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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

MASKING THE GREAT COMMUNITY DIVIDE ON COVID

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MASKING THE GREAT COMMUNITY DIVIDE ON COVID
The unidentified ‘No Mask’ poster appearing in some businesses in the Northern Rivers

MASKING THE GREAT COMMUNITY DIVIDE ON COVID

By Margaret Dekker

Community stalwarts say tensions are growing across the Northern Rivers as some businesses opt out of enforcing public health orders on masks and QR code sign-ins in their shops and cafes, instead displaying alternative signs.

Across Byron and Tweed shires, the poster “No Mask, We Don’t Ask” has gone up (pictured) in shop windows and on shop walls, advising,

“To our valued customers. The NSW government has mandated mask use indoors but please be aware if you’re not wearing one we will assume you’re exempt, no questions asked.  We don’t do judgements, shaming or discrimination here, so please know you will be warmly welcomed and respected however you show up,” it reads.

The poster doesn’t make clear who has written, authorised or distributed it.

Long-time local campaigner and Flattening the Curve spokesperson, Nicqui Yazdi, told The Northern Rivers Times she knows firsthand of the hostility the posters have caused.  She says in Bangalow, an unidentified woman tried to put one up in the window of café Butcher and Baker without permission.  The woman, who wasn’t wearing a mask, was told to leave but the attempt left staff fuming.

In Byron Bay, clothing store Nikau was among the first to place the sign in its Fletcher Street window (pictured) they’re in windows in Mullumbimby including Eden’s Landing Health Foods and Lulu’s café and on the Tweed Coast, Nectar juice bar at Cabarita Beach displays the poster.

On its social media page, Nectar posted,

“Whilst we are taking the current Covid situation very seriously and our staff are wearing masks for yours and our safety – we do not know your situation.  If you choose not to wear one, that is your prerogative.  Everyone is welcome in our café,” Nectar’s facebook page read to mixed responses from followers.

Nicqui Yadzi, who lives in Mullumbimby, says on the streets, public displays of personal opinions about COVID -19 are going too far.  She says a local woman, a distinguished artist, was verbally abused by a busker because of wearing her mask.  The ordeal left the woman shaken and reluctant to go out again.

“That s-it should not happen” Nicqui said.

“Everyone who lives in Mullumbimby is a part of the community who recognised each other’s differences and carried the same soul but since COVID, that’s just been ripped apart,” she said.

Nicqui knows of family relationships, old friends and friendship groups that are strained because of conflicting views about the pandemic, and public health orders.

But it’s Mullumbimby’s national reputation that’s getting hardest hit and stigmatised she says, despite many people in the ‘Biggest Little Town in Australia’ in fact elderly and conservative,

“People in Queensland are reading articles about Mullumbimby and it’s now being seen in a bad light and yet anti-vaxxers are a minority but a vocal, loud minority.  Mullum still is old school and old conservative Mullumbimby is finding it really hard,” Nicqui Yazdi said.

 

 

 

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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