Cumberland City Mayor has vowed to push ahead with a 500 person Australia Day event in his area, saying dumping events over COVID-19 fears is “unAustralian”.
Mayor Steve Christou presides over the suburb of Berala which is currently dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. There have been 26 cases linked to the outbreak so far, including three new cases reported in the most recent update from NSW Health.
But Mr Christou said despite the outbreak, cancelling events was “unAustralian” and a “lazy excuse” not to implement CovidSafe practices in an interview with the Sun Herald.
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“It’s been over a year and there’s no end in sight. I think we have to accept that coronavirus is here for the foreseeable future, and our people have been through enough,” he said in another interview with 9 News.
“First, the devastating bushfires, then COVID. How much more can people take? You can’t keep cancelling on people, and shutting everything down.
“Businesses are going broke, families are going broke. Families are breaking up. So we need to start planning around this virus and we believe we can do that successfully.
Mr Christou said other councils should follow the lead of Cumberland City, adding that “people deserve a bit of joy”.
Mayor Christou said he’s “not concerned at all” about putting the community at risk, saying the council previously held a successful 750 person Carols By Candlelight event in December in Auburn Botanical Gardens.
“There’s no reason why we can’t hold a successful event with COVID guidelines in place.”
He said holding large events could be done safely by following health guidelines and having a CovidSafe plan in place.
“I believe the maximum people allowed in will be 500 people. We’ll have marshalls at the door handing out hand sanitisers, counting everyone that goes in and face masks as well.
“That’s how you plan a successful event.”
The Cumberland City Council will hold a citizenship ceremony in Granville on Australia Day, January 26, as well as a celebration at Holroyd Gardens, according to the Sun Herald.
“Any cancellation of an Australia Day event is un-Australian and a cheap and lazy excuse to not conduct a COVID-safe event,” he told the newspaper.