Kempsey Shire Council has moved to implement measures to swiftly reduce the number of guests in the Macleay Valley Coast Holiday Parks.
These steps have been carried out in line with the Prime Minister's request to Australians to limit all travel to essential or business-related purposes.
Council has worked closely with Australian Tourist Park Management who manage the Macleay Valley Coast Holiday Parks to assess the Government guidelines and the park operating procedures.
Moving forward, the five council-owned holiday parks at Grassy Head, Stuarts Point, Horseshoe Bay, Hat Head and Crescent Head are open for essential travel purposes only.
Those with new or existing bookings, including annual licence holders, will be contacted and asked to stay at home unless they establish that they are:
- Business travellers
- Travellers with no fixed address, such as retirees living in mobile homes
- Those in transit to their permanent residence (limit 3 night stay)
- Permanent holiday park residents
Guests currently on site will not be permitted to extend their bookings and will be asked to vacate by Sunday at the latest, unless they can establish that they qualify as essential travellers.
All facilities are currently below 65 per cent occupancy and the number of guests at these facilities is expected to rapidly reduce over the coming days.
Park managers will conduct strict monitoring of social distancing and cleaning regimes to safeguard remaining guests and the community.
"We are not open for holidays or holiday makers," Kempsey Shire Council general manager Craig Milburn said.
"Our immediate focus is making sure people who thought they would spend the Easter break in the holiday parks owned by council understand that their booking will only be kept if it is a legitimate part of essential travel."
Council is aware of community tension in the last few days surrounding the holiday parks and has heard from a number of local residents who have reached out to convey their concerns.
While council has no authority in these circumstances to close other accommodation facilities in the shire, including campsites, council will advise our tourism partners of the actions being taken.
"Other partners in the tourism and accommodation industries such as National Parks and hotels are aware of the seriousness of the issue and council is in contact with our industry partners to work together. Council don't have any authority to direct other businesses on their operations but will ensure that all directives from Government are communicated," Mr Milburn said.
Council is committed to taking effective actions to address the complex and unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We understand this is a trying time and there is legitimate confusion and fear among the community, but this is not a time for holidays," Kempsey Shire mayor Liz Campbell said.
"Council is managing the parts of this issue that are directly under our control but tourist accommodation in our coastal communities involves multiple moving parts. That is why we have closed our parks to holiday makers and hope that other organisations will do the same. Australians need to stay at home."
Further details about the specific time frames, classifications of park users and measures being taken within the parks are available at www.macleayvalleycoastholidayparks.com.au
For more information on the COVID-19 please visit the Australian Government Department of Health website: https://www.health.gov.au/
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