Tweed Shire Council staff remove barriers from the Tweed Coast beach side parking areas after council voted to ease restrictions in line with the State Government. Photo: Scott Powick
Tweed Shire Council staff remove barriers from the Tweed Coast beach side parking areas after council voted to ease restrictions in line with the State Government. Photo: Scott Powick

What stage one of Australia's recovery plan means for Tweed

PANDEMIC restrictions might have eased but according to Tweed's leaders there is still a long road to recovery ahead.

The changes for NSW include reopening cafes and restaurants, as well as playgrounds.

But there will still be tight limits in place, with cafes and restaurants capped to a maximum of 10 diners.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest said there might be a longer wait for some eateries to reopen.

He said the 10-person restriction for cafes and restaurants would mean it was not economically viable for some local businesses to reopen.

Tweed Chamber of Commerce president and Tweed Shire councillor Warren Polglase agreed.

He explained the limited customer numbers might not be enough to support putting on staff for in-house service.

"They need the numbers to make money," Mr Polglase said.

"Everyone understands it is a precautionary approach to stop people swarming the joint.

"A lot of the butchers are doing very well at the moment because people are eating at home more … but most of our traders are saying the trade is still very, very quiet."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced at the weekend that people will be allowed to gather in groups of 10 outdoors and have five visitors at their home.

Weddings will now be able to have 10 guests, and funerals will be able to have 20 people inside and 30 outside.

Religious gatherings will be allowed to congregate in groups of 10.

The move follows the announcement on Friday of the national cabinet's new plan to ease the country out of lockdown.

But Ms Berejiklian will not budge on allowing local and regional travel.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Ms Berejiklian said the government had already eased a number of restrictions listed under the first stage of the plan.

NSW students began attending school in stages on Monday.

Mr Provest said the easing gave families who lived in separate houses the opportunity to reunite.

He urged the public to still abide by social distancing.

"If we get an outbreak, restrictions can come back really quickly," Mr Provest said.

Mr Provest encouraged residents to download the Covidsafe app to help with identifying the spread of the virus.

"It is a tool to track this thing and I don't have any safety or security concerns," he said.

"I'm very proud of the way the Tweed has embraced these restrictions for the betterment of the community … If things go to plan I think we will see some restrictions lifted in the next fortnight to level two and then maybe in a month's time to level three.

Mr Polglase said local business owners' concerns lay when the JobKeeper payments stopped and other Centrelink payments returned to the amounts before the coronavirus.

"Nearly a third of our population in the Tweed are retired with limited spending capacity and a lot of the rest of people are part-time or casual workers," he said.

"Their underlying concern is about where they are going to finish up at the end of this - where are people's spending capacities going to be?

"The closure of the border hasn't helped us as a lot of our trade comes from Coolangatta and across the border.

"So for these three or four months, they (local businesses) are just hanging in there for now but they can't hang in there for much longer.

"Come September when the government initiatives stop, where is the money going to come from? The tourism industry can't take many bookings because there is no interstate travel yet and not much travel allowed within the state. These restrictions certainly aren't bust to boom."

Health Minister Brad Hazzard insists NSW won't be corralled into moving too fast given the state has the largest population and the highest number of COVID-19 cases.

"People are just bursting at the seams to get back, but I'd say be careful in what you wish for, because while that virus is still among us we are all vulnerable.



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