The word is coming from all levels of government on both sides of the political spectrum, “if you’re staying on the Central Coast and don’t live here, go home”.
And if you are a Coast resident who is aware of non-residents staying in the region, report them.
As Easter and the school holidays approach, Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, has called for holiday makers and tourists to return home and stay home while social distancing and social isolation measures remain in place.
“Home means home, this is not the time for a holiday,” Wicks said.
“I’ve heard from many local residents about their concerns with an influx of holiday makers choosing to self-isolate on the Central Coast.
“While I can understand why tourists would want to come to our beautiful region, right now, it’s simply not OK.
“It is vital for the safety of our community that people stay in their primary residences to self-isolate and to follow the Government guidelines around non-essential travel.
“This is a particularly important message with school holidays and the Easter long weekend approaching.”
The State Government has made it abundantly clear that holidaying in a regional area is not a reasonable excuse to be traveling at this time, and the offence carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for six months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both), with an additional fine of $5,500 for each day the offence continues, Wicks said.
“I look forward to a time when tourists can return to the Central Coast to support local businesses, enjoy our beautiful beaches and amazing scenery, when the restrictions are lifted,” she said.
“We are all in this together, we all have the responsibility to do the right thing and stay at home to protect our community from coronavirus.”
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, echoed the sentiment and said only permanent residents of the LGA should be on the Coast.
“The Central Coast LGA currently has the fourth highest count of COVID-19 cases in NSW (as of April 1),” Crouch said.
“The way to stop this increasing is for everyone to follow the restrictions and social distancing rules.
“If your residential address is not a Central Coast suburb, it’s important that you go home.
Given the LGA’s status as a popular holiday destination and its abundance of holiday homes, Crouch advised permanent residents that they should feel free to report any holidaymakers flouting the travel directive to Crime Stoppers.
“The Federal and State Governments have made it crystal clear that no one should be travelling right now,” he said.
“Any non-permanent residents who travel to the Coast risk placing undue pressure on our Local Health District if they get sick.
“The Central Coast Local Health District is doing an amazing job in dealing with this pandemic, but they are only equipped to deal with permanent residents, as are all other Local Health Districts in the State.
“Central Coast residents have been stringent with their social distancing and the latest data indicates that our LGA has gotten ahead of the curve, but we cannot take that for granted, and I encourage any residents to report breaches of current restrictions.
“If you travel to the Central Coast and the police come to your door, you can receive an on the spot fine of $1,000 and you will be told to go home.
“If your permanent address is not within the LGA, then don’t come to the Coast, it’s that simple.”
Crouch said rental companies, real estate agents and private landlords that continued to market holiday rentals were also at risk of penalties if they don’t cease and desist.
Crouch reiterated that the only reasons to leave home are shopping for essentials, medical care, exercise, or essential work and study commitments.
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, said clarity needed to be provided around the rules and regulations for Airbnb and rental properties across the region.
“In MacMasters Beach, there are over 25 houses advertised on Airbnb for between $400 and $4,000+ over the Easter break, with dozens more on the Peninsula and other popular beach side suburbs,” Tesch said.
“People from across both the Terrigal and Gosford electorates have contacted my office expressing concerns about the number of holiday makers still out and about amongst Coast communities.”
Tesch said visitors needed to be aware of the risk that they put the Central Coast community in by coming north to spend their holidays.
“The Central Coast is a fragile and older demographic of vulnerable people, and our health system is only designed to support the local population,” she said.
“I’m echoing the words of the Premier and our Police Commissioner and telling our locals to stay put on the Coast, and for Sydney-siders to stay in their primary homes as well.”
Tesch said she had requested signage along motorways between the city and regional areas to display warnings to travellers of the consequences if they don’t return to their homes, and that patrols near the exits of such roads be increased as a deterrent.
With cases on the Coast rising, Tesch said it was also important to keep accommodation options available for future local quarantine requirements.
“We need to provide accommodation for our health workers who are self-isolating, and others in difficult circumstances, not let it get taken up by holiday makers who should be at their homes,” she said.
Central Coast Council also urged holidaymakers to rethink their travel plans and hold off from visiting the Central Coast during the pandemic.
Mayor, Lisa Matthews, said now was not the time to visit the Central Coast.
“Our community’s health and wellbeing is paramount, which is why I’m pleading with holidaymakers to stay away at this time, it is important for all of us,” Cr Matthews said.
“It is not forever, and we look forward to welcoming holidaymakers back once life resumes to normal and the restrictions are lifted.”
Interview, Apr 1
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch
Media releases, Apr 6
Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch
Central Coast Mayor, Lisa Matthews
Reporters: Dilon Luke and Terry Collins