MidCoast LGA ventures out of lockdown after mixed messaging


THERE was confusion, lobbying and finally a reprieve for the 95,000 residents of the MidCoast Council area which was eventually added to the list of LGA’s that came out of lockdown over the weekend.

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Initially anyone from the region listening to the 11am press conference about regions being released from lockdown could have been forgiven for assuming that Midcoast Council was part of the Mid Coast region being released by the NSW Government.

Sadly, this is yet another instance where communication around the pandemic could certainly have been clearer.

Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead said he was “delighted” at the eventual decision to release the MidCoast Council area from lockdown.

“Upon learning that MidCoast LGA was not scheduled to come out of lockdown, I asked the Deputy Premier to have that decision reviewed by NSW Health.

“I am delighted that we have achieved the outcome I have been lobbying for. It goes to show not to give up.

“Thank you to the Deputy Premier and NSW Heath for listening to our community.” Mr Bromhead said.

The MidCoast LGA recorded two positive Covid-19 cases in the four weeks up to 11 September.

However residents of Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest still can’t simply run down to Raymond Terrace for supplies as Port Stephens is still in lockdown and has several active cases.

Some residents of the Myall Coast are, like people in many regional areas, still waiting for access to the Pfizer vaccine.

Geoff Staples of Bulahdelah has simply had enough.

He has been asking his local doctor for an appointment for his handicapped son to get a Pfizer jab for months and has only just been able to secure an appointment on 28 October 2021 for the first shot which means his son won’t be fully immunised and protected until the end of November.

Geoff fears this will be too late for the community as regional travel has been touted to restart before then.

Geoff Staples told News Of The Area, “We have been thrown under the bus and I am not happy.”

Douglas Staples has recently secured a job as an apprentice butcher, however Geoff is concerned about him working in this front line role if the regions are opened before he has a chance to be vaccinated.

He is seeking assurances that the regions will have ample opportunity to get Pfizer or Moderna Vaccines if that is what is recommended by the TGA before we open up.

“Opening up the regions to Sydney before the community has access to all the vaccines is murder.”

The new freedoms for the MidCoast include; Up to five visitors will be allowed in a home (not including children 12 and under); up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings; venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms can reopen with capacity limits; retail stores, hairdressers and other personal services businesses can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule; sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen and schools will be back with face to face learning.

The cinema and other indoor entertainment and information facilities are all able to reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.

Weddings and funerals can now go ahead with 50 guests and churches and places of worship are able to reopen under the 4 sqm rule but there is no singing allowed.

Movement and inter region travel is allowed within the areas not in lockdown.

Masks remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes and at airports.



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