Plans to allow some 5,000 frontline workers to view Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display from the beach have been scrapped as the New South Wales government tries to contain the coronavirus outbreak on northern beaches.
State Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced the restrictions for Dec. 31 on Monday as the Avalon group grew to 126, with five more locally acquired cases recorded.
Sydney residents will not be able to access the central business district on December 31 unless they have a place reservation and have obtained an entry permit from the authorities.
It means that the city center is likely to be eerily quiet on what is normally one of its busiest nights of the year. At the same time, the rules on outdoor gatherings have also been tightened.
Berejiklian said the government believed that having front-line workers from Sydney and the regions gathered at the CBD for the fireworks display was “too much of a health risk.”
“We will find another opportunity during the year to recognize what he has done,” he said. “On New Years Eve, we don’t want crowds in the jungles around Sydney at all.
“However, if you have a reservation for a restaurant or other hospitality venue, as long as the 4 square meter rule is met, and those venues have Covid-safe plans and you have a Services NSW permit, you will be allowed to enter those places in the CBD “.
He stressed that the city’s famous seven-minute fireworks display would still take place at midnight, but encouraged people to watch it on television.
Berejiklian said there are still “too many worrying aspects” of the outbreak, including that authorities have been unable to trace some cases.
This meant that existing restrictions in the Sydney metropolitan area and on the northern beaches would be maintained throughout the new year period.
He said the northern area of the northern beaches, which is marked by the Narrabeen Bridge, would remain under stay-at-home orders until January 9.
In a rule change that will only apply on December 31 and January 1, those in the north will be able to have five guests in their homes, but all visitors must also live in the same area.
Residents of that region will also be allowed to have outdoor gatherings of up to five people during the lockdown.
On New Year’s Eve, residents of Sydney, the Central Coast and Wollongong will be able to have up to 10 guests in their homes.
But outdoor gatherings will also be cut from 100 to 50 on New Year’s Eve, a change that comes after authorities harshly criticized an outdoor beach party held in Bronte on Dec. 26.
The rules in effect until January 2 meant that residents of the southern zone of the North Beaches will be able to receive 10 visitors within their area.
In the CBD, non-residents will need proof of a hospitality venue reservation, which they then need to use to apply for a Services NSW permit. CBD residents will be allowed 10 guests in their homes, but those visitors must also apply for a permit.
“You can’t just because you feel like getting on a bus or train and coming to the CBD on New Year’s Eve,” the prime minister said. “That is not the way. You have to go to a specific location or be a resident of the CBD. “
Berejiklian said “controlled” sit-ins run by city councils could still go ahead, but urged Sydney residents to exercise “restraint.”
“Please know that singing, dancing, even talking loudly and mingling really accelerates the spread of the virus and we ask everyone to please be cautious this year,” he said.
“We know that it is not the New Year’s Eve that we all expected. But that’s okay and we want 2021 to be better than 2020. “
NSW Health Director Kerry Chant added that those who might postpone or cancel their New Year’s Eve events should do so.
The existing rules will apply in the New South Wales region.
Chant also placed a new request for Sydneyns to come forward for testing. The 15,000 tests performed in the past 24 hours were only a “moderate” result, he said.
“Having those incredibly high levels of testing before the Christmas period gave us great confidence that we were diagnosing cases quickly and allowed us to better understand the scope of the outbreak,” he said.
It was also confirmed that a man in his 70s died this week from respiratory complications after a Covid-19 infection diagnosed in March.
NSW Health said the man was a family contact for a locally acquired case and had recently tested negative for the virus.
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