Greater Sydney Is Being Placed Under Stricter New Lockdown Measures Until July 30
Only critical retail stores will be able to remain open, you'll always need to carry a mask with you, and residents of three Local Government Areas will not longer be able to leave their areas for work.
For the next fortnight, residents of Greater Sydney already know they can't go about their normal lives, with the region now three weeks into a lockdown that has already been extended until Friday, July 30 — and has had its rules tightened once so far, too. Exactly what people in the Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour Local Government Areas can do moving forward is changing again, however, with New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian today, Saturday, July 17, announcing a range of new restrictions.
With 111 new locally acquired cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday, Friday, July 16, the Premier said that "it is not good enough for us to tread water, which is what we're doing now." She continued: "we have certainly prevented thousands and thousands of cases but we haven't managed to quash the curve, and that is why the New South Wales Government is taking further action from today. We want to make sure we have a no regrets policy. We want to get out of this lockdown as soon as we can."
Accordingly, from 11.59pm tonight, Saturday, July 17, a number of new lockdown conditions will come into effect. Some will apply to all regions that are under stay-at-home rules at present, while some are more targeted — and both will bring about major changes to the way lockdown has been proceeding until now.
Firstly, only businesses deemed "critical retail" will be permitted to remain open from 11.59pm tonight, Saturday, July 17 until the same time on Friday, July 30. 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 doesn't fall into the above categories must close to physical customers — but they can do takeaways, home deliveries, and click and collect orders.
Also stopping throughout the entire lockdown area: carpooling, unless you're in a vehicle with members of your own household.
Mask rules are changing, too, with anyone who leaves their house now required to have a mask with them at all times. You also have to wear them when you are working outdoors, and if you're at an outdoor market or outdoor shopping strip. And, you must mask up if you're standing in an outdoor queue waiting for a coffee or something to eat.
From 12.01am on Monday, July 19, all construction is being paused as well, as is all non-urgent maintenance, which includes cleaning services and repair work on residences.
Also, the rules around working from home are changing from 12.01am on Wednesday, July 21. From then, employers must allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so — or they can face a fine of up to $10,000.
The NSW Government is also bringing in new rules for residents of Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool LGAs. Folks in these areas 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. If the latter categories apply to you and you do need to leave your LGA for work, you'll have to get a mandatory COVID-19 test every three days, even you don't have any coronavirus symptoms.
As has been the case during the entire lockdown, 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 two; and for compassionate reasons, which includes medical treatment, getting a COVID-19 test and getting vaccinated.
And, you can still only exercise in groups of two outdoors — or as a household. You can also only get sweaty within your local government area, or within ten kilometres of where you live.
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.
No one can have anyone over to their house, either — other than for care purposes, which includes intimate partners.
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 are in lockdown until at least 11.59pm on Friday, July 30, with new tighter restrictions coming into effect from 11.59pm Saturday, July 17. For more information about the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Health website.
Published on July 17, 2021 by Sarah Ward