Sydney shoppers have been urged not to enter the central business district for traditional Boxing Day sales after the state recorded seven new cases of locally acquired coronavirus, the northern beach cluster grew to 108 and health authorities NSW issued an alert to all passengers who traveled on board. a regional flight.
The Australian Retailers Association called the New South Wales Prime Minister’s request for consumers to stay home on “the most important day of the retail calendar” as “incredibly disappointing.”
State leader Gladys Berejiklian issued the stay-at-home call on Friday when she announced that seven community cases of Covid had been reported from a record 69,809 tests in the past 24 hours.
“We know that tomorrow is traditionally a day for Boxing Day sales. [but] we want to discourage people, we know this is not the easiest message to convey to those retailers, but we want to discourage people from going to CBD tomorrow, ”said Berejiklian.
The seven new cases were all connected in some way to Sydney’s North Beaches, but contact trackers have only linked four of the transmissions directly to the group focused on the Avalon suburb, which has grown to 108 cases.
Two of the new cases are household contacts from a previously announced case whose source of transmission is still under investigation, and the seventh case, someone who works on the northern beaches, is also under investigation.
Berejiklian said that six of the seven new cases live in homes that are already isolated.
But New South Wales health authorities are concerned that undetected Covid cases among office workers in Sydney’s CBD could spread the virus during the holiday period.
In the late afternoon on Friday, authorities issued a warning asking all passengers on board Rex’s flight ZL6469 from Sydney to Griffith on December 21 to immediately be tested and isolated. The flight left Sydney at 2:10 pm and landed in the city of Riverina at 4:20 pm. All passengers have been considered close contacts and evidence is available at Griffith Base Hospital.
Alerts were also issued for numerous bus routes in Sydney’s North, Inner West and East; the Sappho Bookstore and Bar in Glebe; the Central Park food court in Chippendale; the Chicago Jones Coffee and Chocolate Maison in Auburn, as well as Cafe Bodrum in Auburn; Oliver Brown Café at Crows Nest; Photos of Santa on level three of the Queen Victoria Building; Anytime Fitness in Belrose; Star Nails in Rose Bay; and the Hipster clothing store in Westfield Burwood.
The prime minister said that anyone who ignored his plea and entered the CBD for sales on Saturday should wear a mask. Berejiklian said the government had been in contact with retailers to ensure that social distancing in queues was enforced; that the staff wore masks; and to adhere to the rule of one person for every four square meters.
“I cannot emphasize enough our call for people to reduce their mobility, do not engage in activities unless absolutely necessary, and please avoid CBD,” said the liberal leader.
“We would prefer that people not go to the CBD tomorrow because then there are people from all over Sydney coming to one place and it only takes one or two cases for it to spread to everyone else.”
Paul Zahra, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, said that while the group supported the New South Wales government’s desire to keep the community safe, “there is no question that this directive will have an effect on trade. of Boxing Day “.
“Boxing Day is the biggest day on the retail calendar and for people to be put off going to shops in the CBD is incredibly disappointing, especially as retailers have worked so hard to ensure their businesses are Covid-safe.” Zahra told Guardian Australia.
“For people who don’t want to get into CBD, there are still plenty of options available online to get a bargain.”
A spokesperson for Myer said the company supported the NSW government advice, but also noted that its stores in the Sydney metropolitan area had “strict health and safety measures in place to ensure that customers who shop in the store to on Boxing Day they can do it with confidence. “
“There are many options for customers to shop closer to home on Boxing Day, avoiding the need to enter the CBD,” the spokesperson told Guardian Australia.
Berejiklian on Friday also praised the Northern Territory for removing the Sydney metropolitan area from its list of coronavirus hot spots and called on other state leaders to base their border decisions “on science and data.”
The Christmas festivities in New South Wales on Friday were held in accordance with temporarily relaxed coronavirus restrictions.
The assembly limits have been lowered in the greater Sydney area so that children under the age of 12 do not count towards the limit of 10 visitors to a home. But the gatherings in the northern section of the North Beaches were limited to five guests within the closed zone.
Meetings in the southern section were limited to 10 guests, but households can receive visitors from outside the northern beaches.
New South Wales Health Director Dr Kerry Chant announced on Friday that a fourth case had been linked to the Paddington Alimentari, and contact trackers believed a child became infected while visiting the deli. The case was registered after 8pm on Thursday, so it will be included in Saturday’s numbers.
Chant reiterated that all customers of the deli between December 17 and 19, including customers who only picked up takeout, should isolate themselves.
He reiterated his concern about undetected community transmission occurring in the northeast part of Sydney’s CBD. Three cases were linked to the sports bar at the Paragon Hotel on Circular Quay.
Chant also revealed that authorities believe that a case announced on December 23, a man in Belrose on the northern beaches, has not yet been linked to the local group.
He had mild symptoms on December 10, the earliest date of concern for the group, and authorities say he has not transmitted Covid-19 to anyone in his home.
Chant said the man was “a line of investigation” to unearth the initial transmission route on the northern beaches, but authorities were “following many, many lines of investigation at the same time.”
The health director said authorities had reversed a directive that all passengers on a Qantas flight from Darwin to Sydney were close contacts and should isolate themselves.
A passenger on the flight, who had since traveled to South Australia, tested positive for Covid and authorities believe he contracted it from a positive Qantas crew member flying as a passenger.
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