Byron Council is calling for a ban on long-distance bus services into the Shire as scores of people flock in from the city in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
‘We’ve got the issue of people fleeing the cities and coming to regional areas like ours,’ Byron Mayor Simon Richardson told yesterday’s full council meeting.
‘The idea that you could sit on a bus for 20 hours with a bunch of other people at this time just strikes me as complete idiocy.’
The Council expressed grave concern and disappointment that the Byron Shire had been promoted as an attractive place to ‘self isolate’ by AirBnB and other short-term holiday letting properties.
Council will ask AirBnB and Stayz to seek the removal this promotional messaging.
It will also launch a #Stayathome Byron campaign for visitors and locals alike.
In keeping with this message Council implemented a number of measures in a bid to ensure people adhered to social distancing throughout the Shire.
This included the closure of Clarke’ Beach and Main Beach car park for three months, a three month ban on the use of public spaces for busking and other similar activities such as tarot card reading and pop-up clothes stalls in public areas.
In terms of operational matters, the council suspended footpath dining and associated fees for three months, and reduced face-to-face hours at the customer service centre for three months – though it will remain open for telephone and electronic enquiries.
Councillors also voted to review current fees and charges at the Byron Community Centre for management and operation of homeless shower services.
‘My plea is for people to be compassionate and kind and for us all to play our part in stopping the spread of this terrible disease,’ Mayor Richardson said.
♦ Please note that Australia Wide Coaches are not bringing tourists to the Byron Shire during the pandemic.