Sydney and surrounding regions will go into a full lockdown for a fortnight until July 9 from 6pm tonight, June 26.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced the two-week stay-at-home order for Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong following an emergency cabinet meeting today.
Weddings in those regions will be allowed to go ahead this weekend but must be cancelled from Monday.
The Premier said it would lack compassion and would be unfair to cancel weddings this weekend.
“Today and tomorrow, Covid-safe weddings can take place, but from Monday, for the duration of the lockdown, weddings can’t take place,” she said.
Families who’ve already left town for the school holidays are not so lucky, with their plans being thrown into chaos by the upgraded restrictions.
Anyone who’s been in greater Sydney since Monday, June 21, is also expected to follow the stay-at-home order for a fortnight from the time they left town, chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said.
“Those individuals if they’ve been in Greater Sydney since June 21 will need to follow the stay-at-home orders for that period for the 14 days since they left,” Dr Chant said.
“They can buy food and groceries and enjoy the outdoor environment, but they can’t go to hospitality and other venues.”
Berejiklian said people should not panic buy and shops will remain open.
“We’re never afraid to take a decision that we need to take to keep our citizens safe. And even though we don’t want to impose burdens unless we absolutely have to, unfortunately, this is a situation where we have to,” the Premier said.
“I said that this the scariest time since the pandemic started and that’s proven to be the case.”
The increased restrictions come as NSW Health recorded 29 new COVID-19 cases to 8pm last night.
Berejiklian said there was no point in having a 3-day lockdown and then having the virus continue to bubble away in the community.
“Now, if after seven days there’s a dramatic change in the trend, we’ll obviously evaluate the situation. But at this stage, the best health advice we have is that a 2-week period or until midnight on Friday, July 9, is necessary, in order to make sure that we get to our target of zero community transmission, which has always been our target from the beginning of the pandemic,” she said.
“Given how transmissible the virus is, given the extra exposure venues, we know that even the best contact tracers in the world can’t stay a step ahead unless we put this in and we need to do it properly.”
The Premier said that the best advice from Dr Chant and health experts is that we should brace for more cases.
“We’re finding that all household contacts, unfortunately, are getting the virus. Transmissibility is at least double what previous variants had been. So we do need to brace ourselves for potentially larger number of cases in the following days,” she said.
Dr Chant said everyone in Greater Sydney must stay at home unless it is for an essential reason.
The reasons you may leave home include:
- Shopping for food or other essential goods and services;
- Medical care or compassionate needs (people can leave home to have a COVID-19 vaccination unless you have been identified as a close contact);
- Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer;
- Essential work, or education, where you cannot work or study from home.
Community sport is not allowed.
Weddings will not be permitted from 11.59pm, Sunday 27 June.
Funerals will be limited to one person per four square metres with a cap of 100 people, and masks must be worn indoors.
Regional NSW rules
In all other parts of NSW the following restrictions will apply:
- People who have been in the Greater Sydney region (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong) on or after June 21 should follow the stay-at-home orders for a period of 14 days after they left Greater Sydney.
- Visitors to households will be limited to 5 guests – including children;
- Masks will be compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces, and at organised outdoor events;
- Drinking while standing at indoor venues will not be allowed;
- Singing by audiences and choirs at indoor venues 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 for the wedding party only (no more than 20 people);
- Dance and gym classes limited to 20 per class (masks must be worn);
- The one person per four square metre rule will be re-introduced for all indoor and outdoor settings, including weddings and funerals;
- Outdoor seated, ticketed events will be limited to 50% seated capacity.
Police on alert
NSW health ministerBrad Hazzard police will be patrolling and have the technology to detect number plates if people are in regional areas from the lockdown zones.
“Police have been tasked to be on the lookout for any vehicles that may have come from the Greater Sydney area,” he said.
“I also remind the community that the regional communities are very aware when they see someone from out of town arrive and they’ll make sure that the police know.”
Hazzard said that for example, a car with five people in it could face up to $55,000 in fines – $11,000 per person, and up to six months in jail.