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Byron Shire
December 2, 2022

Tweed and Byron Shires closed to tourists and visitors

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Tweed Mayor Katie Milne is reminding anyone thinking of heading to the Tweed Shire for a holiday or visit that they are ‘to stay away… unless you work here or meet specific exemption criteria’. This is also the message from Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, ‘the message cannot possibly be any louder or clearer – do not come to Byron Shire for a day-trip or the Easter weekend.’

This is a time of crisis, not a time to take a break in the Tweed or anywhere else,’ Mayor Milne said.

‘It’s absolutely vital that everyone follows these new laws to stay at home and not to gather – and that means staying in the home where you usually live, not a holiday home. This applies to our neighbours on the Gold Coast and in Byron Shire considering a day-trip to the Tweed.’

The NSW government’s Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 directs that a person must not leave their home without a reasonable excuse.  This includes going to work or education (if they can’t work remotely), household shopping, medical needs or the care of others, exercise, or other listed exemptions. 

The Order also limits gatherings to two people in a public place, however some exemptions apply including for members of the same household or where gathering is essential for work or education.

‘NSW Police and Council will not tolerate people coming to our Shire at this desperate and dire time,’ Byron Mayor Richardson said.

‘If people have booked an apartment or holiday house for Easter then that is too bad – everyone in our community is hurting, our businesses are closed, people are scared and vulnerable and the vast majority of residents are absolutely heeding the isolation and social distancing rules.

‘For the health and safety of our residents we cannot afford to expose ourselves to COVID-19 any more than we have been already,’ he said.

The summit of Mt Warning/Wollumbin is a popular tourist destination. Photo australiangeographic.com.au

Mayor of Tweed Katie Milne said that likewise going on holiday to the Tweed was not a reasonable excuse under these new rules and NSW Police would act.

Heavy penalties apply through the Public Health Act 2010, which allows for a maximum penalty for an individual of imprisonment for six months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues.

‘We all need to follow these rules to save the lives of the people we love. Everyone knows someone whose health is compromised but healthy younger people can get very ill too,’ she said.

‘We must be even more vigilant in our Shire. One third of our residents are over 60 years old and 4.4 per cent of residents are Aboriginal – they are all in the vulnerable category.

‘Don’t take a holiday in the Tweed now or over Easter, and if you know someone who’s planning a trip tell them to think again. Come back and visit our beautiful Shire when the government has declared that this crisis is over. For now, you must stay away.’

For more information on Tweed Shire Council’s response to COVID-19, visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/coronavirus

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  1. Until June 27 it is illegal for tourists to stay in a holiday let in Byron Shire and other regional areas. Just call the Police to protect the community. Both occupants and owners/managers can be issued with fines.

  2. While Air B&B and Stayz are pumping up tourists to come to Byron to fill their (still unlawful) tourist accommodation, a local managed DA authorised Backpackers is keeping his existing tourist residents, and staff, safe, by locking down the premises and not allowing any new bookings. That is the difference in attitude and management from locally owned and onsite managed authorised tourist backpacker premises and legitimate B&Bs, compared to the cut throat, overseas and out of town unmanaged Air B&Bs

  3. An online examination of some of the local holiday let management businesses such as A Perfect Stay, shows that they are still advertising the availability of short term rentals. This is completely irresponsible and placing members of their own community in danger if visitors stay in them in the near future. They should be not accepting any bookings. Not only could each of the occupants receive an on the spot fine but managers also risk being fined and/or imprisoned.

  4. It is outrageous that there are self centred people continually putting others at risk. Yes all of us should notify the authorities about what is illegally happening. Things will only change if we make it so. In my area there is an influx of obvious holiday people from Queensland. These people are 30 ks from the border in their swim wear.


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