The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has repeated its calls for the NSW State Government to implement a soft border at the Hawkesbury River as cases continued to increase in the Greater Sydney Delta outbreak and the lockdown looked set to continue.
President, Matthew Wales, said the approach would limit people movements between Sydney and the Central Coast but enable the Coast to return to some normality.
“The Chamber wants restrictions on people movement implemented at the Hawkesbury River as a way forward for lifting the lockdown on the Central Coast and preventing the spread of the Indian COVID-19 Variant northwards,” Wales said.
“We will be asking both the State Government and NSW Health to investigate the option to install a soft border control at the Hawkesbury interchange to prevent travel to and from Sydney,” he said.
“At the moment, there is no guaranteed way to determine who is coming to the Central Coast to escape the Sydney metro area and potentially put Central Coast residents and regional areas further to the north at risk.
“The Hawkesbury is the ideal location for the NSW Government to install a soft COVID-19 border through the use VMS warning signage, social media advertising, pull-over checking facilities, registration plate and licence checks and turn around facilities backed by the NSW Police and TfNSW personnel.
“The soft border facility would act as a significant deterrent to those who think that can sneak around the rules coming from Sydney and those who are trying to get into Sydney unless you are an essential service.
“This would not include delivery trucks and semi-trailers who can still be checked and monitored at the Heavy Vehicle Safety Station (HVSS) at Mt White.
“It would not take long before travellers got the message that once they knew they were going to be checked, potentially fined and turned around unless they have a legitimate reason or authority to be travelling.
“It’s not good enough for politicians to come up with excuses as to why they can’t implement soft border restrictions. In this time of crisis, we should be looking at ALL options. At a time when the Central Coast has no community transmission cases, we should not be penalised by being in lockdown and lumped in with the rest of the Greater Sydney Region.
“Families and businesses are under incredible stress, people are losing their jobs with hundreds of businesses facing the prospect of permanent closure.
“I’m sure if there was an outbreak on the Central Coast and not in Sydney, the NSW State Government would immediately prevent us from entering the Sydney metro area.
“The Chamber understands the safety, logistics and manpower challenges the soft border option would create but the Central Coast needs to come out of lockdown and regional areas further to the north protected.
“The soft border should be put in place, travel to and from Sydney severely restricted, the lockdown lifted on the Central Coast with standard social distancing and health safety checks implemented.”
Media release, July 25
Peninsula Business Chamber