Urgent Covid alert for popular holiday spot after 'party' weekend

·6-min read

NSW Health has issued an urgent warning for people who have been in Byron Bay, after two confirmed coronavirus cases visited the beachside town and venues over the weekend.

A Covid cluster in Queensland is sending Greater Brisbane and surrounding areas into lockdown from 5pm on Monday (AEST).

There is concern across the border in NSW after it was confirmed two new cases travelled from Queensland to visit Byron Bay. The Sydney Morning Herald reports a nurse and her sister travelled to Byron Bay from Queensland for a bachelorette party.

Two positive coronavirus cases from Queensland visited Byron Bay. Source: Getty Images
Two positive coronavirus cases from Queensland visited Byron Bay. Source: Getty Images

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the department was aware of two venues the pair had checked into in Byron Bay while in the town from Friday, March 26 to Sunday, March 28. The two women then returned to Queensland.

NSW Health said the two cases checked in at the Byron Bay Hotel on Friday night and The Farm on Sunday morning. The department is urging anyone who visited the venues around certain times to get tested immediately and self-isolate, until further advice is issued.

People need to get tested immediately if they visited:

  • Byron Beach Hotel, 1 Bay St, Byron Bay NSW 2481, on Friday 26 March, 2021, between 7:15pm and 8:30pm

  • The Farm Byron Bay, 11 Ewingsdale Rd, Ewingsdale NSW 2481, on Sunday 28 March, 2021, between 8:00am and 9:30am

  • Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park – women’s communal toilets, 143 Alcorn St, Suffolk Park, on March 26 2021, between 6pm – 6:30pm and from 9:10pm – 9:30pm and on March 27, from 3.20pm and 3.50pm

  • Mokha Café, 2/2 Lawson St, Byron Bay, on 27 March 2021 from 10:30am-11:30am

In a statement on Facebook, The Farm Byron Bay confirmed it would be closing for a deep clean.

"We have closed The Farm today effective immediately for a full deep clean," the Facebook post said. Byron Bay Beach Hotel will be closed on Monday night for a deep clean.

NSW Health also released a list of "casual contact" venues, if you have visited one or more of the venues and the specified time, you are asked to get tested and isolate until you receive a negative result.

Casual contact venues include:

  • Ghanda Clothing, 3/8 Lawson St, Byron Bay, on 27 March 2021, from 12:00pm -12:15pm

  • Tiger Lily, 3/17-21 Jonson St, Byron Bay, on 27 March 2021 from 12:25pm –12:30pm

  • Black Sheep, 46 Jonson St, Byron Bay, on 27 March 2021 from 12:30pm – 12:40pm

  • Quiksilver, 2 Jonson St, Byron Bay on 27 March 2021, from 12:40pm - 12:45pm

  • Suffolk Bakery, Shop 1/2 Clifford St, Suffolk Park, on 27 March 2021 from 2:45pm – 3:15pm

  • Park Hotel Bottle Shop, 223 Broken Head Rd, Suffolk Park, on 27 March 2021 from 7:30pm-7:45pm

NSW Health is also urging anyone with even the mildest symptoms to get tested immediately and self-isolate, if they are in the Byron Bay area.

Due to the outbreak in Queensland, NSW Health is currently advising against non-essential travel to the Greater Brisbane area.

New Covid-19 testing clinics were established across northern NSW on Monday including two new clinics which have opened in Byron Bay.

Health workers conduct coronavirus testing at a Covid-19 facility at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Sunday, February 7, 2021. NSW has introduced a day-16 COVID-19 test for overseas travellers after they have completed their 14-day quarantine as an additional precautionary measure.
People are being urged to get tested for Covid-19, if they have been to Byron Bay. Source: AAP

The new Byron Bay testing clinics include:

  • Byron Bay QML Pathology Drive-Through, Cavanbah Sports Ground, 249 Ewingsdale Rd, ByronBay. Open from 8am to 8pm 7 days from midday today.

  • Byron Bay Walk-in Pop-Up Clinic; Byron Bay surf club car park, Bay St, Byron Bay. Open from 8am to 6pm from Monday to Sunday from this afternoon.

Some NSW residents must comply with lockdown

On Monday evening, NSW Health said NSW residents who have been in Greater Brisbane since 20 March, but are now in NSW must comply with the lockdown restrictions.

"This means anyone who has been to Greater Brisbane since 20 March is required to stay at home, except for essential reasons that include shopping for food and supplies, exercise, work and medical care, under the Public Health Order," NSW Health said.

"People who have only transited through Brisbane Airport are excluded from these restrictions."

States change border rules amid Queensland cluster

Several states have acted quickly in an attempt to prevent Covid cases from Queensland crossing their borders.

Starting from 4pm on Monday, South Australia will ban people travelling to the state from the greater Brisbane area, which has been declared a Covid-19 hotspot.

Returning travellers and essential workers from the hotspot will still be allowed in.

From 6pm on Monday, Victoria will deem the Greater Brisbane area a "red zone", under the travel permit system.

People who travel to Victoria from a designated red zone could be subject to a $4,957 fine and will be sent back — though Victorian residents are allowed to re-enter the state.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has once again reinforced a hard border closure with Queensland, starting from 12.01am Tuesday, March 30.

"Travel from Queensland will no longer be permitted, unless you are an exempt traveller," the media statement says.

"This also applies to anyone who may have been in Queensland since March 27 and has not completed 14 days in a 'very low risk' State or Territory."

Restrictions have also been imposed in the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

NSW 'cautious' after QLD Covid outbreak

Dr Kerry Chant spoke about the exposure venues at a press conference on Monday said over 1400 people who visited the sites on the respective days have been contacted.

She also urged anyone who has returned from the Greater Brisbane area since March 11 to remain "vigilant", as well as the wider NSW community, regardless of whether they have travelled or not.

NSW did report any new coronavirus cases on Monday, with over 8000 tests conducted across the state.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state is in a "cautious position", with no plans to shut down the borders as of Monday.

Pictured in NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaking at a press conference regarding the new coronavirus cases in Queensland.
NSW will not shut its border with Queensland, following the cluster emerging in Brisbane. Source: ABC

Ms Berejiklian said the state is taking steps regarding returning travellers from Brisbane.

"We've been through this a number of times and we know what works," Ms Berejiklian said, admitting this is an evolving situation.

Queensland concerned over Brisbane community transmission

On Monday, Queensland confirmed four new coronavirus cases and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the infected people had been out within the community and travelling to central Queensland — and northern NSW.

Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands will go into a three-day lockdown from 5pm on Monday in hopes of preventing further community transmission.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, announcing the snap lockdown the premier expressed how worried she was about the outbreak.

"I didn't sleep last night so I think I am very worried, I'm very concerned," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown will be reviewed on Thursday, ahead of the Easter holiday break this weekend.

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