This Is What You Can and Can't Do on New Year's Eve in Sydney
We've broken down all the rules about gatherings, outdoor events and how you can watch the fireworks.
December 31, 2020
Like the rest of 2020, New Year's Eve is going to be a little different this year. Well, significantly different. In a bid to contain the northern beaches outbreak, and a new Croydon park cluster, new restrictions have been implemented in Greater Sydney for the final night of the year.
For New Year's Eve, Greater Sydney has been broken into five areas: the northern part of the northern beaches; the southern part of the northern beaches; a green zone, which encompasses the main fireworks vantage points in the CBD and North Sydney; a yellow zone, which encompasses more of North Sydney and the CBD; and the rest of Greater Sydney, which includes Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast.
Depending on what zone you're in, you're allowed to do different things. Here, we've broken down exactly how you can watch the fireworks and catch up with friends.
HOW CAN I WATCH THE FIREWORKS?
All residents of Greater Sydney are encouraged to watch the seven-minute midnight fireworks display on TV, where it will be live streamed on ABC.
"My strong message to everyone in Greater Sydney this year is to watch the fireworks on TV," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement.
If you're in either of the northern beaches zones, which are both under stay-at-home orders, you'll have no choice but to watch them from home.
For the rest of Greater Sydney, those who'd like to go out can watch the fireworks from the designated green zones along the harbour foreshore in Circular Quay and North Sydney (shown in the map below) — but only if you have a permit. You can only get one of these permits if you are a resident of the green zone, are visiting a resident in the green zone or have a reservation at a bar, hotel or restaurant in the green zone. You can apply for a permit over at Service NSW.
You don't need a permit to visit the yellow zone, but the NSW Government has warned that "people gathering in these areas in large numbers may be moved on by police".
That said, many councils, including North Sydney, City of Sydney and the Inner West, have closed parks along the foreshore — both inside and outside the yellow and green zones.
CAN I HAVE PEOPLE OVER TO MY HOUSE?
Yes, but only five. For all of Greater Sydney — including the northern and southern northern beaches zones — you are allowed five visitors in your home (including children and adults) per day. This new limit is down from the previously announced ten for Greater Sydney and the southern part of the northern beaches and will remain in place "until further notice".
If you are in the northern beaches, however, you must stay in your zone. So, you can't have visitors from the other northern beaches zone or from other parts of Greater Sydney.
You can check out a map of the two zones below.
Those located in the remainder of NSW can have up to 50 people in their homes.
CAN I CATCH UP WITH PEOPLE OUTDOORS?
Yes, but there are different numbers depending whereabouts in the city you are. Those in the northern half of the northern beaches, can have gatherings of up to five people outside, while those in the south can have gatherings of up to ten. Once again, you cannot leave your zone, so outdoor gatherings can only be with people from your area.
A reminder here that under the stay-at-home orders, northern beaches residents can leave there homes for four reasons: shop for food or other goods and services; travel for work or education, where you cannot work or learn from home; to get medical care or supplies, or to fulfil carer's responsibilities; and for exercise and outdoor recreation. Outdoor recreation includes picnics, golf, tennis, swimming, boating, jet-skiing, fishing and paddle boarding. You can find a full list here.
For the rest of Greater Sydney, outdoor gatherings of 30 people are allowed, at places like public parks, reserves, beaches, public gardens and spaces. But, keep in mind, to reduce the risk of large gatherings, some councils have closed certain parks and beaches — including North Sydney, City of Sydney and the Inner West.
If you're located in regional NSW — outside of Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong — outdoor public gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed.
ARE THERE ANY TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE TO HARBOURSIDE EVENTS?
Surprisingly, there are. You can enjoy the fireworks side-by-side with giraffes at the Taronga Zoo's New Year's Eve celebrations, with panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, live entertainment and a visit to see the animals. Some harbourside restaurants still have reservations available, too, including Bar Ombre, which is pairing the fireworks with a five-course Italian feast and free-flowing booze; and Sydney Tower's Bar 83, where you can watch the lights from 83 levels up. O Bar also hosting a sky-high NYE event — and reservations are still available.
For more information about the status of COVID-19 in NSW and current restrictions, head to NSW Health.
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