Residents and authorities are breathing easy after tourists have heeded their calls to stay away from the Port Stephens region over the Easter holiday break.
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Usually bustling with visitors from around Australia and abroad the Tomaree Peninsula was a ghost town compared to this time last year.
The Port Stephens Tourist Information Centre reported that “there were no holiday bookings in line with the current Public Health Orders on COVID-19 and the centre had experienced minimal traffic with only essential travellers enquiring at this time.”
Local cafe owner Lyle Goodman said that while the holiday trade was non-existent, locals were still out and about exercising and grabbing their takeaway coffees.
“The mad rush isn’t on but the locals are still supporting business,” said Mr Goodman.
“It’s got a real sense of calm and community at the moment, businesses rely on tourism and they’ll be back, the town just feels balanced at a time like this.”
Even though the streets have been empty, local core-lords are still filling the ocean as waveriders attempt to safely dominate the Easter swells.
Trent Hanson, surfer and troopcarrier enthusiast said “there was a fairly busy line-up at Box Beach but most surfers were staying well away from each other and the portal.”
As the curve continues to flatten in Australia, a NSW Health statement released on Easter Monday warned that now is not the time to be complacent for communities like Port Stephens.
“The daily rate of increase in COVID-19 cases has fallen over the past fortnight, with the rate of increase in the past 24 hours being less than 1%, compared with 9% observed in the 24 hours a fortnight ago,” said the statement.
“This is welcome news but there is still a long way to go before restrictions are lifted, now is the time we need people to be vigilant and stay the course.”
By Mitch LEES