State Government plans for COVID-safe summer

Avoca Beach

With school holidays upon us and thousands of people expected to flock to the Central Coast over coming months, the NSW Government has released a COVID Safe Summer Plan to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

The Plan outlines a number of measures aimed at helping people enjoy not only the beaches, but all outdoor spaces, in a safe way and includes such tips as keeping a towel’s length from anyone not from your household on the beach.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, said the plan would ensure people can enjoy the warm weather in a COVID-safe way, while keeping the economy moving.

“The Government is working hard to get the right balance between keeping businesses open while keeping the virus under control,” Crouch said.

“With the weather warming up and school holidays beginning on September 26, it’s important that everyone – both locals and tourists – does the right thing by remaining COVID-safe.”

The plan also suggests safe distance markings in parklands and public spaces; running a COVID-safe summer program of events and encouraging businesses to take advantage of outdoor dining.

Crouch said recent research shows that the Central Coast region has an opportunity to benefit greatly from the tourism industry.

“Compared to pre-COVID times, the research shows that tourists are 76 per cent more likely to support local businesses and communities,” he said.

“Trends in holiday planning also show that 68 per cent of people intend to take a road trip holiday in the next 12 months, while 66 per cent want to take a trip to visit friends and family.

“Our close proximity to Sydney means that Central Coast businesses will benefit greatly this summer, but it’s not a time to be complacent.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the plan supports local businesses by encouraging more outdoor dining in the lead up to the Christmas-New Year period and throughout the summer months.

“We know how much our community loves fresh air, beaches and parklands, but we will all need to do that a bit differently this summer,” Berejiklian said.

“The COVID Safe Summer Plan encourages the community and local businesses to take advantage of our glorious warm weather while using public spaces safely.”

But while councils throughout the state have welcomed the plan, they are calling for funding support to ensure they are properly resourced to prevent overcrowding.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President, Linda Scott, said while the plan set helpful guidelines and would help educate the public, much more needed to be done to keep people COVID-safe.

“Councils agree with the NSW Government – we want NSW to open up for the health and wellbeing as well as the economic recovery of our State, and we’re working with the NSW Government to deliver this,” Scott said.

“But we need to know funding details so we can make the plan a reality and keep people safe.

“This includes vital issues such as funding support for COVID-safe marshals to ensure social distancing and safe practices and manage crowds if necessary.

“Existing council rangers are already stretched to the limit on a regular summer and do not have enforcement powers or the capacity to undertake additional COVID roles.”

The plan can be viewed at www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/premiers-priorities/great-public-spaces/covid-safe-summer.

Terry Collins

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