Sydney Is Reintroducing Stay-at-Home Orders for the Northern Beaches Until Midnight Wednesday
It's designed to give the NSW Government "sufficient time to get on top of the virus so we can then ease up for Christmas and the New Year moving forward".
In response to Sydney's growing cluster of locally acquired COVID-19 cases, residents in the northern beaches will be required to stay home for the short-term future — with Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing the new public health order on the morning of Saturday, December 19. From 5pm today until midnight on Wednesday, December 23, the local government area will revert to the same conditions that were in effect when the state went into lockdown back in March, which means you'll only be able to leave the house for four specific essential reasons.
If you need a reminder of those reasons, folks in the northern beaches can only leave home for work if you can't do it from your house, for essential shopping, for exercise and for compassionate reasons which includes emergency medical treatment or to visit an isolated relative). Otherwise, everyone must stay at home — but there are no restrictions on when you can go shopping or go out for exercise.
Announcing the news, Premier Berejiklian said that 21 new cases have been identified over the past 12 hours that are directly linked to the Avalon cluster, and it is expected that Sydney will "see a repeat of those numbers across this 24 hours". Accordingly, the area-specific lockdown is being put in place to help stop the spread, and to give the NSW Government "sufficient time to get on top of the virus so we can then ease up for Christmas and the New Year moving forward".
While the stay-at-home order only applies to the northern beaches, Sydneysiders in general have been asked to "abandon non-essential activity" over the same period. "We do not want the virus to spread outside of the northern beaches. We do not want perhaps unidentified strands of the virus outside of Sydney, outside of the northern beaches, to start getting to an extent which concerns us," the Premier said. "So can I say to everybody in other parts of Sydney outside the northern beaches, please limit your activity."
Before the northern beaches cluster emerged, NSW had gone almost a month without any locally acquired cases of COVID-19. Yesterday, however, Premier Berejiklian confirmed that all of Greater Sydney was on "high alert" — and, before today's stay-at-home order, urged those in the northern beaches to remain in their houses "unless absolutely necessary".
Since news of the first northern beaches cases on Thursday afternoon, NSW Health has been updating a long list of locations and venues that positive coronavirus cases have visited over the past week — which Sydneysiders are asked to check frequently and, if you've been to anywhere listed on the specific dates and times, get tested immediately and self-isolate for 14 days after your visit.
There is also a series of new pop-up and drive-thru clinics now located on the northern beaches.
If you need a reminder, the symptoms to look out for are coughs, fever, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, or loss of smell or taste. You can find a rundown of testing clinic locations online as well.
For more information about the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Health website.