The Byron Bay community is responding to an active COVID case

Byron Bay companies are anxiously awaiting the results of COVID-19 contact tracking and testing after a worker at the Aquarius Backpacker Hostel tested positive for the virus on Wednesday and more than 80 people were identified as close contacts.

The accommodation facility is halfway through a 48-hour ‘stop and stay’ order issued Wednesday afternoon following the discovery of the positive COVID-19 case.

Wayne Jones of the Northern New South Wales Local Health District said the orders would give authorities time to conduct contact tracing and assess vaccination status of people at the hostel.

So far, the health district has identified 81 guests and staff on site as close contacts and has asked them to isolate themselves.

four young people on a balcony looking down
Guests at the Aquarius backpacker hostel are under a 48-hour lockdown following a confirmed case of COVID-19.(ABC North Coast: Miranda Saunders)

Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce President Jason Bentley said local traders felt concerned about what the positive case could mean for the wider community.

“Contact tracking over the next 48 hours will be interesting to reveal where this person could have visited,” said Mr. Bentley.

Local store owner Natalie McGarry said businesses had increased restrictions on the number of people entering stores.

Byron Bay's clothing store employee Natalie McGarry is standing in front of a store she works in.
Natalie McGarry hopes the positive case will not affect retail.

“I think everyone is convinced that this will not throw us back into some kind of lockdown. I think it has just kicked everyone into gear by being more vigilant about checking in,” he said. she.

“Like a hundred different thoughts come into your mind about what’s going to happen from it, but at the same time I have confidence to believe that we’ve done it and we’ve done it a few times now, and hopefully things are been put in. place so it does not affect us, “she said.

Byron Bay cafe employee Arthur Ferrandez said he hoped the new case would not affect increased trade from the annual school week and the upcoming holiday season.

“Hopefully they can just contain it and let the city be what it should be,” he said.

“It has to be busy for companies to thrive, to be honest.

Byron Bay cafe employee Arthur Ferrandez stands at the bar of the cafe he works at.
Byron Bay cafe employee Arthur Ferrandez says he hopes new cases will not affect trade. (Photo: Miranda Saunders)

On Wednesday, guests at the backpacker hostel were confined to their rooms as health authorities conducted contact tracing and tested each person for the virus.

A guest from North Queensland told ABC that the person with COVID-19 was a housekeeper at the hostel.

“She’s probably been in every room, so yeah,” he said.

A German traveler said the cottage fever was not yet on its way.

“We’ll probably have to play Monopoly or something. We’ll have to get creative over the next few days to prevent ourselves from going crazy.”

Police Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe said he was comfortable with the measures being taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 after the confirmed case.

Specialist police from across the state were ordered to travel to Byron Bay to monitor school festivities in the coming weeks.

Chief Inspector Kehoe said police had sufficient resources to also ensure that guests at the hostel continued to comply with the “stop and stay” order.

“We have already put planning in place in terms of extra policing and they will not be taken away from our existing resources,” he said.

A pop-up COVID-19 test clinic will operate at the Cavanbah Sports Complex in Ewingsdale today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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