Byron Bay’s airport will be introducing strict new Covid protocols to protect the local community as holidaymakers from Sydney make their way into the popular coastal town.
The airport, which is half an hour drive away in Ballina, northern NSW, has been given the seal of approval by Hollywood heavyweights like Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Zac Efron who have all been pictured on the stunning coastline recently.
But Ballina Shire Council are cracking down on passengers who are travelling from Covid-affected Sydney and they will be screened by NSW Health officials upon arrival.
Byron Bay’s airport (pictured) will be introducing new COVID rules for holidaymakers who are arriving from Sydney
Tourist attractions like The Pass (pictured) are popular destinations for holiday makers, who must know undergo strict COVID rules when entering the beachside town
The new protocols include increased cleaning at touch points, social distancing of 1.5m, having hand sanitation stations at every door and temperature checks.
Airport Manager Julie Stewart said the airport is committed to collaborating with the NSW Government to create a Covid-19 safety plan to guarantee a secure environment for travellers.
‘We will continue to work with the airlines and the NSW Government to ensure the safety of passengers, staff and the community,’ Ms Stewart told The Northern Star.
The new measures have been introduced off the back of New South Wales’ Northern Beaches cluster that recorded eight new cases today, bringing the total to 90.
Main beach near Byron Bay (pictured) has social distancing circles painted on the grass for visitors (pictured)
But despite Sydneysiders looking to make Byron Bay home over the Christmas period locals are warning those surrounding the outbreak to stay down south.
Byron Bay local and influencer Ruby Tuesday Matthews lashed out on Instagram, telling Sydneysiders to ‘stay the f**k home’.
‘Hey Sydney friends! Here’s an idea, stay the f*** home’, she posted on her Instagram stories yesterday.
‘Don’t book another flight to Byron or another small town. Get tested and isolate yourself,’ she wrote.
Influencer and Byron Bay local Ruby Tuesday Matthews, has tod Sydney travelers to ‘stay the f**k home’
Despite her followers saying the influencer was being unfair, the Byron local stood firm on keeping Sydneysiders out of the town.
‘Everyone just needs to stay put for five days,’ she said.
‘All Sydney people are evil f*****s and have Covid and don’t care about us locals’, one user wrote on Facebook, saying that statement should go on a sign at the airport.
‘I believe the horse has bolted on this one, do not be surprised if it is all up and down the eastern seaboard by now,’ another wrote.
Another suggested Bryon Bay’s accommodation was being compromised due to an influx of Sydneysiders.
‘Forty per cent of accommodation is filled with Northern Beaches Covid refugees and they are still sneaking up the coast,’ one person said.
Before Sydney travelers can enter Byron’s beaches such as Belongil (pictured), they must undergo new COVID rules by the Byron Bay airport
Carisa Wilson, 23, arrived in Byron Bay from Sydney on Saturday with her family and said she understands locals concerns.
‘To be fair, I understand their fears but I didn’t travel ignorantly,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I made sure I didn’t have a temperature, I took a Covid test so I made sure I wasn’t sick and we travelled when cases were controlled in Sydney.’
Ms Wilson flew to Ballina Airport and claimed there were no drastic Covid measures in place when she landed.
‘At Byron’s airport there was no security, no hand sanitisers, no one cared,’ she said.
‘But at Sydney airport we were given a mask to wear on the plane and had to maintain 1.5 metres social distancing’.
New Ballina Airport protocols:
– Increased cleaning and sanitisation of all touch points, counters, tables, chairs, bathrooms, doors and screening equipment
– Contactless temperature checks
– Access to the terminal is restricted to passengers only, except where passengers require genuine carer’s assistance
– Safety screens at customer service desks
– Airport staff wearing masks when serving customers
– Hand sanitisation stations installed at all terminal entry points
– Social distancing of 1.5m required whenever possible as per guideline markers on common floor areas
Ms Wilson says she has holidayed in Bryon before and has found the crowds to be far less compared to previous years.
‘The beaches aren’t as packed as last year, presumably because of Covid,’ she said
‘But so far I’ve noticed not one person wearing a mask here in Byron, not even the waiters.’