AS we watch the numbers and hope for a downward trend in cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, many in NSW are worried.
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Woolworths chains are now asking customers to wear a mask in their stores in NSW as well as Victoria.
Queensland has closed its borders to all residents of Great Sydney, which will have a huge impact on our already struggling aviation industry.
Local Port Stephens jobs have already been lost in this sector.
In Sydney there are calls to make wearing masks mandatory now, before the cases spike as they have in Greater Melbourne.
Port Stephens Business Chamber President Leah Anderson is also advocating for masking up now.
In a statement the Committee for Sydney called for face masks to be made mandatory in public places in Sydney.
Anderson wants to see a similar initiative here in Port Stephens.
The advocacy group said that the move would help to slow the spread of COVID-19 infections and reduce the need for Sydney to go back into lockdown.
CEO of the Committee for Sydney, Gabriel Metcalf said “It’s time to require masks in Sydney.
“Doing so now may be our best chance to avoid a second lockdown.”
Anderson wants to avoid a second lockdown especially in light of the number of businesses that have now changed their operations due to recent local cases.
“NSW has had an exemplary response to the pandemic and is doing an incredible job with contract tracing and testing.
“It may turn out that this focus on known clusters and contact tracing is enough to crush the virus.
“But if the numbers get large, they will overwhelm the ability of contract tracing to work.
“A requirement to wear masks could be an essential tool for reducing community transmission and allowing Sydney to avoid the fate of Melbourne.”
“The real hope here is that if enough people wear masks, we can avoid the more draconian options – avoid a second lockdown and a repeated start-stop-restart cycle which would devastate our economy and cause intense hardship with consequences for years.”
Leah Anderson of the Tomaree Business Chamber said, “If it is a choice between wearing masks or a second lockdown, wearing a mask makes simple sense.”
She acknowledges that there are no easy choices.
However she believes that getting people to wear masks isn’t the only solution, but that it could play a pivotal role in driving down infections and getting our region back to normality sooner and faster.
By Marian SAMPSON