SYDNEY, NSW, Australia – All of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, and Wollongong will be locked down from 6:00pm Saturday.
The enlarged lockdown has been implemented for two weeks.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian made the announcement shortly after 2:00pm Saturday following a crisis cabinet meeting. The new lockdown which expands from the earlier lockdown imposed on four local government areas, including the City of Sydney will operate from 6:00pm Saturday until midnight Friday July 9.
Everyone in those areas, estimated to involve several million people, have been ordered to not leave their homes unless having to attend essential work or education, having to seek medical attention, including getting a COVID test or vaccine, for care and compassionate grounds, engaging in exercise (maximum of 10 people) or to purchase essential goods and services.
Weddings planned for this weekend are allowed to proceed, but any weddings planned beyond Monday, over the remaining two weeks period are to be cancelled. Funerals will be restricted to a maximum of 100 attendees.
The drastic move follows the recording of 29 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8:pm Friday night. This includes seventeen cases that were announced on Friday morning.
“We need to do it properly. There was no point doing it for three days or five days because it wouldn’t have done the job,” Berejiklian told a press conference shortly after 2:00pm Saturday.
“The best advice we have from Dr Chant and the health experts is that we should brace ourselves for more cases.”
“We’re finding that all household contacts, unfortunately, are getting the virus. Transmissibility is at least double what previous variants had been,” the premier said.
“So we do need to brace ourselves for potentially larger number of cases in the following days and that’s why it’s so important that we take action now.”
Berejiklian said the government was acting on the updated health advice the Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant about the growing risk to the community.
NSW Health on Saturday outlined the scope of the new order:
Everyone in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, and Wollongong must stay at home unless it is for an essential reason.
The reasons people may leave their home include:
- Shopping for food or other essential goods and services;
- Medical care or compassionate needs (people can leave home to have a COVID-19 vaccination unless they have been identified as a close contact);
- Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer;
- Essential work, or education, where people cannot work or study from home.
Community sport is not be permitted during the lockdown period. Weddings will not be permitted from 11.59pm, Sunday 27 June. Funerals will be limited to one person per four square metres with a cap of 100 people, and masks must be worn indoors.
In all other parts of NSW the following restrictions apply:
- People who have been in the Greater Sydney region (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong) on or after June 21 should follow the stay-at-home orders for a period of 14 days after they left Greater Sydney.
- Visitors to households will be limited to 5 guests including children;
- Masks will be compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces, and at organised outdoor events;
- Drinking while standing at indoor venues will not be allowed;
- Singing by audiences and choirs at indoor venues or by congregants at indoor places of worship will not be allowed;
- Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs however, dancing is allowed at weddings for the wedding party only (no more than 20 people);
- Dance and gym classes limited to 20 per class (masks must be worn);
- The one person per four square metre rule will be re-introduced for all indoor and outdoor settings, including weddings and funerals;
- Outdoor seated, ticketed events will be limited to 50 per cent seated capacity;