Tourists welcome but with caution

Echo Point and other closed areas in the Mountains are likely to be reopened to visitors from early June but the mayor remains concerned about social distancing.

Echo Point: The popular lookout is likely to be reopened in early June.

Echo Point: The popular lookout is likely to be reopened in early June.

The premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced on Tuesday that people will be able to travel to regional areas of the state from June 1.

Blue Mountains mayor, Mark Greenhill, welcomed the expected boost for struggling businesses which rely on tourist dollars but also issued a note of caution.

""From the recovery point of view, we hope to see our local businesses receive increased revenue that can re-enliven job opportunities. Our community needs to recover after the fires and COVID-19," he said.

"Visitors will always be welcome in the Blue Mountains. They are our economic lifeblood. However, the sudden change of pace from the state government has come as a surprise.

"There is a missing piece, in my view. There has been no strategy around how areas like the Blue Mountains manage the challenge to reinforce social distancing in the face of increased visitation."

Cr Greenhill said council would abide by the state government instructions and reopen popular destinations, such as Echo Point and Lincoln's Rock at Wentworth Falls.

"We want to see our businesses recover and people be able to come here and visit safely. But the worst outcome for people's health and for our businesses would be a second wave or a local spike," Cr Greenhill said.

There have been 27 cases of COVID-19 in the Mountains and no deaths. But the influx of visitors from Sydney areas which have recorded many more cases and multiple deaths has the mayor worried.

"What is the government strategy to reinforce clear messaging around social distancing when we have seen it breached in such large numbers over recent weekends?"

He has twice written to Ms Berejiklian, asking her and her health minister, Brad Hazzard, to re-emphasise the need for social distancing.

"As a world renowned destination within a few hours drive of Sydney CBD, we are, and will continue to be, popular for Sydneysiders seeking excitement after lockdown."

He pointed out the Mountains has an older population than many other local government areas, leaving its residents vulnerable.

"I am asking for strongly worded communications from both the minister for health and the premier for people to comply with social distancing requirements."

A spokeswoman for the state government said current public health orders to reduce the risk of community transmission are enforceable by NSW police.

In places open to the public, whether outdoor or indoor, there must be sufficient room to allow for four square metres of space for each person.

"As our community becomes more active and gets back to business, it's important that everybody in NSW follows rules for gatherings that apply to individuals and businesses.

"The NSW Government has provided clear guidance about the importance of maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others, practising good hand hygiene, taking extra care if you're around vulnerable people and getting tested even if you only have mild symptoms.

"All members of the public need to follow these measures so that NSW can continue to move forward," she said.