Reality series Love Island is on track for an ugly break-up with the Byron Bay region, with mayor Michael Lyon declaring his intentions to revoke council approval for the production to be filmed after a crew member for another show tested positive for Covid-19.
A crew member working on the set of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Outta Here tested positive for Covid, prompting NSW Health to plunge Byron Bay, the Tweed Shire and Kempsey in northern NSW into a seven-day lockdown.
ITV studios is the production company that films both Celebrity and Love Island, with the latter now under a cloud.
Love Island, which is hosted by Sophie Monk, was estimated to pump $5 million into the local economy by being filmed there.
Mr Lyon posted to his Facebook page on Wednesday his desire to boot Love Island out of the region.
The show’s set is a mansion in the hinterland area of Federal – 25 minutes west of Byron Bay – which has been under construction for the past month.
Love Island was due to begin filming this weekend and the first episode was set to air on October 4.
“I am looking into our options this morning to rescind council approval for the Love Island production, from the same studios that brought I’m aCelebrity, and Covid, to the region,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
“As part of that approval issued recently, which allows them to film for longer than 30 days in Federal, I insisted on a 14-day isolation period whereby any cast or crew coming from an area with cases would not come into contact with people from our region.
“It is clear that this is not possible to implement given what has happened in the last few days. Council approval was only one part of the process, it hasn‘t yet had ministerial approval so I’d say it is unlikely to proceed.
“It is so devastating to be in lockdown again and it is clear the ‘honour’ system relied on by the state government is deeply flawed.
“It is worth noting that people coming here for work don’t actually have to show a negative Covid test, this was thankfully part of the filming protocol that allowed this early detection.
“Perhaps our calls for a tightening of restrictions will now finally be heeded.”
A crew member from Sydney flew to Ballina on Saturday and spent several hours in the community, including drinking at a pub, before working on the set on Sunday. She later tested positive for coronavirus.
NSW Police said in a statement a 31-year-old woman had been charged with alleged breaches of the Public Health Orders in the state’s north.
“Officers from Tweed/Byron Police District commenced inquiries on Tuesday, after receiving information a woman from Greater Sydney had travelled to the area and since tested positive for Covid-19.
“Inquiries revealed the 31-year-old woman had been granted an exemption to travel to the area for work-related purposes only.
“She allegedly attended several businesses and venues in Byron Bay and Kingscliff over the weekend, which was in breach of the conditions of her exemption.
“Further, she failed to check-in at those locations using the QR codes.
“The Rushcutters Bay woman was issued with a Court Attendance notice today (Wednesday), for five counts of failing to comply with electronic registration directive.
“Following further inquiries, the woman was charged with an additional offence for person relying on permit not complying with permit conditions.
“She is due to appear before Tweed Heads Local Court on Monday November 8.”