By Steve Cuff
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated on countless occasions this week to “STAY AT HOME”.
And for good reason as Australia is trying to combat any major escalation in the COVID-19 virus. We don’t want to see our health system spiral to the disturbing numbers we see in other countries and deaths in the thousands. Remember, all those countries started with only minimal coronavirus cases like we have now.
The NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, who is implementing the current travel restrictions, and ensuring they are adhered to has also come out this week and said that if people participate in non-essential travel over Easter they can expect to be fined. We have seen Police in the mountains in recent weeks pulling over cars in relation to these restrictions.
Here in the Snowy Mountains Easter is “normally” one of the biggest holiday weekends of the whole year, and after the January bushfires left a huge dent in our summer tourism, it was hoped Easter would be a financial saviour.
That will not be the case now, and as much as it pains us here in the mountains to say it, along with other regional areas, now is not the time to visit.
The majority of businesses are closed, key attractions are closed for Easter, limited restaurants are offering only take away and with the current rules only essential businesses are operating as normal.
The National Parks have closed all campgrounds, the Thredbo Valley Track, the summit of Mount Kosciuszko including Lake Cootapatamba and the Kosciuszko Lookout near Thredbo are all closed.
If we are to combat the spread of the coronavirus we all need to do our best, which in case you have been hiding under a rock, is stay at home, have minimal contact with the outside world except for the essentials which have been advertised extensively through all media.
It will be quiet here in the mountains this coming week, but we are all happy to abide by the rules set by the Government in the hope that our winter season can progress as normal.
This is the big hope for this region now, that the snow season can go ahead and that this main tourist season for the Snowies can help restore some order to both the way of life and our local economy.
So, don’t be offended when you see people say, “please don’t visit”. We would in other circumstances be throwing open our doors and welcoming you with open arms. We have much to see here but the timing is not right now.
Many of our Easter visitors also indulge in the joys of the snow season. So, instead of visiting we urge you to abide by the rules and also preach to your wider circle of friends that the main hope for the winter is the next two to three weeks to see the virus numbers recede.
So far Australians have exhibited reasonable restraint in daily lives to help the authorities with their restrictive plans. But when we see the nightly news of people gathering in mass at beaches and parks, that hardly gives us any confidence we can continue to reduce the spread.
This week I found out two very good friends in the city have contracted COVID-19. One can be traced back to European travel, while the other source of infection is not known. Imagine how these people feel, plus the thousands of others who ‘could be’ or are also terribly sick. They could be your friends or your family who spread or even contract the virus. This situation is no joke, please take it serious.
When you think about it, complying to these current rules for a few months out of your entire future is not too much to ask, is it…?
In today’s city newspapers there is even talk of an easing of restrictions in May by the NSW Government for some businesses. But it comes with a cost. We must ADHERE NOW and stay away from people as best we can.
Wash your hands, use hand sanitiser, show caution in public places, stay 1.5 metres apart, only gather in maximum of 2 people and help reduce the spread.
Here in the Snowy Mountains, for the sake of our own health and limited hospital facilities, plus for our upcoming snow season, we hope everyone can do their best to adhere to the strict regulations and do not travel.
This Easter please be as diligent and STAY AT HOME, to help Flatten that Curve that could give us all an earlier reprieve from the restrictions and make some ski turns when the snow arrives.
Do the right thing in the next month to reduce coronavirus numbers and we could be skiing snow like this at Thredbo. Photo Thredbo Resort.