Last Saturday, 2 January, New South Wales reported seven new locally-acquired coronavirus cases.
This, in turn, led Premier Gladys Berejiklian to announce that new restrictions would apply to Greater Sydney, as well as to the southern part of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Wearing masks for a variety of venues and activities are now compulsory, along with other restrictions.
Tighter Restrictions: Mandatory Masks, Strict Fines, and Smaller Gatherings
From midnight of 2 January, masks will be compulsory in certain indoor settings. Since Monday, 2 January, an AU$200 fine has been imposed on all violators.
“If you go to shopping centres, [catch[ public transport, [attend[ an entertainment venue like the cinema, you have to wear a mask. Places of worship, hair and beauty salons, gaming areas of establishments and hospitality venues… [you] will have to wear a mask,” Ms. Berejiklian said.
The authorities have also imposed a limit on the number of people gathering in certain indoor venues.
For instance, the maximum number of people who can attend a gym class is now at 30. Previously, the maximum number was 50. Likewise, up to 100 people can attend services at places of worship. These include weddings and funerals, where the four-square meter rule will also apply.
The number of people that can attend indoor performances and activities are now down to 500, about half of the 1,000 initially allowed to do the same. Meanwhile, only 2,000 can go to outdoor events “to mitigate the risks of any super spreading event.”
As of this writing, these new rules apply to Greater Sydney, which includes Metro, Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and Central Coast areas.
Beware: New Hot Zones
Five of the new cases have links to the Berala cluster, while four are from the same household. NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant also revealed some hot zones where the positive cases might have visited while infectious.
Thus, anyone who’s visited the following locations at specific dates and times should get tested immediately and isolate until they get a negative result:
- BWS at Berala on December 22, 24 and December 31;
- the Australian Merchant Traders at Haberfield Road from 4.30pm to 5pm on December 29, and Officeworks in Punchbowl between 3.35pm to 3.45pm on December 29;
- The Coffee Club in Stockland Shellharbour on December 27 between 11:30am and 12:45pm;
- Westpoint, Blacktown on December 28 from 2:40pm to 3:20pm;
- El Jannah on Flushcombe Road, Blacktown on December 28 from 3:20pm to 4pm;
- Service NSW Blacktown Service Centre on December 30 from 12:15pm to 1pm;
- Hills Campus Hillsong Church in Norwest on December 29 from 8pm – 8:45pm;
- Woolworths, Eastgardens Shopping Centre on December 30 from 6:30am to 1:30pm and January 1 from 7am until 10am;
- Hariri chickens at 140 Railway Parade, Kogarah on December 31 from 1:45pm – 2pm.
Clearly, despite quite a few vaccines rolling out, it’s still best to exercise caution. We clearly can’t let our guard down just yet.
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