Mandatory Masks and a Five-Kilometre Rule Will Now Apply in Sydney's Eight LGAs of Concern
Greater Sydney reported 239 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours.
A day after extending Greater Sydney's lockdown until at least Saturday, August 28, and also naming three more parts of the city as areas of concern under stricter stay-at-home conditions, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced further restrictions for people living in eight specific Local Government Areas. Residents of the Parramatta, Georges River, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Blacktown and Cumberland LGAs are already only permitted to leave their homes for work outside their areas if they're considered authorised workers. Now, they won't be able to travel more than five kilometres from home in general — and they'll need to wear masks whenever they leave the house.
Premier Berejiklian announced the new rules today, Thursday, July 29, advising that the changes are "also based on the health advice in relation to compliance, in relation to making sure that everybody across the state, particularly those areas of concern, are doing the right thing."
The stricter restrictions come as NSW reported 239 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases identified to 8pm last night, Wednesday, July 28, with at least 66 cases infectious in the community during their contagious period.
"We can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better, given the quantum of people infectious in the community. Can we stress again, as we have in the last weeks: most of these transmissions are occurring amongst households and in workplaces, but also in health settings," said the Premier.
Regarding masks, the Premier said that "if you're in a Local Government Area of concern, you need to make sure you wear a mask now at all times. If you step foot outside of your household, you need to wear a mask at all times. It doesn't matter where it is."
The five-kilometre rule will come into effect from midnight tomorrow, Friday, July 30, and will limit people who live in the eight LGAs to moving with a five-kilometre radius of their homes. "Unless there are exceptional circumstances, you have to make sure you do not move within a five-kilometre radius of your home. It doesn't matter whether it's for shopping. It doesn't matter whether it's for other exercising that you're allowed to leave the house from. You can't move beyond a five-kilometre radius, and that includes singles bubbles. If you want to have a singles bubble in a local government area of concern, you cannot have anybody move or you can't move within five-kilometre of where you live," the Premier advised.
The remainder of Greater Sydney's current stay-at-home rules still apply in the Parramatta, Georges River, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Blacktown and Cumberland LGAs, too. As has been the case since late June, everyone 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; and for compassionate reasons, which includes medical treatment, getting a COVID-19 test and getting vaccinated.
Also, only businesses deemed "critical retail" are permitted to remain open. Stores that can continue to welcome in customers include supermarkets, grocery stores, butchers, bakeries, fruit and vegetable stores, liquor stores and fishmongers; pharmacies and chemists; and shops that primarily sell health, medical, maternity and infant supplies. Also allowed to stay open: pet supply shops, post offices, newsagencies, office supply stores, petrol stations, car hire places, banks, hardware shops, nurseries, and places that sell building, agricultural and rural goods.
Any retail premises that don't fall into the above categories are closed to physical customers, but they can do takeaways, home deliveries, and click and collect orders. If you need supplies, only one person from each household can go out shopping each day to buy essential items — and browsing is prohibited, too.
Carpooling is still off the cards, unless you're in a vehicle with members of your own household. And, you can still only exercise in groups of two outdoors — or as a household.
The Premier noted that, while stricter rules will come into effect for the eight LGAs considered areas of concern right now, that list of regions could expand. "Depending on the health advice, there could be more local government areas that come into those areas of concern or come out depending on case numbers," she said.
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.
Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour will remain in lockdown until at least 12.01am on Saturday, August 28. For more information about the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Health website.
Top image: Destination NSW.
Published on July 29, 2021 by Sarah Ward