Sydneysiders Must Now Wear Masks in More Outdoor Situations — and Always Carry One With Them
You'll now need to mask up at outdoor markets and shopping strips, and while standing in outdoor queue waiting for coffees and food.
Three weeks into the Greater Sydney region's lockdown, the New South Wales Government has announced a number of changes to the current stay-at-home conditions. With COVID-19 case numbers continuing to rise — 111 were recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday, Friday, July 16 — NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has today, Saturday, July 17, revealed that the rules will be tightening, including when it comes to masks.
From 11.59pm tonight, Saturday, July 17, masking up will be mandatory when you are working outdoors, and if you're at an outdoor market or outdoor shopping strip. And, you must also mask up if you're standing in an outdoor queue waiting for a coffee or something to eat, which is a rather familiar lockdown activity.
Also now compulsory: having a mask with you at all times whenever you leave the house. The rules around face coverings have changed quite frequently over the past few weeks; however, now you'll always have to carry a mask with you, even if you're in a situation where you don't need to pop it on right then and there.
Folks in Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, all of which have been in lockdown for three weeks now and will remain that way until at least 11.59pm on Friday, July 30, must already wear face masks in all indoor settings outside of their own homes, and on public transport. Since Tuesday, July 13, masks have been required in all common areas in residential buildings as well. The latter covers apartment complex lobbies, foyers, lifts, stairwells, corridors and shared laundries, and applies whether you live there or you're a visitor. Basically, the only place you don't need to mask up is actually inside your own home, once you've passed through your own front door.
Residents of these regions are still currently only permitted to 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 two; and for compassionate reasons, which includes medical treatment, getting a COVID-19 test and getting vaccinated.
As part of the full slate of tightened restrictions coming into effect from 11.59pm tonight, Saturday, July 17, only critical retail stores in the locked-down areas will be permitted to welcome in customers, and carpooling will be banned unless you're with your own household. In the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool Local Government Areas, folks will no longer be able to leave their LGA for work — unless they work in emergency services, healthcare, or the aged care and disability care fields.
From 12.01am on Monday, July 19, all construction is being paused as well. Also, the rules around working from home are changing from 12.01am on Wednesday, July 21.
As it always does, NSW Health has been updating the COVID-19 venues of concern list, and will continue to do so as more places keep being identified. Anyone who has visited these venues during the times specified are required to get tested and self-isolate as per NSW Health's instructions.
And, if you have any COVID-19 symptoms in general, you should be getting tested at a clinic, too. Sydneysiders should be looking out for coughs, fever, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, or loss of smell or taste.
Published on July 17, 2021 by Sarah Ward