Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill has pleaded with visitors to stay away from the Blue Mountains over the Easter long weekend.
His call came as people continued to visit the Blue Mountains on the weekend despite a public health order issued by the state government on March 31 restricting public movements to essential trips only in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.
"But we saw on the weekend just past that 'weekenders' and 'day trippers' are continuing to visit the Blue Mountains despite the minister's order," said the mayor.
"We had large groups of people gathering in parks, despite our formal playgrounds and barbecue areas being closed. Police had to move these people on.
"We even saw people jumping over barricades to access Echo Point and walking tracks.
"I urge visitors to take the public health order seriously, for the sake of your own health as well as the health of my community."
Breaching the public health order is an offence and NSW Police are enforcing the order.
Anyone that has information regarding individuals or business contravening the COVID-19 order is urged to contact Crime stoppers and make a report. Further information is available at https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/
"Council rangers do not have the authority to fine those who are not complying with the COVID-19 orders," said the mayor.
Both the mayor and State Member for Blue Mountains Trish Doyle have asked the NSW Premier to encourage people to stay at home over this period, and to not visit regional areas like the Blue Mountains.
"We have also suggested that another public health order be considered that limits travel distance, other than for emergency services, over the Easter holiday."
Blue Mountains City Council closed Echo Point to the public on April 1 until further notice. This followed the closure of council's 56 formal playgrounds, skate parks and barbecue facilities.
"Blue Mountains City Council has been quick to take the measures required to safeguard the health of our community at this time of crisis," said the mayor. "I ask again that visitors do not visit the Blue Mountains at this time, to stop the spread of COVID-19."
Read the full Public Health Order, including what constitutes a 'reasonable excuse', what is closed, open and restricted, and what penalties apply for breaching the Order: preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/public-health-orders