Greater Sydney's Lockdown Has Been Extended Until the End of September
Sydney has already been under stay-at-home conditions for two months, but the lockdown has just been extended for a further month.
Sydneysiders, if you were looking forward to leaving your house a little more often from the end of August, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has bad but completely unsurprising news. Greater Sydney's now two-month-long lockdown will not be ending on Saturday, August 28 as previously announced the last time stay-at-home orders were extended, but will instead now continue until the end of September.
Again, this isn't unexpected. The Premier has been talking up the possibility of eased restrictions for vaccinated people once the state hits the six million jabs mark, and is set to provide more information on what that means in practical terms sometime next week; however, new locally acquired COVID-19 case numbers have hovered above 600 for several days now. The announcement today, Friday, August 20, that lockdown will be extended for another month comes as NSW reported 644 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, August 19.
Revealing the extension, the Premier said that "clearly, two fundamental things shifted this week in New South Wales. The first was the sudden escalation of cases, and secondly the feedback from police about a handful of people flagrantly disregarding the rules." She continued: "for that reason, I tasked health and police to work together, to give me a final list of what we can throw at this, to leave no shadow of doubt as to how serious we are about getting the rate of growth down, the case numbers down".
Accordingly, while you're probably sick of the sight of your furniture, and you've likely had your fill of TV press conferences and social media doomscrolling, you'll now need to remain at home for another month. That applies in the Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains and Wollongong Local Government Areas. In the Central Coast and Shellharbour LGAs, those regions will actually revert to being deemed part of regional NSW — which is currently under lockdown until Saturday, August 28 — and will follow regional rules and stay-at-home orders moving forward.
In response to the evolving Delta outbreak, NSW will extend the current lockdown in Greater Sydney until the end of September, and introduce new rules targeting the local government areas of concern, where the vast majority of new cases are emerging. pic.twitter.com/KoKwl0GCin
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) August 20, 2021
While the bulk of the current conditions will remain in place again in Greater Sydney for the next month, there are some changes. From 12.01am on Monday, August 23, wearing masks outdoors will be compulsory unless you're exercising — and that'll apply statewide.
Also coming into effect on Monday: new rules for people who live in Sydney's LGAs of concern — which spans the Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta and Strathfield LGAs, as well as 12 suburbs in the Penrith. In these areas, there'll be a 9pm–5am curfew, so residents won't be able to leave their homes during those times except for authorised work or for emergencies. And, exercising will be limited to one hour per day in these hotspot LGAs as well.
Plus, more businesses in these areas will also need to move to click-and-collect shopping, including garden centres, plant nurseries, office supplies, hardware and building supplies, rural supplies and pet supplies.
Also, the NSW police have been given extra powers to direct anyone who isn't from a LGA of concern that's found inside one of the hotspot areas to self-quarantine for 14 days.
It's also now an offence to leave Greater Sydney to travel to regional NSW without a reasonable excuse. If you do need to travel for an allowed reason, you'll need to get a permit.
Otherwise, for another month, the rest of the existing lockdown conditions will remain in effect throughout Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Wollongong. 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. All other retail premises 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. You can also only get sweaty or go shopping within your local government area, or within five kilometres of where you live.
NSW recorded 644 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm.
Of these locally acquired cases, 134 are linked to a known case or cluster – 107 are household contacts and 27 are close contacts – and the source of infection for 508 cases is under investigation. pic.twitter.com/cdIcVbmw2p
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) August 20, 2021
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 and Wollongong will remain in lockdown until at least the end of September. For more information about the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Health website.
Published on August 20, 2021 by Sarah Ward