Some Workers in Greater Sydney Are Now Required to Get Regular COVID-19 Tests
Anyone leaving Greater Sydney for essential work must get tested weekly — and everyone who lives in the Fairfield Local Government Area but works elsewhere must get tested every 72 hours.
Throughout the pandemic so far, the message about getting tested has been extremely clear: if you're experiencing even the slightest coronavirus symptoms, you need to get a test, even if you don't think you've been exposed to COVID-19. In the Greater Sydney area, those requirements are now expanding. In the latest move to try to get the region's current outbreak under control, some folks who undertake essential work must now undertake regular tests — regardless of whether they have any symptoms.
Announced today, Tuesday, July 13, by New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian — and coming into effect from 12.01am tomorrow, Wednesday, July 14 — the new requirements cover people doing essential work. Obviously, you'll need to be leaving the house to do your work for the testing mandate to apply. That's always been the definition of essential work during the pandemic, actually, because you're only allowed to leave your home to go to work during lockdown if you cannot work from home.
And, to fall under the new testing mandate, you'll also need to belong to one of two specific groups. You'll either be a resident of the Fairfield Local Government Area who has to leave that specific region to go to work, or you'll reside in Greater Sydney in general — which includes the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour LGAs — but travel more than 50 kilometres outside of the area to do your job.
In the first category, if you live or stay in the Fairfield LGA, but you work outside the area, you have to take a COVID-19 test every three days — yes, every 72 hours — or you won't be allowed to enter a workplace. You'll also have to have proof of your COVID-19 test, either via a text message on your phone or an email that's addressed to you, that you can show when asked by your manager or a police officer.
Wondering what falls under the Fairfield LGA? It's a long list of suburbs. Fairfield, Fairfield East, Fairfield Heights and Fairfield West are covered, unsurprisingly, as are Abbotsbury, Bonnyrigg, Bonnyrigg Heights, Bossley Park, Cabramatta, Cabramatta West, Canley Heights, Canley Vale, Carramar, Cecil Park and Edensor Park. And, Greenfield Park, Horsley Park, Lansvale, Mount Pritchard, Old Guildford, Prairiewood, Smithfield, St Johns Park, Villawood, Wakeley, Wetherill Park and Yennora are all in the LGA as well.
Don't live in any of the aforementioned suburbs, but do live in the Greater Sydney area? Need to head beyond the region — and beyond the the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour LGAs — to work? If so, if you're heading more than 50 kilometres past the Greater Sydney area, you will have to get a COVID-19 test in the seven days before working. And, you'll need to do so again every seven days.
Like folks in the Fairfield LGA, you'll also have to have proof of your COVID-19 test, either via a text message on your phone or an email that's addressed to you, that you can show when asked by your manager or a police officer.
These new testing requirements don't apply to either group if you work at a residential premises, though — so, if you do your job at someone's home.
If you're after maps to work out if this applies to you — because sometimes we all need visuals — the NSW Government has put together a handy guide on its website.
Obviously, the requirement to get tested if you have a cough, fever, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, or loss of smell or taste is still in place. And, 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.
For more information about the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Health website.
Published on July 13, 2021 by Sarah Ward