Businesses, community members and police work together to keep the Nambucca Valley Covid-free


LOCAL businesses, community members and police have been working together to keep the Nambucca Valley Covid-free as the New South Wales outbreak continues.

There hasn’t been a case of coronavirus on the Mid North Coast for more than 400 days, according to Anthony Smith, Acting Inspector – Nambucca Valley Police, who said businesses and community members have been reporting suspected breaches of Covid-19 rules to police since the latest outbreak began in Sydney, but at a lower rate than during previous outbreaks when New South Wales case numbers were low and people were more concerned about interstate travellers.

“There are very few people ignoring the rules, but there have definitely been some,” Smith said, noting that most reports to police involved suspected travel-ban violations rather than breaches of rules such as mask-wearing.

“We’re also taking plenty of phone calls from community members and businesses with questions about the rules.

“We’re trying to give sound advice about the rules because they change all the time.”

People showing “obvious disregard for the rules” will face fines, Smith said, however he stressed that, where possible, officers were aiming to educate rather than punish, and called on businesses and community members to contact police with any concerns or questions.

“If they think there’s a breach or they’re uncertain, give us a ring, that’s what we’re there for,” he said.
“It takes the whole community to fight this.

“Everyone has to play their part.”

As well as helping ensure customers follow the rules, local businesses have been taking proactive steps to keep the community safe.

Nambucca Bowls Club CEO Paul Coulton said his venue had temporarily closed its caravaning facilities to discourage people visiting from affected areas, and had had to turn some customers away.

“Because we’re such a small club, we know who our regulars are, so any time we see a strange face in here, we ask for a driver’s licence or proof of address,” he said, adding that people from the greater Sydney area would be moved on “and in some cases we’d notify the local liquor accord and potentially contact the police”.

Coulton said he saw it as a responsibility for businesses like his to “be a community leader” under the current circumstances.

“We’ve got an ageing demographic so we need to avoid the virus spreading up here,” he said.

“We’d love to have the caravaning open but at the end of the day, it’s about keeping people safe.”

Nambucca RSL Club CEO Wendy Mills said her venue hadn’t had many customers from the greater Sydney region attempting to enter the venue but that most people they had needed to turn away have been “pretty good and understanding”.

“We’ve only had one person who’s been abusive,” she said, noting that it is hard on staff when people disregard the rules.

As well as taking precautions such as doing temperature checks at the door and ensuring tables are continuously sanitised, the RSL is offering free home delivery of takeaway food and alcoholic beverages in Nambucca Heads, and is poised to convert the foyer into a convenience store, as it did during the 2020 lockdown, should the need arise.

Mills said that if the virus continues to spread across the state, the RSL will introduce further measures for the community.

“If it gets worse, if need be, we’ll make it so only local people come in,” she said.

“Our priority is to look after local people.”


By Brooke LEWIS

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