Beachgoers head back into the surf as carparks around Byron Bay reopen.
Beachgoers head back into the surf as carparks around Byron Bay reopen.

Byron’s back to business

BYRON Bay is once again recognisable as the backpacker paradise that it was just mere months ago as carparks reopen for public use, pubs prepare to open their doors to 50 plus patrons, and tourists return to the iconic beaches.

Carparks at The Pass, Captain Cook, Tallow Beach and Broken Head were finally reopened to eager beachgoers yesterday (Friday May 29), with the exception of Main Beach.

Main Beach carpark remains temporarily closed after it was resurfaced last week. Staff will be doing line-marking work next week with the area expected to reopen on June 5.

Council will also be installing security cameras in the carpark to deter anti-social behaviour, which was a problem prior to its closure because of the COVID-19-pandemic.

Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said the closure of Main Beach carpark had been a rare gem for locals because it was an opportunity to see what the area might look like if it was open space.

“There was no way we could have closed that carpark for two months just to see what it would look like without cars, so COVID-19 presented an unexpected opportunity,” Mayor Richardson said.

Carparks on Seven Mile Beach Road at Broken Head and Scarrabelottis Lookout will remain temporarily closed to deter gatherings of illegal campers. Time limits at South Beach Road at Brunswick Heads will remain in place until July.

Pubs will open to 50 patrons (more for larger venues) from Monday June 1, and the excitement from the locals is palpable. In past weeks, the number of people wandering the streets of Byron Bay has gradually increased, with crowds expected to grow as travel restrictions ease.

ClubsNSW announced in a statement that certain venues could even welcome up to 500 guests, in accordance with the number of restaurants and cafes inside the clubs.

“For example, a club with two restaurants and one cafe can admit up to 150 people at any one time, on the basis of 1 person per 4 square metres and on the condition that those eateries are open at all relevant times,” the statement said.

“Under these arrangements, clubs can permit patrons in the bar and gaming rooms up to the venue capacity and with 1.5 metres physical distancing in all areas. Staff and contractors are not included in the capacity limit.”