The Blue Mountains mayor has called for NSW government help as visitors return to the area, calling it “bedlam,” as other regions also expressed reservations.
The Blue Mountains mayor is calling on the NSW government for help following a weekend of “bedlam” when people pushed over barricades and crowds had to be dispersed, as visitors returned to the tourist hotspot.
Mark Greenhill says the local city council doesnt have the power or resources to enforce Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, social distancing rules so the state government needs to come up with a strategy.
NSW will relax travel rules in June, meaning people will be able to once again visit their favourite regional destinations.
Greenhill has written to the premier and health minister requesting assistance because, he says, even now “theres no social distancing happening up here.”
“Were classed as Sydney so weve had visitors coming for weeks,” the mayor told AAP on Wednesday.
A number of areas, including Echo Point and Lincolns Rock, are closed due to COVID-19 but as people have returned to the mountains, directions have been ignored and streets have become crowded.
“Weve had people actually pushing barricades down, weve had police sort of dispersing crowds. Its been bedlam,” the mayor said. “What we saw last weekend in the Blue Mountains was not safe.”
Greenhill stresses the region, which suffered during the summers unprecedented bushfires, needs visitors to return but they also need tourists to follow social distancing measures.
Too many people thought it was now “open slather,” he said.
The Blue Mountains has an older demographic and some residents are scared to go out on the weekend.
“We welcome the visitors but theres got to be a strategy in place to ensure that happens in a way that doesnt endanger people who are vulnerable,” the mayor said.
“Local councils dont have the powers under the health order or the resources necessary to ensure social distancing.”
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday confirmed intrastate travel restrictions are to be lifted from June 1.
Across bushfire-affected communities, theres been a mixed response to the prospect of tourists returning after whats been a devastating 12 months.
Bega Valley Shire Council mayor Sharon Tapscott said it was a “double-edged sword” given tourism is a huge part of the regions economy.
“At the same time, we have a very high cohort of self-funded retirees who fall into that high-risk category for COVID-19 adverse outcomes,” she told AAP.
“Its a very individual kind of perspective, but as a reRead More – Source