Here’s to a COVID-safe summer in Byron Shire #covidsafebyronshire

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Byron Shire Council has launched the COVID-safe Summer Byron campaign which is designed to be a visual reminder to people about the importance of health measures such as social distancing.

The launch took place on the 1 December 2020, the first official day of summer, at Apex Park at Byron Bay.

Coloured circles are being painted on the grass in the park to encourage people to gather in small groups and signs are also being put up in beaches and parks in the Shire.

Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said indications are that the summer is going to be busy and that people need to continue to respect the health guidelines set out by the NSW Government.

Council is doing what it can to support local Police and the Northern NSW Local Health District because keeping the community safe is everyone’s responsibility.

“Our messages are that outdoor group gatherings need to be kept to a maximum of 50 people and to remember that 1.5m is the distance we should be keeping,” Mayor Richardson said.

“We are trying to do this with a Byron Shire twist, and you only have to look at our signs to see that,” he said.

Beach lifeguards and surf lifesaving volunteers will also have signage to put up on the beach when they are patrolling as way of gently reminding people that the rules extend to the sand as well.

“Our SLS volunteers and lifeguards really do an amazing job keeping swimmers safe every summer so hopefully the signs will make it easier for them especially during the busy school holidays and over Christmas and New Year,” Mayor Richardson said.

“It would be great to see people getting their photos taken next to the signs and posting on Instagram with the hashtag #covidsafebyronshire.

“The last thing we want to see are our beaches and parks being closed because there are too many people,” he said.

With strict rules relating to bars, hotels, cafes and restaurants, police and Council are also concerned about people deciding to hold house parties that could attract more than 50 visitors which is currently the limit set out in the NSW Health Orders.

“This is where we, as a community, need to work together and if we see a party or large gathering starting to form on a private property, or in a public area, we need to let the police know,” Mayor Richardson said.

CCTV cameras have been installed in Apex Park and the Main Beach carpark to allow for monitoring of those areas.

“As a community, a state and a nation, we have all done incredibly well coping and responding to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This summer will be another challenge for Council, police, our health service and lifesavers so it would be terrific if everyone, visitors and locals, continued to do their bit to respect the COVID-safety rules,” Mayor Richardson said.