Greater Sydney's Lockdown Restrictions Are Tightening in Response to Rising Case Numbers
"The strongest message is: do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to."
Despite spending two weeks in lockdown now, the number of people with COVID-19 in the Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour regions has continued to rise during this current outbreak. So, in response to the increasing cases, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has today, Friday, July 9, announced that the stay-at-home conditions in these areas will be getting much stricter — bringing in tighter limits on how far from home you can venture, what you can do when you're out of the house and who you can spend time with.
Just two days ago, on Wednesday, July 7, the NSW Premier extended the lockdown for another week; however, case numbers have continued to jump since then — and, of particular concern to the authorities, many of those cases have been out in the community while infectious. Today, 44 new cases have been reported, and "29 of those were either partially or fully exposed to the community — and that is the number that is really concerning us we always," said the Premier.
Accordingly, everyone in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour can still only leave the house for four specific essential reasons: to work and study if you can't do it from home; for essential shopping; for exercise outdoors in groups of ten or fewer; and for compassionate reasons, which includes medical treatment, getting a COVID-19 test and getting vaccinated. Exactly what you can do if you're following the above advice is being limited considerably, however, effective from 5pm today, Friday, July 9.
Previously, folks could exercise with up to ten people outdoors. That's changing to just two people together at once — or a household, but only if there are parents and kids who need to be together. You can also only exercise within your local government area, or within ten kilometres of where you live. You're also not permitted to carpool with anyone outside of your household when it comes to exercising, or in general.
If you need supplies, only one person from each household will be allowed to go out shopping each day to buy essential items. Still on shopping, browsing is now prohibited, too. "Whether you are in a supermarket or anywhere else buying essential items, have a think before you leave the home: 'can I get online? Do I need to leave the house to a shopping?' If you are leaving the house, you have to plan your visit. Think: 'what do I need to get and how can I get those essential items without coming into contact with a lot of people?'" said the Premier.
Also, the Premier clarified the rules around how many people you can have to your house — which is zero. "Nobody is allowed into your house — nobody outside your household is allowed into your house. The only exception is if you are receiving care by people, one person, dropping off essential goods or for health reasons or exceptional circumstances," she said. "But nobody should be coming into your home. Nobody out of your household. And household means whoever lives there normally."
Funerals will also go back down to ten people, with that rule taking effect from Sunday, July 11.
Announcing the news, Premier Berejiklian said that "the strongest message is: do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to." She continued: "we are facing the greatest threat that we have faced in New South Wales since the pandemic started. And it is up to all of us to turn things around, because at the moment the numbers are not heading in the right direction."
Understandably, the Premier also noted that next week's target lockdown end date — Friday, July 16 — is unlikely to remain in place. "Unless there is a dramatic change, unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the numbers, I can't see how we would be in a position to ease restrictions by next Friday, and that is why all of us need to work together," she advised. "It is a real concern. The message is do not leave your home. Do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to. That is what lockdown is."
As always, Sydneysiders are also asked to continue to frequently check NSW Health's long list of locations and venues that positive coronavirus cases have visited. If you've been to anywhere listed on the specific dates and times, you'll need to get tested immediately and follow NSW Health's self-isolation instructions.
In terms of symptoms, you should be looking out for coughs, fever, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, or loss of smell or taste — and getting tested at a clinic if you have any.
Lockdown rules in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour will tighten at 5pm on Friday, July 9. For more information about the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Health website.
Published on July 09, 2021 by Sarah Ward