The New South Wales premier has enforced the strictest lockdown conditions so far, following the spate of new COVID-19 cases in the Greater Sydney area. NSW’s COVID-19 lockdown restrictions will be tightened after the state recorded 177 new infections — the highest daily number recorded in the latest outbreak. From 6pm on Saturday 26 June, the stay at home direction applies to people who live in, usually work in, or usually attend a university or other tertiary education facility in Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas until 11:59pm on Saturday 28 August 2021.
The new Sydney restrictions mean only permitted workers will be allowed to leave their local government area for work. While residents in Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool local government areas have already been under these orders, the restrictions have now been extended to Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown LGAs
The premier has also announced restrictions will be slightly eased in Fairfield, with only aged care and healthcare workers leaving the LGA for work now required to get tested every three days.
New COVID-19 restrictions for Greater Sydney
These new restrictions will be introduced for Greater Sydney for the immediate future, following updated health advice from the Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant about the growing risk to the community.
“I know that this has been a long journey in the fight against COVID but we cannot stumble over this hurdle,” Dr Chant said. “This is an incredibly challenging time and I want to stress I am incredibly concerned. I need all members of the community to follow the public health advice.”
The following additional restrictions are in place for residents across Greater Sydney including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour:
- Outdoor public gatherings limited to two people (excluding members of the same household);
- People must stay in their Local Government Area or within 10kms of home for exercise and outdoor recreation, with no carpooling between non-household members;
- Browsing in shops is prohibited, plus only one person per household, per day may leave the home for shopping;
- Funerals limited to ten people in total (this will take effect from Sunday, 11 July).
The four reasons to leave your home remain in place:
- Shopping for food or other essential goods and services (one person only);
- Medical care or compassionate needs (only one visitor can enter another residence to fulfil carers’ responsibilities or provide care or assistance, or for compassionate reasons);
- Exercise with no more than 2 (unless members of the same household);
- Essential work, or education, where you cannot work or study from home.
Restrictions in regional NSW will remain unchanged. From Monday, all non-urgent construction will also cease, Ms Berejiklian announced. From Wednesday, 21 July, employers were advised they must allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so, failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $10,000.
“The reason why we have contained funerals to 10 people is because that’s how contagious this variant is,” Premier Berejiklian said. “You might think you’re giving your GM or aunt a favour by dropping in to give them food, you aren’t. You might be signing their death sentence. Do not move between households.”
What Businesses are Open?
From 11.59pm on Saturday 17 July in New South Wales, many retail premises will be required to close under a tightening of the COVID-19 lockdown affecting Greater Sydney and its surrounds. Retail businesses can still operate click and collect, takeaway and home delivery can still operate.
The following businesses are considered essential services and can remain open:
- Stores that predominantly sell health, medical, maternity and infant supplies,
- Pharmacies and chemists
- Petrol stations
- Car hire
- Banks and financial institutions
- Hardware, nurseries and building supplies,
- Agricultural and rural supplies
- Pet supplies
- Post offices and newsagents
- Office supplies
Anyone who leaves the home must have a mask with them at all times. They must be worn when you are working outdoors, in outdoor markets, outdoor shopping strips, and in an outdoor queues waiting for products such as coffee and food. Additionally, all carpooling to be stopped unless among members of the same household.
These new rules affect Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, however, the conditions are evolving. The NSW government has also outlined further restrictions that will come into place in the coming days.
From 12.01am on Monday, 19 July:
- All construction to be paused; and
- Non-urgent maintenance, including cleaning services, and repair work on residential premises to be paused.
From 12.01am on Wednesday, 21 July:
- Employers must allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so, failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $10,000.
“We are constantly reviewing the health advice and will continue to update the community if any changes are required,” The Premier, Minister for Health and Medical Research said in a statement. “All other restrictions currently in place across Greater Sydney including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour will remain in place.”
“These decisions have not been made lightly and we understand this is a difficult time for the community and appreciate their ongoing patience. It is vital people continue to come forward for testing to help us find any COVID-19 cases in the community.” Importantly, the government has confirmed restrictions in regional NSW remain unchanged.
When Do the New Sydney Restrictions Come into Effect?
The latest COVID-19 restrictions in Sydney come into effect from 11:59pm Saturday 17, July 2021. According to the latest announcement from Premier Gladys Berejiklian and health minister Brad Hazzard, these restrictions will be put in place across Greater Sydney including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour until 11.59pm on Saturday, 28 August.
While test requirements have been eased, Premier Berejiklian confirmed that the easing does not apply to the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA. “For the Canterbury-Bankstown local government areas we want to make sure every single worker that leaves that area is tested every three days because Canterbury-Bankstown has now become the central spot where most cases are generated,” the premier said.
When Do I Have to Wear a Face Mask?
Under the latest government requirements, wearing a face mask is compulsory in all indoor venues unless eating, including workplaces and public transport. You must wear a face mask at all times indoors.
When is Construction Coming Back?
On Wednesday, Premier Berejiklian did confirm that construction can restart in some capacity in greater Sydney, but only outside the eight hotspot LGAs listed below.
“In relation to non-occupied construction, so outside of those eight Local government Areas we will allow non- occupied construction and I want to thank the Deputy Premier and the Treasurer for working with stakeholders to make sure those Covidsafety plans are in place,” she said via The Guardian.
“But I want to stress that no construction activity can or will occur in those eight local occur in those eight local government Areas but outside those areas, non- occupied construction can proceed and the government has worked with industry and with the input of health advice to make sure safety plans are in place but it is one thing to have those plans and another thing to make sure you stick by those plans and I want to make that very clear.”
“Outside of those eight Local government Areas we will also allow limited activity for contactless tradesmen, if they can come to a premise without having contact with anybody, that would be allowable and again with those details will be made available today stakeholders and community.”
Can I Have People at my Home?
In the five identified LGAs, the new NSW restrictions do not permit you to have people in your home from 5pm on Friday 9 July. In regional areas of NSW the same restrictions, which began on Wednesday 23 June 2021, apply. This means you may have no more than five people in a home at any one time, including children.
Are Gyms Still Open?
Under the latest Sydney COVID-19 restrictions, gyms and dance classes are no longer permitted. Residents across Greater Sydney including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour are only able to exercise only in groups of two (or with their households) and not exercise more than 10km from their homes.
NSW’s Evolving Outbreak
The latest Sydney restrictions come after a series of new cases were identified. NSW recorded 177 new cases of community transmission from around 94,000 tests, with 46 of those active in the community while infectious. The continuously swelling concern prompted Premier Gladys Berejiklian to impose new restrictions for businesses. She outlined only “critical retail” would now remain open as the state struggles to contain the delta variant.
Dr Chant urged Sydneysiders to assume they were coming into contact with someone with COVID-19 every time they left the house. “Every time you leave your home, you need to assume you are coming into contact with someone who could potentially have COVID,” she said. “Even when you’re out and about, make sure your masks are covering your nose and mouth and that you are using your hand sanitiser.”
Forty-seven cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period and 22 cases were in isolation for part of their infectious period. Forty-six cases were infectious in the community, and the isolation status of 62 cases remains under investigation.
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) July 28, 2021
To help combat the growing rate of household concerns, Premier Berejiklian confirmed the ‘Singles Bubble’ would take effect. Sydneysiders who are single are now allowed to nominate one person to be their partner for the next four weeks. That being said, you may only have one partner and that partner may not be from one of the eight identified LGAs most at-risk.
The Delta Variant
Speaking in a press conference in late June, NSW health minister Brad Hazzard revealed he was as concerned about this latest outbreak as he was back in January last year. “I know from my experience and from others’ experience, that there is a degree of tiredness and a degree of apathy about the response to the virus. But in a sense, this is a new and more dangerous version of the virus and that apathy has to be swept away,” Hazzard said via The Guardian. “It is quite serious, I have to say as New South Wales health minister I am as worried now as I have been any time since January last year, so we need to make sure that we are all looking after each other.”
Non-Essential Travel Cut
Speaking at a press conference on Friday 9 July, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged people not to leave their home “unless they absolutely had to”. The premier suggested people reconsider their approach to essential travel and shopping.
“We do not have the option of living with this. We have to quash the community transmission,” she said. “Because if we don’t, we will see thousands and thousands of people in hospital, and lots of people thousands of people, potentially, dying.”
“Browsing is not allowed, Whether you are in a supermarket or anywhere else buying essential items, have to think about before you leave the home can I get online? Do I need to leave the house to a shopping? If I am leaving the house, you have to plan your visit. What do I need to get and how can I get those essential items without coming into contact with a lot of people.”
Renewed Focus on QR Codes
The new Sydney restrictions place renewed emphasis on QR codes and contact tracing for the Greater Sydney area. While a number of organisations will be on reduced staff, Hazzard urged all businesses to get on-board.
“We have to actually take it seriously. The QR codes should be used whenever you are entering any of the various places where there will be QR codes,” he said, via The Guardian. And you should make sure that if you don’t happen to have a QR code, if you have an older-style phone, and I know there are a lot of older citizens in New South Wales who don’t have data on their phones, what I would say is to the various hospitality providers, shopkeepers and others, make sure you have alternative methods of knowing who has been in your shop.”
When Do the New Sydney Restrictions Come into Effect?
The latest COVID-19 restrictions in Sydney come into effect from 11:59pm on Saturday 17 July 2021. According to the latest announcement from Premier Gladys Berejiklian and health minister Brad Hazzard, these restrictions will be put in place until 11:59pm 28 August 2021
Do I Have to Wear a Face Mask at Work?
Under the latest government requirements, wearing a face mask is compulsory in all indoor venues unless eating, including workplaces and public transport. You must wear a face mask at all times indoors and at all outdoor sporting events.