One of NSW’s biggest music festivals is on hold after the state confirmed its first community-based case of coronavirus in weeks.
The Byron Bay Blues Festival, which attracts thousands of revelers each year, was due to start on Thursday.
But confirmation that a man in his 20s contracted the virus after a visit to the Byron Beach hotel over the weekend has cast a cloud over the five-day event.
Ticket holders affected by a 3-day lockdown in Brisbane will no longer be able to attend, with festival organizers vowing to notify customers of any further changes as soon as possible.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the event is safe against COVID,” a statement said on the festival website.
“We will keep ticket buyers informed and advise them to keep themselves informed through their state government guidance as well.”
Minister of State for Health Brad Hazzard said the next 24 hours will be crucial for the event.
“It would have been better if the Bluesfest had happened maybe in a few months, rather than now,” said Mr. Hazzard.
“It’s important and complex to weigh the competing interests of trying to let people do what we’ve always done in New South Wales and that’s having as much freedom as possible… but also making sure that people stay safe. ”
With a busy lineup including Jimmy Barnes, Kasey Chambers and other well-known names, the 32nd annual Bluesfest is set to take place April 1-5.
However, ticket holders affected by the Brisbane lockdown will no longer be able to attend.
The event was canceled in 2020, with vendors hoping it will take place this year.
You can check out the most recent festival details here.
Queensland epidemic spreads between states
Masks will become mandatory in places such as shops and public transport in northern New South Wales, as well as a series of other new restrictions introduced from Wednesday.
The new rules were imposed for local government areas including Byron, Ballina, Tweed and Lismore after a man in his 20s tested positive for COVID-19.
The man, who self-isolated, traveled to the same location in Byron Bay as a hen party, which is linked to several cases in Queensland.
The new infection will be included in Thursday’s figures and her household contacts have tested negative.
The rules will limit gatherings to 30 people and return to the “four square meters” rule for reception areas.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the restrictions would be in place at least until Tuesday.
“We strongly prefer that if you live in one of these four local government areas, you do not move outside of these areas,” Ms. Berejiklian said.
“We won’t be monitoring that, but this is very strong advice… if there is community transmission, we don’t want it to be broadcast in other parts of NSW.
“Since it’s Easter weekend, there’s a lot of movement… we don’t want a super-spread event like the northern beaches that then forces us to go deeper.
There were no plans to close the NSW-Queensland border or further tighten “proportionate” restrictions.
The prime minister also said the government would not yet discourage vacationers from New South Wales from visiting Byron Bay.
Ms Berejiklian urged residents of New South Wales to cancel Easter holidays in Queensland, warning they could find themselves trapped if the lockdown is extended.
Public health alerts have been issued for a number of sites in the Byron Bay area as well as for sites in Ballina and East Ballina.
Those who frequented the Three Blue Ducks restaurant in Ewingsdale on March 28 are required to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of the outcome.
“ It feels good for Easter ”: Palaszczuk
Two new cases of coronavirus emerged in the Queensland community on Wednesday, one of them being a nurse at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.
The two cases bring the total number of community infections in the state to 17, along with two COVID-19 patients who initially spread the virus to hospital workers.
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said a decision on extending the Greater Brisbane lockdown, which is due to end at 5 p.m. on Thursday, will be made within the next 24 hours.
“Fingers crossed, we’ll be looking good for Easter,” Ms. Palaszczuk said.
The state is trying to run two separate clusters, both linked to healthcare workers at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, which is now on lockdown.
Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles has criticized the federal government over the outbreaks – blaming the slow rollout of the vaccine to health workers.
“We have not been certain of supplying our hospitals with the deployment of vaccines,” Miles said on Wednesday.
He said states are “doing what they can” but have been constrained by the slow distribution of Commonwealth supplies.