New restrictions as NSW records spike in virus cases

Seven new locally acquired cases of coronavirus have been reported for NSW with mask-wearing set to become mandatory for a host of venues and activities in Greater Sydney from this weekend.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian also announced Saturday that people in the southern part of Sydney’s Northern Beaches would now fall into restrictions that apply to Greater Sydney.

They had previously been subject to strict stay-at-home orders and were limited in the number of visitors allowed.

The premier made her announcement on Saturday. Source: AAP
The premier made her announcement on Saturday. Source: AAP

Mask mandate, tighter restrictions announced

From midnight tonight, masks will be compulsory in certain indoor settings with enforcement via fines of $200 from Monday onwards.

The rules apply to Greater Sydney, which includes Metro, Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and Central Coast areas.

Masks will be required in shopping centres, public transport, indoor entertainment, places of worship, hair and beauty salons, gaming venues, and for staff at hospitality venues.

“If you go to shopping centres, catching public transport, attending 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.

“We have already strongly wanted people to wear a mask but we do not want to restrict peoples' ability to go about their business. We want to increase economic activity and mask wearing in these settings will ensure we have the confidence to do that.

“Also when we are hosting major events or undertaking of activities or people going to work, having masks on a public transport reduces the risk of allowing people to go about their business. This is why it is a good time to do that.”

Gym classes will also be moved to a maximum of 30 people down from 50, while nightclub-goers will not be allowed to sing or dance.

For weddings, funerals or places of worship, there will be a maximum of 100 people allowed and the four-square metre rule will apply.

Performances and activities will be reduced from 1000 to 500 and outdoor events will come down to 2000 “to mitigate the risks of any super spreading event”.

Of the seven new locally acquired cases, five from Western Sydney are linked to the Berala cluster and four are from the same household, NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

“One locally acquired case is a household contact of a previously reported case, a patient transport worker, and has been isolating for the infectious period,” she told reporters.

A further case remains under investigation, Dr Chant said.

New hot zones announced

Dr Chant revealed a number of venues of concern where positive cases had visited recently and potentially while infectious.

Anyone who visited BWS at Berala on December 22, 24 and December 31 should get tested immediately and isolate until a negative result is received.

The same advice applies to anyone who visited 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.

Patrons who dined at The Coffee Club in Stockland Shellharbour on December 27 between 11:30am and 12:45pm must get also tested immediately and isolate until a negative results is received.

Those who visited several venues updated on Saturday by NSW Health should monitor for symptoms and if they occur, get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative result.

The venues include 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 and Hills Campus Hillsong Church in Norwest on December 29 from 8pm - 8:45pm.

If you visited Woolworths, Eastgardens Shopping Centre on December 30 from 6:30am to 1:30pm and January 1 from 7am until 10am, or Hariri chickens at 140 Railway Parade, Kogarah on December 31 from 1:45pm - 2pm you should monitor for symptoms and get tested if they occur.

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