people from Sydney rushed to get on flights in order to escape from any potential lockdown over the weekend, or jumped into their cars and headed north, regions like ours could be the big losers.
The annual influx of visitors is expected to be enormous, and any outbreak of COVID-19 could quickly swamp local health resources, especially if Queensland's ups its border restriction.
One business in Bangalow had a sign up on the weekend asking anyone from a COVID hotspot in Sydney to stay out of the shop.
"Dear customers, due to the recent clusters of COVID-19 in Sydney we ask that if you have come from a hotspot you please not enter our little shop. In gratitude"
It's perhaps a sign of things to come as everyone faces a nervous wait to see if Sydney can get a handle on the latest COVID outbreak.
At Services NSW Lismore shopfront yesterday long lines snaked out the door as staff kept customers inside the centre to a safe, socially distanced number.
Some staff and customers also wore face masks in a sure sign the outbreak in Sydney has people on the Northern Rivers ready to take added precautions.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said residents of Greater Sydney should reconsider any travel plans to regional NSW.
"A message for those living in (the) outer area ... of Sydney. Be mature. Be understanding that you could cause some risk and anxiety, so if you have any symptoms, please get tested," Mr Barilaro said.
"Change your travel plans and maybe not visit regional New South Wales until we get on top of this issue."
Residents from the northern beaches already on holiday have been urged to self-isolate where they are.