Non-essential travel to regional NSW towns and remote communities must be cancelled and Easter holidaymakers should indefinitely postpone their visits, in line with the nationwide effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said National Cabinet has clearly asked everyone to stay at home unless they are shopping for essentials, are receiving medical care, are undertaking daily exercise or are attending work or school.
“My message today is simple, now is not the time to travel from metropolitan areas to regional NSW for a holiday, for meetings, or even to relocate yourselves for a longer period – the safest thing you can do right now is stay in your community,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This also applies to people living in regional NSW towns, because the virus does not discriminate and does not care about borders, so now is not the time to travel between towns, whether it be for meetings or even to visit family and friends.
“To help slow the spread we need to do the right thing by our families, friends and neighbours, which means staying 1.5 metres away from others, avoid social gatherings, wash hands and ensure that if you are sick, that you self-isolate.”
Mr Barilaro said he is particularly worried about city residents using the upcoming Easter break to try and relocate themselves to regional NSW in an attempt to escape quarantine, which would be extremely dangerous for rural and remote communities.
“We continue to battle the worst drought in recorded history, we have endured bushfires that took the lives of 25 people and destroyed more than 2,400 homes and what we don’t need is people spreading the virus across regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said.
“I know towns hit hard by the drought and bushfires are relying on holidaymakers to keep people in jobs and put food on the table, but right now health and safety is paramount and lives depend on every single one of us doing our part by staying at home.”
Mr Barilaro said help is available to people across regional NSW, particularly people who are isolated and the elderly, and encouraged anyone who needs a hand to call the NSW Government’s COVID-19 hotline on 13 77 88.