Covid deniers plan to create their own anti-vax haven in northern NSW to escape restrictions that keep them from socializing or living freely elsewhere.
Mullumbimby, a 15-minute drive from Byron Bay, is being touted as a potential safe haven for those with alternative views who insist on defying science-backed government orders.
The region is considered Australia’s anti-vaccination capital, with only 39 percent of residents fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
But rising house prices, with a median price of more than $1.5 million, could hamper the plans of many Covid deniers.
A ‘call to arms’ among unbelievers is gaining traction within closed Facebook groups, urging the community to stay strong in their beliefs in the face of intense public scrutiny.
There are companies that advertise that they only serve unvaccinated customers, and others assure that they won’t ask questions.
Locals in the area who agree with the move say Mullumbimby is by far the most hesitant of the NSW towns on the north coast, and would therefore be the easiest to get over
Rogue companies making their own signs that go against the regulations of the NSW government.
Some anti-vaxxers have suggested that if enough people move from their own towns to Mullumbimby, they could “take over” and expel locals who are not in line with their values.
“We should all move out, outrun the sheep and vote Free People on the council,” one woman suggested.
Of Free People, the anti-vaxxer said she was talking about “we, the free ones of tyranny.”
With an elected Covid denier in power at the local level, the group hoped they would be free to move as they pleased, with no mandatory masks, QR check-in codes or the need to be fully vaccinated.
As of mid-October, NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian has indicated that Sydneysiders will be released from a 17-week lockdown, but only if they are double stabbed.
Those who have been vaccinated against Covid are given new freedoms, including visiting bars, hair and beauty salons, gyms and restaurants.
Unvaccinated people remain under strict lockdown orders.
Outspoken Covid denier Maria Zaric (pictured wearing a tinfoil hat) has often encouraged her followers to boycott all companies that need a vaccine to get in — not realizing they wouldn’t be welcome there because of their refusal to be pricked.
Industries are increasingly demanding that workers be pinned for their jobs — another problem noted by the anti-vaxxers they want to change into their new society.
Instead, businesses in the ‘free world’ will be owned, operated and staffed by people who are as anti-bully as any patron.
Businesses are also likely to be “cash only” as many of the conspiracy theorists also believe that the government is trying to introduce a cashless society as a means of controlling the population.
“The point where we refuse to take that vaccine means we’re stepping out of the newly established social credit system,” someone explained bizarrely.
“Digital currency is next and we won’t be able to access it if we’re not in the social credit system. We are outliers and need strategies beyond normal parameters to survive what’s to come.’
Childhood vaccination rates are among the lowest in Australia in the city, with just 68.2 percent of annuals fully immunized, compared to 94.9 percent nationwide
A sign attached to a business in Mullumbimby where some shops are banning vaccinated customers
Locals in the area who agree with the move say that Mullumbimby is by far the most hesitant of the towns on the north coast of NSW, and would therefore be the easiest to traverse.
There are already companies that have signed up to ban recently vaccinated customers.
They mistakenly believe that people who have recently had the shot are the ones who are spreading the virus.
Childhood vaccination rates are among the lowest in Australia in the city, with just 68.2 percent of annuals fully immunized, compared to 94.9 percent nationwide.
Nearby Byron Bay, long considered a breeding ground for anti-vaccination, was banned for all the “wealthy who made the town trendy.”
The median home price in Mullumbimby is over $1.5 million. The humble home above is currently listed for $1.1 million
“It’s overrun with them now,” one person complained. ‘Not the place to be if you don’t want to wear a face mask.’
There were suggestions that anti-vaxxers should create a ‘Mullumbimby-style paradise’ in every state and territory of Australia, to ensure that people who cannot travel between states still have the opportunity to live the way they want.
Outspoken Covid denier Maria Zaric has often encouraged her followers to boycott all companies that require a vaccine to get in — not realizing that they wouldn’t be welcome there because of their refusal to be pricked.
When asked if she would consider moving to a designated “anti-covid paradise” as suggested, she revealed she would be interested to see if something similar was possible.
In the meantime, she has encouraged her followers to hold on to their beliefs and not get carried away by promises of freedom from the government.
Vaccines are the only way out of repeated cycles of lockdown in Australia, tried and tested as a way to reduce Covid-related deaths and hospitalizations.
Although the vaccine does not completely stop the spread of the virus, it reduces the transmissibility and severity of the disease in patients.
The region is Australia’s anti-vaccination capital with just 39 percent of residents fully vaccinated against Covid-19
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Meetings in the home and public areas
· A maximum of five visitors are allowed in a house where all adults have been vaccinated (not including children aged 12 and under).
· Up to 20 people can gather outside.
Locations including catering, shops and gyms
· Catering establishments can open again provided that one person per 4 m² inside and one person per 2 m² outside, standing and drinking is allowed outside.
· Shops can reopen under the rule of one person per 4 m² (unvaccinated people can only access critical shops).
· Personal services such as hairdressers and nail studios are allowed to open with one person per 4 m², with a maximum of five customers per building.
· Gyms and indoor recreational facilities are allowed to open under the rule of one person per 4 m² and can offer classes for up to 20 people.
· Sports facilities including swimming pools can open again.
Stadiums, theaters and large outdoor recreational facilities
· Major outdoor recreational facilities, including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos, are allowed to reopen with one person per 4 m², with a maximum of 5,000 people.
· Up to 500 people can attend outdoor events with tickets and seating.
· Indoor entertainment and information facilities, including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries, may reopen with one person per 4 m² or 75 percent fixed seating capacity.
Weddings, funerals and places of worship
· Up to 50 guests can attend weddings, dancing is allowed and eating and drinking only while seated.
· Up to 50 guests can attend funerals, eat and drink seated.
· Churches and places of worship may be opened for one person per line of 4 m², without singing.
· Domestic travel, including travel to regional NSW, is permitted.
· Caravan parks and camping areas are allowed to open.
· Carpooling is allowed.
Unvaccinated youths under the age of 16 have access to all outdoor environments, but can only visit indoor sites with members of their household.
Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so.
There will be revised guidelines on isolation for close and informal contacts who have been fully vaccinated, with details to be provided closer to the reopening date.
· Masks remain mandatory for all indoor public places, including public transportation, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on airplanes and at airports.
· Only catering staff is obliged to wear a mouth mask outside.
· Children under the age of 12 are not required to wear a mask indoors.