Confusion is rife amongst communities impacted by Christmas coronavirus restrictions announced by the NSW premier, with the state split into four regions, each with a different set of rules.
Under the “modest” changes revealed by premier Gladys Berejiklian Wednesday, Sydney has been separated into three main zones which will remain in place from Christmas Eve until the end of Boxing Day.
For people in the Northern Beaches living north of the Narrabeen Bridge and east of the Baha’i Temple at Mona Vale Road, just five visitors are allowed and all must be from the same zone.
Those between south of the Narrabeen Bridge and the Spit Bridge in Sydney’s Lower North Shore can have 10 visitors from anywhere in Greater Sydney, including an unlimited number of children under 12.
While anyone can visit the home, people in this area must not leave themselves, unless for an essential reason.
People living in Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast, Wollongong, Sutherland Shire, and the Blue Mountains, are bound by the same 10-person limit and can have any number of children under 12.
Unlike those on the lower end of the Northern Beaches, Greater Sydney residents can leave their homes for reasons that aren’t essential and travel to anywhere in NSW, except the northern Northern Beaches zone.
From December 27, children under 12 will go back to being included in the maximum of 10 visitors allowed in homes for both Greater Sydney and lower end of the Northern Beaches.
New NSW Covid rules slammed as confusing
The announced restrictions left some certain there were bound to be people accidentally breaking the rules and many arguing the latest plan made “no sense”.
“Is it just me or did Gladys’ announcement make no sense? You can’t leave the southern part of the North Beaches but you can have people come in and visit. What’s the point of that? Your visitors will spread Covid,” one person wrote to social media.
“It doesn't make a lot of sense to me either - nor does allowing visitors from Greater Sydney to Northern Beaches - Manly - who then go back home - but the Manly person can't leave theirs,” another said.
“Southern part of the Northern Beaches can have people visit them for Christmas from outside that region, but can’t visit outside of that region. Doesn’t make a lot of sense given a visitor to that region can then spread it in other parts of Sydney. It’s either a risk area or not,” a third wrote.
‘Ridiculous’: People express sense of powerlessness before Christmas
Several others blatantly called out the latest rules as far too confusing for most to understand.
“The Sydney lockdown rule gets more complicated by the day. I'm getting a headache,” one said.
Others were concerned the outcome of the Christmas rules wouldn’t be represented in case numbers until well into the new year, which in itself caused people to be “slightly nervous”.
“Does anyone else think the Xmas rules in #NSW are a bit of an experiment? Ten guests plus 50 kids can gather together. We won't know the results until after NYE. This makes me slightly nervous, anyone else?,” one wrote.
Some expressed they felt a general powerlessness and confusion ahead of the Christmas period.
“What can we do? Ridiculous stupid rules,” someone said.
#Christmas will be different this year if you or your loved one has been identified as a close contact to a confirmed case of #COVID19.
- Stay in touch via phone, email or social media
- Ask family or friends to drop off a meal to front door
Read more: https://t.co/1OlP5ctVop pic.twitter.com/RooWjSluOa
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 23, 2020
Shocking revelation about patient transport worker emerges
Contact tracers are still working to determine how a health care worker transporting people to hotel quarantine acquired the specific strain detected in the Northern Beaches cluster.
The health care worker was on Thursday revealed to have also transported an elderly person from an Anglicare aged care facility in Castle Hill to receive medical treatment, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The patient and staff at the centre have since tested negative, but will still be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period due to their possible exposure to the virus.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.