Thrilled to get out after 'months of being stuck at home'
BYRON locals have braved today's less than perfect weather to enjoy their favourite social hotspots for the first time since March.
Families and friends could be seen hitting the beach, playgrounds, restaurants and cafes today, rugged up in their wet weather gear, enjoying every soggy minute of their new found freedoms.
As of Friday (May 15), cafes and restaurants are allowed to trade with 10 patrons, places of worship can seat 10 people, weddings can have up to 10 guests, indoor funerals can have 20 mourners, and outdoor funerals may have 30.
Furthermore, NSW will allow 5 visitors to a household at any one time, outdoor gatherings of 10 people, and the use of outdoor gym equipment, playgrounds, and public pools.
"It's been great getting the kids out of the house for a bit of fresh air and a run around. After months of being stuck at home a bit of bad weather wasn't going to stop us," said one Byron beachgoer, who decided to brave the rain and take his family to the newly opened playground at Main Beach.
"From what we've seen most people are still keeping their distance. So, we're not too worried. But I guess we'll have to wait and see what they do when the weather clears up."
Business appears to have picked up around Byron Bay, but according to a favourite local café/bakery, many people are still opting for takeaway rather than eating in.
"It has been a pretty busy morning. There's been a lot more traffic through the doors today compared to the last few days," said a staff member.
"A few people are wanting to sit in but we're finding that most are still pretty content with takeaway. We haven't had to turn anyone away just yet."
While many are thrilled to be out and about once more, enjoying a sliver of pre-COVID normality, others are not so convinced. Some have taken to social media to express their concern.
"I think it's too early to open up cafes and restaurants as people are not social distancing now in supermarkets. With people allowed to visit it will only get worse, which is scary for all our elderly up here. People are irresponsible sadly and will blame the Government if and when we get a surge of the virus," one person posted.
"I am not sure why everyone is itching to go out. I think it's too early to relax the restrictions. I am still gonna hide at home where possible," said another.
As gathering restrictions relax, the Northern NSW Local Health district reminds residents remain vigilant and take their personal responsibility seriously.
Since Thursday (May 14), there have been two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Northern Rivers.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore/scratchy throat and shortness of breath, as well as other reported symptoms including loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite.
Find a COVID-19 clinic near you at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/symptoms-and-testing