The NSW Far North Coast is awaiting a significant influx of visitors and holidaymakers when the state’s border with Queensland opens at lunchtime today (Friday).
They will add to the already large numbers of visitors from within the state and the ACT, with the Canberra Weekly reporting that many ACT locals have been heading into New South Wales since last Friday, 3 July, when public schools closed.
Most, though, have headed for the South Coast. So the Far North Coast tourist industry will be happy to see the Queenslanders flock in. Byron Bay, Bangalow, Ballina and Suffolk Park will likely be the big beneficiaries.
Have fun, but remember that the virus is still lurking
But local police have warned holidaymakers looking to chill out, plus their hosts, that now is not the time to forget about the dreaded virus and let their guards down.
“We are not out of the danger zone yet,” emphasised Tweed/Byron Police Commander, Superintendent Dave Roptell.
“With thousands of NSW residents now able to travel across the state, we are seeing a massive influx of visitors to our popular coastal spots. Police are continuing to conduct high-visibility patrols in and around the busy strips and ensuring locals and tourists alike are following the current rules.”
Public gathering and restaurant limits remain in place
Roptell reminded the public that authorities will be monitoring their compliance with all restrictions that remain in place.
“Public gathering restrictions, restaurant, café and pub limits and the 4sqm rule are still in place – and of course, if you have any symptoms, go and get tested,” he said.
Long delays are expected at the border checkpoints
Police have also warned that they are expecting long queues of vehicles at the border checkpoints when they open today and that delays are likely. These delays could be more than a couple of hours, with queues potentially up to 20km long, NSW Police said in a statement.
“We are working with our counterparts over the border to ensure as smooth a transition to the new border pass system, but we understand this will take time to work through,” Roptell stated.
“If you do not need to cross the border on Friday, we are asking you to delay your travel for a couple of days to allow for the large influx of traffic to flow through the checkpoints.”