A 14-day lockdown has kicked in for more than five million people in the Greater Sydney area and surrounding regions designed to rein in a Covid outbreak that began in the city’s east and has hit 80 cases.
Residents of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong will only be able to leave home for essential purposes from 6pm on Saturday.
Those reasons include for work if you cannot do so where you are staying, to shop for essential items, to seek medical care, and for caregiving or compassionate reasons.
Can you visit a partner if you don’t live with each other?
Yes, locked-down residents are permitted to leave their home to visit their partner like with previous lockdowns.
‘We always have some components which are around intimate partner visits, and that will extend in this circumstance,’ NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.
Where do you have to wear a face mask?
All residents of New South Wales must now wear masks indoors unless in a private residence and this includes public transport.
Outdoor stadiums and certain outdoor gatherings also require mask wearing.
Masks are compulsory across New South Wales at indoor locations except private residences (pictured: people in Newtown Sydney on Saturday)
Can community sport go ahead?
This is not specifically against the rules – but the match or training would have to comply with outdoor public gathering rules which prohibits groups of more than 10 people.
Indoor sporting facilities such as squash courts, bowling alleys, ice rinks and indoor soccer or cricket venues have also been ordered to close, as have community swimming pools.
How far can you travel to exercise?
Residents of the four Sydney LGAs of the City of Sydney, Randwick, Waverley, and Woollahra must stay inside these areas as earlier announced.
Residents of Bayside, Canada Bay, and the Inner West are also not permitted to leave the Sydney metropolitan area under restrictions announced on June 23.
From 6pm Saturday, the stay-at-home rules apply to the Greater Sydney region including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour, and Wollongong with residents from these extended area not able to travel beyond them.
Outdoor exercise is one of the reasons you can leave your home but you are required to stay inside the lockdown zones (pictured: crowds gather in groups of less than 10 at Coogee on Saturday)
What can stay open and what places must close for the lockdown?
Supermarkets, pharmacies and medical centres can stay open. Restaurants and pubs can also keep their doors open but for takeaway food and drinks only.
Ms Berejiklian urged people not to panic buy, or stress about money with shops to remain open and financial assistance to be available.
‘It’s never easy when all of us have to face these circumstances, but we’re all in the same situation,’ she said.
‘We’ve had to do this before. We know the drill.’
Cinemas, beauty parlours, hairdressers, churches, amusement centres, nightclubs, casinos, and TABs must close .
Funerals of up to 100 people are allowed, however, weddings are not allowed from Monday June 28.
Real estate auctions and inspections are also off-limits.
Can you still go to work or school?
Leaving your residence to go to work or a place of education such as school or university is allowed if you are unable to work or study from home – but you must wear a face mask.
Conversely if you are able to work or study from home then you should.
Residents in the Greater Sydney region will endure two weeks of lockdown from Saturday night (pictured Sydney CBD on Saturday)
Is there a curfew?
No, you can leave your house at any hour as long as it’s for an essential reason. There is also no limit as to how long you can be outside you house.
What about regional areas?
Restrictions have also been introduced for regional NSW.
No more than five visitors are allowed for a household each day, masks are required indoors and restrictions apply to weddings and funerals.
All hospitality has to be seated and the one person per four square metre rule has been revived, while outdoor events are allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity.
The restrictions are required to ensure the virus doesn’t take hold in the regions if Sydney travellers unknowingly spread it there, the premier said.
Authorities will reassess the need for the lockdown in a week, but Ms Berejiklian said it’s unlikely to be shortened.
‘We could assess after seven days but I want to be very upfront with the public: this will be for all intents and purposes a two-week lockdown,’ she said.
‘I don’t want to take away from that but if there is a dramatic change and the health advice says that we can get out of a lockdown earlier (we may) but I’m not anticipating that.
‘The best advice from Health is that we should brace ourselves for additional cases.’
Some 29 cases were recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, 17 of which had already been announced, taking the cluster to 80 cases.
More than half weren’t in isolation from the beginning of their infection period.
Dr Chant said the virus was moving too fast for authorities to shut it down.
The CBD is currently resembling a ghost town – and will be even more so after it was announced Sydney will go into a lockdown from 6pm on Saturday until July 9
‘Despite testing numbers being quite high and the contact tracers getting in contact with people rapidly, what we’re seeing is by the time we’ve got there and uncovered the chains of transmission, we have a number of people infectious in the community,’ Dr Chant said.
Even some of the premier’s own staff have been identified as close contacts after being near Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, who has the virus.
Authorities are still trying to work out whether any other people in Parliament House are close or casual contacts.
‘Fortunately, I wasn’t there when that occurred, but a number of my staff have been identified as close contacts,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
SYDNEY’S LOCKDOWN: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW UNTIL JULY 9
*Applies to people living in greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong
*The four reasons you can leave your home:
- Shopping for food or other essential goods and services
- Medical care or compassionate needs (including to get a COVID-19 vaccine)
- Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer
- Essential work, or education, where you cannot work or study from home
The rest of NSW (including regional areas) will be subject to the following restrictions:
- No more than five visitors (including children) allowed in homes
- Masks are compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings
- The four-square-metre rule is back for indoor and outdoor settings and drinking while standing at indoor venues is not allowed
- Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs, but dancing is allowed at weddings for the wedding party (no more than 20 people)
- Dance and gym classes are limited to 20 people per class and masks must be worn