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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Boating is the antidote to pandemic blues

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Boating is the antidote to pandemic blues

Boating is the antidote to pandemic blues

by Darren Vaux, BIA President

Being in, on or around water is good for the mind and good for the body. Wallace J Nicholl’s best-selling book, Blue Mind, explored the measurable effects of proximity to, and activities involving, water on the human body and confirmed what all boaters intrinsically know. Boating reduces stress and invokes a sense of wellbeing. In creates connections between people and encourages immersion in nature. Boating is good for you.

We need access to boating now more than ever. The restrictions and stress associated with the pandemic over the last 18 months have created social isolation and frustration. We all need a relief valve but understandably governments around Australia, and the world, have had to take drastic action to limit the spread of the virus and save lives. Coupled with this heavy burden is the fundamental responsibility, in free societies, to minimise the nature and duration of restrictions to personal freedoms. As such, they also have a responsibility to permit activities that do not contribute to the transmission of the disease. This is fundamental to mental health and preservation of individual rights. Lockdowns can’t last forever, and it is now very clear that as the Covid-19 virus mutates, elimination is not an option for the foreseeable future.

We will all have to live with restrictions and Covid Safe practices and actions that limit the spread of the virus. We need Covid Safe activities that restore our sense and rights of freedom and in that regard, boating is the standout choice and, on the water, the safest place to be.

Boating… paddleboards, kayaks, small sailing craft, tinnies, runabouts, fishing boats, yachts, tow-sports and cruisers, large and small. There is a boat for all ages and all budgets, and boating alone or with your immediate family is the very definition of social distancing. With the implementation of Covid Safe practices at the beach, the boat ramp or marina, families and friends can get out on the water, engage their Blue Mind and enjoy the magnificent waterways that Australia has to offer.

This is what the community wants and demands. With industry turnover up 11% and industry employment up 9% on last year the boating industry saw an increase in boat registrations to some 18,500 last year with many first-time boat owners. Over 2.5 million people in Australia now hold a boat licence and 20% of the population go boating each year. People have bought boats to escape the pandemic blues. The community want to go boating and boating must be one of the first activities that provides relief from any current or future lockdowns. In doing so, it will also provide a number of other benefits:

· It will relieve the pressure of overcrowding of greenspaces and beaches enabling people to access our magnificent and extensive blue spaces;
· It can be conducted safely on our waterways without unnecessary LGA or short distance limitations from home. Once you are on the water you are socially distanced and should be allowed the freedom to explore and find uncrowded blue spaces;
· It can be managed with clear and consistent guidelines about guests onboard and limits and rules relating to raft ups or landing at beaches or jetties;
· It is a safe and enjoyable activity for many people in the broader Australian community; and
· It’s a clear step toward feeling normal again.

It is imperative that boating be included in any initial easing of current and any future restrictions in jurisdictions across Australia. There are significant physical, mental and community benefits to be gained from encouraging people to responsibly go boating in all its forms as the antidote to pandemic blues.

With spring upon us and daylight saving just around the corner in many States, it is time for restrictions to be eased and for governments to take the proactive action to encourage people to go boating.

The 2021 BIA industry report infographic is at https://www.bia.org.au/documents/item/1576

The BIA Discover Boating website is at https://discoverboating.com.au/

COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Tweed Byron enter 7-day lockdown Tuesday evening

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QR codes, masks and tests please

Tweed Byron enter 7-day lockdown Tuesday evening

From 5pm Tuesday, September 21, 2021, residents of Tweed and Byron LGAs are ordered to stay-at-home for at least 7 days.

This order was confirmed by NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, during a press conference in Sydney on Tuesday morning.
The orders also apply to any person who has been in either of these affected LGAs since September 18, or in the Kempsey LGA since September 14.

Ballina has escaped the order, although fragments of Covid-19 virus were detected in sewage in Ballina and Wardell overnight.

The lockdown order follows the arrival of a Covid-19 positive man into the Northern Rivers region from Sydney on the weekend. Northern NSW Local Health District advised the man was infectious in the Byron, Ballina and Tweed areas between Saturday, September 18 and Monday, September 20, after landing at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport at 8:45am on Saturday direct from Sydney on Virgin flight VA 1141.

Hazzard said today the man had been authorised to travel to Northern NSW for work and was tested on arrival, however it was only after a second test health authorities discovered he was positive.

Everyone in Tweed and Byron LGAs must now stay at home unless for essential reasons including shopping for food, medical care, getting vaccinated, compassionate needs, exercise, and work/tertiary education if you can’t work or study at home.

People can attend an outdoor gathering of up to five people for exercise or outdoor recreation if all in the group aged 16 or older are fully vaccinated.

Geoff Provest, Member for Tweed, said a strong response to testing will be a key factor in determining if these stay-at-home orders are extended beyond a week.

“I encourage everyone with the mildest of symptoms to get tested immediately and isolate until a negative result is received,” he said.

An exasperated Byron Shire Mayor, Michael Lyon, said the situation was a joke and called for rapid antigen testing at the Ballina Byron Airport for anyone arriving in the Northern Rivers, to protect the region from Covid-19 arrivals, a view shared by Ballina MP, Tamara Smith.

“I cannot believe we’re in this situation, completely avoidable again, businesses shutting down again, school holidays ruined again, it beggars belief,” Mayor Lyons said.

The Queensland Government has not confirmed if Tweed and Byron LGAs are removed from the restored border bubble.
Lismore LGA remains in lockdown until at least Thursday, September 23, and is excluded from the border bubble arrangement until further notice.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

NORTHERN NSW LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT COVID-19 Update

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QR codes, masks and tests please

NORTHERN NSW LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT COVID-19 Update

There were no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in residents of Northern NSW Local Health District, to 8pm Thursday 16 September.
Yesterday there were more than 1,000 tests conducted in the Northern NSW Local Health District.
To determine the extent of the risk and detect any further potential COVID-19 cases in our area, we are calling on the communities to come forward for testing in large numbers.
A strong response to testing will be a key factor in determining if the current stay-at-home orders for Lismore are extended beyond one week.
For the week of 5–11 September there were 4,976 tests conducted amongst NNSWLHD residents, compared to 5,746 tests conducted during the previous week.
Anyone with even the mildest of cold-like symptoms is urged to immediately come forward for testing and isolate until a negative result is received.
Please continue to check this page regularly, as the list of venues of concern and relevant health advice are being updated as new cases emerge and investigations continue.
If you are directed to get tested for COVID-19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the rules given to you by Health staff, whether or not the venue or exposure setting is listed on the NSW Health website.
All residents of the Lismore LGA, and anyone who visited Lismore since September 7 are subject to ‘Stay at Home’ requirements.
Testing clinics in the Lismore region
We’d like to remind the community that there is a new drive-through testing at Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre (GSAC), 50 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah. This clinic also accepts walk-ins.
The clinic will be open from 8am to 4pm Friday 17, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September at this stage. PAGE 2 OF 2

Other clinics located in Lismore are:
• • _Lismore Base Hospital – Uralba Street, Lismore, open seven days, 9am-5pm. Appointments not required
• • _Lismore 4Cyte Pathology Drive-through Clinic – 47-49 Dawson Street, Lismore. Open Saturday and Sunday 8am-2pm, appointments not required
• • _Lismore Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology – 62 Wyrallah Road, Shop 12, Wyrallah Road Shopping Centre, Lismore. Open Monday – Saturday, appointments not required
• • _Southern Cross University Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology Drive-through Clinic Military Road, Southern Cross University, East Lismore. Open Tuesday to Friday, appointments not required.

For those outside of the area, there are more than 500 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic visit COVID-19 testing clinics or contact your GP.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Warning issued ahead of planned unauthorised protest activity

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Warning issued ahead of planned unauthorised protest activity

Police are warning would-be protesters to stay at home this weekend, with a significant police operation to be launched in response to planned unauthorised protest activity.

Preparations are underway for a highly visible and mobile police operation to disrupt any protests and prevent mass gatherings across the state.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott warned anyone thinking of protesting this weekend to stay at home, and not come into the city.

“There is no doubt that these protests are a risk to public health – for the community, for police as well as for the individual health of the protesters themselves,” Mr Elliott said.

“We’ve seen past protesters end up contracting COVID-19, so anyone who is still considering protesting needs take a good hard look at themselves.”

Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon, Metropolitan Field Operations, said the operation would mirror previous operations, which had been extremely successful in preventing and disrupting protest activity.

“We are continuing to monitor online commentary ahead of tomorrow and have put in place an extremely mobile police operation with significant resources, to respond to whatever situation we are faced with.

“I have said before and I will say it again – we take the health and safety of the community extremely seriously.

“I would again appeal to the community to do your part to protect your loved ones and the wider community by staying at home, unless you are complying with the requirements of the public health order.

“Engaging in an unauthorised protest does not comply with the public health order and anyone choosing to attend or participate for that purpose should expect to be met by the police and face penalties ranging from a fine to being arrested.”

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