COVID, NSW: Restrictions back in for Greater Sydney

RESTRICTIONS: New COVID restrictions are back in for Greater Sydney from 5pm on Thursday. Picture: Shutterstock
RESTRICTIONS: New COVID restrictions are back in for Greater Sydney from 5pm on Thursday. Picture: Shutterstock

HOUSEHOLD gatherings will be restricted and face masks are again compulsory in greater Sydney as health authorities work to trace two new COVID-19 cases.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the changes, which also include a dancing and singing ban, on Thursday morning after another locally acquired case was recorded overnight.

That case was the wife of a Sydney man who tested positive on Wednesday morning.

Dr Kerry Chant said she was the only close contact of the man to contract the virus so far. Nine other close contacts returned negative results.

"We've picked up that person very early in the infection," she said.

Nine cases were detected among people returned from overseas. There were 11,579 tests conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm Wednesday.

For three days from 5pm on Thursday, face masks will be compulsory in indoor settings like shops and public transport, singing and dancing in venues is banned, and no more than 20 people can gather at a home at once.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the new restrictions for Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains will commence at 5pm on Thursday and be enforceable until 12.01am on Monday. Restrictions include:

  • Visitors to households will be limited to 20 guests - including children
  • Masks will be compulsory on public transport and in all public indoor venues, such as retail, theatres, hospitals, aged care facilities and for front-of-house hospitality staff (except in a hospitality venue when eating or drinking)
  • Drinking while standing up at indoor venues will not be allowed
  • Singing by audiences at indoor shows or by congregants at indoor places of worship will not be allowed
  • Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs however, dancing is allowed at weddings with a strong recommendation that no more than 20 people should be on the dancefloor at any one time
  • Visitors to aged care facilities will be limited to two people.

It is also strongly recommended the community avoids mingling in large groups over the coming days, and is careful not to put our most vulnerable at risk.

Questioned on the impact on businesses on Mother's Day, Ms Berejiklian said the response was "proportionate" to the community transmission and "based on health advice".

"If you have a booking for Mother's Day, go to the booking," she said.

"But as a precaution, use your common sense.

"Make sure if you have the mildest of symptoms you come forward and get tested."

She said it was "business as usual" for communities outside Greater Sydney.

Ms Berejiklian said the three-day restrictions would help reduce the risk of a super spreading event.

"These measures are proportionate to the risk and will help reduce further cases of community transmission," she said.

"To allow our health authorities to do their excellent work it is critical the community continues to keep their physical distance, get tested with even the mildest of symptoms and importantly continues to use the Service NSW app to check into venues."

Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms, even if they are mild, to isolate immediately, get tested and continue to isolate until a negative result is received.

"It is also important to remember that even if you have had your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine you must still come forward for testing if you have any symptoms," he said.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said high testing rates are critical to NSW Health's efforts to identify COVID-19 cases and prevent the virus from spreading.

"We are asking the community to be on alert, continue to practice COVID-Safe behaviours and stay home and get tested if they're unwell," Dr Chant said.

There are more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic or contact your GP.