17.6 C
Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

Festival of COVID-19

Latest News

Cockroach climate

The cockroaches in the Byron Council offices are experiencing bright daylight at night. They are trying to determine whether...

Other News

Keeping an eye on the landscapes of the Tweed

Tweed Shire Council says they have made a commitment to identify and protect the Tweed’s unique landscape, to this end a draft Scenic Landscape Protection Policy has been prepared to ensure the Shire’s spectacular scenery is front of mind when there is new development, change in land use, or when preparing related new policy.

Wallum

It is, at best, amusing, but mostly disappointing, to see The Echo reporting on the mayoral minute to Council...

Reef snapshot details widespread coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef

Latest CSIRO research shows that the fifth major bleaching event since 2016 is still unfolding, but bleaching was just one of the disturbances on the reef over summer.

Teenager arrested following an alleged stabbing

A teenager remains in police custody following an alleged stabbing at a church in Sydney’s south-west overnight.

Wage peace not war

Northern Rivers Peace group, Remembering and Healing is inviting all community members to a peace gathering on the eve of ANZAC Day.

Third village for Alstonville Plateau?

A proposal to assess the viability of a third village on the Alstonville Plateau was discussed at Ballina Shire Council's last meeting.

Oliver Dunne, Byron Bay

In the past few days, the NSW government appears to have changed direction on managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Not surprisingly, this has left many who had praised its performance and its ‘slow and steady’ strategy feeling totally confused. Suddenly, accelerating a ‘snap back’ to the pre-March economy appears to be the new narrative.

However, there has been no update by our Premier of what is proposed for the big music festivals scheduled for Byron Shire – Splendour in October, and the Falls Festival over the New Year’s break.

I have always been a supporter of the ‘Shire of festivals’ concept. But in this period of COVID-19, and without a vaccine, the question has to be asked: ‘Is our Shire fully prepared for bringing up to 50,000 people together for three days and then letting them loose on the unprotected towns of Byron Bay, Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads?’

Large intense religious festivals in France and Iran led to uncontrolled COVID-19 outbreaks in these countries. In South Korea, one church gathering affected hundreds. Ditto for the Cheltenham Race Festival in March, where thousands gathered before the lockdown, and then spread the infection into all corners of the UK and Ireland. This event was held days before the UK abandoned its ‘herd immunity without a vaccine’ policy.

For the past six weeks, Wategos Beach has been packed out with young surfers, both local and visiting, all taking advantage of the excellent surf and abundant time to spare. Observing the under-30’s it’s patently clear that they practice zero social distancing, with handshakes, kissing and hugging remaining the norm. They just don’t get it. I understand that, as the feeling of invincibility has always been the essence of youth.

As a deteriorating senior, I don’t mind hiding away a bit longer if it helps young people get back to work earlier, and gets local businesses back up and running. I want to see restaurants reopen, chefs employed and music makers fed. If that’s the deal, I’m happy. However, on the other side of the bargain, we look to our State government and Council not to take unnecessary risks in expediting the return to ‘normal’ economic activity. One Ruby Princess is enough.

If these festivals do go ahead, the organisers will have a COVID-19 safety plan for their customers. But for the community at large, Council should prepare its own special COVID-19 safety plan to make sure Byron doesn’t become known as the origin of the second wave.

So, councillors: if you intend to permit these festivals, let us know very soon about how you propose to protect us.

After all, we are all in this together, aren’t we?


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. Please Oliver, don’t give out Premier ideas. In the absence of a successful vaccine this would seem unthinkable but anything is possible under the pressure of big money. I think the only viable safety plan for Council would be mass evacuation of the shire. I would hope someone else pays for it!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

A grim commemoration

US President Jo Biden, responding to a question, made the comment that the US is considering the dropping of the prosecution of Julian Assange. How...

Infrastructure for east end of Mullum

Mullumbimby was founded 135 years ago. In the 1960s sewerage was introduced, as was I suppose drainage infrastructure. Are we living in the 1920s...

Save Wallum now

The Save Wallum campaign has been ongoing and a strong presence of concerned conservationists are on site at Brunswick Heads. How the state planning...

Can Council’s overturn their decisions?

NSW Labor planning minister, Paul Scully, when asked about the Wallum estate by local MP Tamara Smith (Greens)  in parliament on March 20, said,...