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By Concrete Playground
August 23, 2021
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By Concrete Playground
August 23, 2021
  shares

On Friday, August 20, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced two pieces of pivotal news: that Greater Sydney's lockdown will now run until at least the end of September, and that some stay-at-home rules will tighten. None of this was surprising; the region has been under lockdown since late June, and the stay-at-home orders have been extended multiple times now — and stricter conditions have been put in place more than once as well.

The current requirements came into effect at 12.01am today, Monday, August 23. They tighten mask rules, and also enforce stricter rules on people living in Sydney's 12 Local Government Areas of concern — all while still keeping in place the four familiar reasons to leave your home.

We've all been through this before, but a few new requirements have been introduced this time around, in another effort to stop the spread. The list of things you can and can't do can be a bit overwhelming, so we've broken it down for you.

This information is correct as of Monday, August 23. 

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For what reasons am I allowed to leave the house?

Remember those four reasons announced back in March 2020? Yes, that long ago. Well, they were reintroduced at beginning of this current lockdown. So, folks in the Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour regions can only leave home for work and study if you can't do it from your house, for essential shopping, for exercise and recreation, and for compassionate reasons, which includes emergency medical treatment.

Otherwise, everyone must stay at home. "The strongest message is: do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to," said New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian at her daily press conference back on Friday, July 9.

There are also limits on what you can do and where you can go if you're leaving the house to exercise — or to go shopping. We've outlined these in relevant sections below, and you can find out more on the NSW coronavirus website and the NSW Health website.

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For what reasons am I allowed to leave the house if I live in a LGA of concern?

If you live in a Local Government Area of concern — so in Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Canterbury-Bankstown, Campbelltown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield and 12 suburbs of Penrith — the rules are a little different.

You can still leave your home for mostly the same four reasons; however, you're limited to a strict five-kilometre limit. "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," the Premier advised back at the end of July.

Also, you can now only leave the house to exercise for one hour each day. And, you can't leave your home for outdoor recreation (there's more on that below).

Plus, if you're leaving for work, you can only do so if you can't reasonable work from home and your workplace is in the same LGA — or, if you live in the 12 suburbs of Penrith considered of concern, those suburbs — or if you're deemed an authorised worker.

Also, from Saturday, August 28, authorised workers from LGAs and suburbs of concern will need to carry a Service NSW permit saying they're an authorised worker and can't work from home.

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For how long can I leave the house?

For parts of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern, there are no limits on how long you can leave the house, including to exercise, for recreation, or to shop for groceries and other essentials. And, time-wise, there are no limits on how long you can leave for permitted work or caregiving either.

That said, only one person from each household is allowed to go out shopping each day to buy essential items. And, browsing at the shops is prohibited.

In LGAs or suburbs of concern, the same shopping rules apply. If you're going out to exercise, you can only do so for one hour.

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Is there a curfew?

In parts of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern, there is no curfew. You are allowed out of your house at any hour as long as it is for one of the four permitted reasons.

In LGAs or suburbs of concern, there is now an overnight curfew from 9pm–5am. So, residents aren't able to leave their homes during those times except for authorised work or for emergencies.

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What counts as outdoor recreation?

Wondering what's meant by outdoor recreation? NSW Health advises that "recreation includes outdoor leisure activities such as sitting for relaxation, or to eat, drink or read outdoors". So, if you're not in Greater Sydney's Local Government Areas of concern and you'd like to have a picnic or just sit in the park and read, you're in luck.

People in LGAs of concern are under stricter rules, including a 9pm–5am curfew. In these areas, going outside for recreation isn't currently allowed.

For everyone else in Greater Sydney outside of these spots, you do also need to abide by the other applicable rules if you're undertaking outdoor recreation. So, you can only undertake recreation outdoors with one other person, or the people you live with; you're asked to stay within your LGA, or within five kilometres of home if you do venture beyond your LGA for recreation; you're not allowed to carpool with anyone outside of your household; and you need to wear a mask if you're outdoors and you're not exercising, other than when you're actually eating and drinking.

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Do I have to wear a mask?

Yes, masks are compulsory unless you're at home.

That means that you need to wear them whenever you're outdoors, other than if you're exercising; in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces (if you can't work from home, that is); on public transport, and while waiting for public transport; at outdoor markets and outdoor shopping strips; and standing in an outdoor queue waiting for a coffee or something to eat.

You'll still obviously need to carry a mask with you at all times whenever you leave the house — even if you are exercising.

The full list of rules — and exemptions to those rules — is available on the NSW Government website.

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How far can I travel?

For parts of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern, if residents in lockdown leave home for one of the allowed essential reasons, including exercise and recreation, you're asked to stay within their LGA — or within five kilometres of home if you do have to venture beyond your LGA for permitted purposes.

In LGAs or suburbs of concern, you're limited to a strict five-kilometre limit.

No matter where in Greater Sydney you live, you're not permitted to carpool with anyone outside of your household.

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Can I see friends and family?

No, you can't generally have visitors to your home — unless you're part of a singles bubble (more on that in a moment). Outside of those singles bubbles, visiting other people isn't one of the four permitted reasons to leave the house, either. And, you can't gather with friends and family in a public place under the stay-at-home orders.

That said, if you're not in one of the LGAs or suburbs of concern, you are allowed to exercise outdoors or enjoy outdoor recreation with one other person — and there's no rule requiring that other person to come from your household, or to be part of your singles bubble. You can also exercise outdoors and enjoy outdoor recreation with members of your household, if there's more than two people in your household.

If you are in one of the LGAs or suburbs of concern, the same rules apply to exercising, but you're not allowed to leave the house for outdoor recreation.

Partners who live separately are allowed to visit each other at home all across Sydney, though, which is covered under visits for caring and compassionate reasons.

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What's a singles bubble?

A singles bubble is an arrangement that allows folks who live alone to have another person over to their homes. You have to designate one specific person, and only that person can visit your house — and only once per day.

That nominated person is the only person who can visit you during lockdown. So, you can't have a different person over to your home each day.

Also, if you can only be one person's singles bubble buddy — so, if you've been nominated by one person, you can't be by another.

And, if you live in one of the LGAs or suburbs of concern, you have to nominate a person inside the same area, and officially register with the authorities to note who your singles bubble buddy is.

Also in LGAs or suburbs of concern, your singles bubbly buddy will also need to reside within five kilometres of you, too. If you live outside of the aforementioned LGAs and suburbs, you must designate someone who also lives outside of them as well.

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Can I drive to a park to exercise?

Yes, but only to exercise or for outdoor recreation in parts of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern — and to exercise only (so not to picnic or to do anything else) in LGAs or suburbs of concern.

In parts of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern, you also must stay within your local government area for exercise and outdoor recreation, or within five kilometres of where you live.

In LGAs or suburbs of concern, you're limited to a strict five-kilometre limit — and for exercise only, because outdoor recreation isn't allowed.

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Can I take my pet out for a walk in the park?

Yes, you can take your dog for a walk as it's considered exercise.

Again, in areas of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern, you also must stay within your local government area, or within five kilometres of where you live.

In LGAs or suburbs of concern, you're limited to a strict five-kilometre limit.

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Can I go to the beach?

Again, yes, but only to exercise or for outdoor recreation in parts of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern — and to exercise only (so not to picnic or to do anything else) in LGAs or suburbs of concern.

In parts of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern, you also must stay within your local government area for exercise and outdoor recreation, or within five kilometres of where you live.

In LGAs or suburbs of concern, you're limited to a strict five-kilometre limit — and for exercise only, because outdoor recreation isn't allowed.

During Sydney's last lockdown, many local beaches closed, so you'd be best to check your local council website before heading out.

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Can I go on a holiday to a coastal/regional town?

No, you cannot. That is not one of the permitted reasons to leave the house.

It's 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.

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Can I road trip to an out-of-town beach for a day?

Again, no. You must stay home unless you have a permitted reason — and that's not on the list.

And, once more, it's 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.

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How about driving to my holiday house?

Once again, no. Spending time at a holiday house isn't classed as one of the four essential reasons for leaving your home — and it's an offence to leave Greater Sydney to travel to regional NSW without a reasonable excuse.

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Can I go to a gym?

Exercising in public is only permitted outdoors — and gyms are currently closed under the lockdown conditions.

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Can I go shopping?

For groceries and other essentials, yes. That said, only one person from each household is now allowed to go out shopping each day — and only to buy essential items. And, there are distance limits.

Once more, in areas of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern, you also must stay within your local government area, or within five kilometres of where you live.

In LGAs or suburbs of concern, you're limited to a strict five-kilometre limit.

Also, there are also now different rules regarding which stores can remain in different areas. In general, 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.

In areas of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern, retail stores including supermarkets, and food and liquor stores, all remain open, for instance.

In LGAs or suburbs of concern, the same types of store are open, but more businesses in these areas have been required to move to click-and-collect shopping — including garden centres, plant nurseries, office supplies, hardware and building supplies, rural supplies and pet supplies.

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How about to a restaurant or cafe?

You can pick up takeaway from a hospitality venue, but dine-in service is not permitted. Deliveries are recommended.

If you're looking for takeaway recommendations, our writers have listed their favourites — and we've rounded up the places doing takeaway options around the city.

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Can I attend a funeral?

Yes, however funerals are limited to ten mourners.

Attending a funeral or memorial service is a permitted excuse to leave home and to enter the LGAs and suburbs of concern — and people in those areas may leave their LGA or suburb to attend a funeral, memorial service or gathering afterwards if they are a spouse, parent, child or sibling of the deceased.

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Can I attend a wedding?

No, weddings are not permitted.

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For more information on what you can and can't do in NSW, head to the NSW Government website or read the NSW COVID-19 public health orders.

To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

Published on August 23, 2021 by Concrete Playground

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