AS the long-weekend approaches, residents of the northern beaches are bracing themselves for an influx of visitors, prompting a warning from Wollongong Lord Mayor, Gordon Bradbury.
“To those who are looking to come to our city from outside the area, I say, welcome and thank you for joining us. We just ask while you’re here to keep following the public health order guidelines and join us in keeping each other safe and healthy,” he said.
Cr Bradbery visited Bulli Tourist Park this morning advising residents and visitors out and about over the long-weekend to continue to be mindful of measures to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
Cr Bradbery said the long weekend would also likely mean an increase of daytrippers – a move that would be welcomed by local businesses and retailers – and those looking to stay at one of Council’s three tourist parks that have reopened and are taking bookings.
“Traditionally the long weekend is a time when people socialise and go out and about, and that’s great – we’ve got beautiful parks, beaches and play spaces to explore,” Cr Bradbery said.
“The extra day on the weekend gives us more opportunity to appreciate where we live at a time when many of us are staying pretty close to home. I’m asking that people remain conscious to the risk of Coronavirus. It’s still very much a threat and we can’t be complacent. We need to continue to be mindful of our physical proximity to others, keep up personal hygiene habits and to stay home and away from others if you’re unwell.
“I’m sure we’ll see an increase in visitors coming to our city and enjoying our coastal lifestyle. I hope that they eat locally, shop locally and in doing so support our local business community at a particularly tough time,” he said.
“We’ve been working proactively to support local businesses by waiving their outdoor dining fees. In addition, any new outdoor dining applications are being managed through an automated process which speeds up the notification of a licensing approval and fee waiver. While I’m sure these steps are helpful, they’re no substitute for the financial injection of having people purchase from cafes, restaurants and retailers.
Cr Bradbury said Council is aware of an increase in the number of people exercising and moving about our public spaces over recent months.
“While our foreshore area in particular was popular, you could see that across the whole city more people ore on their bikes or they’re jogging,’’ he said.
“This is fantastic and is a direct link to our community goals about creating a liveable city. The key is to remember the path is there to share and, if we’re all considerate, there is room for everyone. So, give a little space to stay safe because, as the little kids say, ‘sharing is caring’.”
Cr Bradbery said cyclists can check out the Wollongong Cycling Guide and Map on Council’s website. It highlights some of our 120km of pathways and shared pathways in the city and might offer a new route to explore.
Meanwhile police will be back out in force as stationary Random Breath Test (RBT) and Roadside Drug Test (RDT) recommence across the state ahead of the long weekend.
In March, the NSW Police Force Executive – in consultation with Police Association of NSW – introduced a number of precautionary measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection to frontline police and within the community.
One such measure was additional discretion from Commanders as to whether or not it was reasonable to undertake stationary RBT and RDT, which saw a significant reduction in stationary operations and increased mobile operations across NSW.
With the easing of various restrictions since Monday, including increased patronage at pubs and clubs, and higher traffic volumes, frontline police across NSW have resumed proactive stationary testing operations.
Motorists should also expect to see an increased police presence on roads across the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, with police continuing to target dangerous driver behaviour, including speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving tired, seatbelt and helmet compliance, and mobile phone/driver distractions.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, said this is the first long weekend since restrictions eased and implored the community to be responsible and drive safely.
“We’ve had bushfires, flooding and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic so we understand that people are keen to travel regionally to stimulate the local economy, particularly over the long weekend,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.
“However, there is no excuse to get behind the wheel and flagrantly flout the law. The road rules have not changed, and we make no apologies for stopping selfish road users whose irresponsible driving put themselves and others at risk.
“The message is clear – if your driving puts you or others at risk, you will be stopped, and you will face the consequences of your actions.”
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