Strict rule announced for New Year's Eve as more Covid cases emerge in Sydney

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·4-min read

NSW will face a number of restrictions for New Year’s Eve as the state announced five more cases of Covid-19.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Monday while it’s positive news for NSW, changes have been made ahead of New Year’s Eve.

All five cases are linked to the Northern Beaches.

A man in his 70s died on December 21 following a Covid infection in March, NSW Health said on Monday. He wasn’t infectious when he died and had tested negative but suffered from respiratory issues related to the virus.

Two women wearing face masks at Barangaroo in Sydney, Australia.
People adhere to social distancing and mask wearing in Sydney's suburb of Barangaroo last week. Source: Getty Images

“As you know, previously we'd allocated spots along the foreshore for front-line workers from across the state to be able to come and enjoy the fireworks,” she said.

“Unfortunately we're going to have to cancel that.

“We think it's too much of a health risk having people from the regions and from Sydney and from broader regional areas congregate all in the CBD and the advice to date has to all of us be try to avoid the CBD.”

“We don't want any crowds on the foreshores around Sydney whatsoever.”

Fireworks light up the sky above Sydney Harbour during the midnight fireworks display during New Year's Eve celebrations on January 1, 2020.
Fireworks off the Sydney Harbour Bridge celebrate the start of 2020. Source: Getty Images

On New Year’s Eve, people across NSW, excluding the northern part of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, will only be allowed 10 people in their homes including children.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 are allowed for households in Greater Sydney.

“That is our strong message,” the premier said.

“All of us, no matter where we are in NSW or Australia, in the world for that matter, can enjoy the seven minute display from home and that is the safest way this year to enjoy the fireworks.”

Northern Beaches ‘zones’ face restrictions through to January

The premier said the stay-at-home provisions will remain in the northern zone of the Northern Beaches until January 9. The southern end of the Northern Beaches will have the orders in place until January 2.

People on the northern part of the Northern Beaches will be able to have five people on New Year’s Eve but they have to be from that area.

“It's really important to keep households separate when we’ve got such a high concentration of cases,” Ms Berejiklian said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian looks on during a Covid-19 update press conference at St Leonards, Sydney.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the Northern Beaches will face restrictions past January 1. Source: AAP (file pic)

Currently, the Northern Beaches is being separated into two zones. The northern zone is north of the Narrabeen Bridge with a line moving west to the Baha’i Temple at Ingleside.

South of this area is considered to be the southern zone.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged residents to stay in their zones.

“It is crucial that you do not leave those areas unless you really have to and unless it's authorised by the public health orders,” he said.

“Stay in the zone.”

Frustrations for NSW contact tracers

Mr Hazzard said contact tracers have been left frustrated by cases where they can’t figure what venues the person has visited.

“As of January 1, all businesses are required to have the Service New South Wales QR Code,” he said.

“I want to stress that you have a quieter period right now to get on to doing that and you need to do it.”

He added any businesses caught without it after January 1 face a $5000 fine.

Shoppers are seen being temperature checked on entry to a store in Sydney.
Sydney shoppers get their temperature checked on Boxing Day. Source: AAP

The state reported seven new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday with six linked to the Northern Beaches cluster.

The seventh case was found in Bondi but it’s not known where it originated.

Authorities also furious after a party at Bronte Beach on Christmas Day attracted police attention.

Footage from the scene showed a rowdy display of party-goers dressed in festive gear, drinking, chanting for cameras and ignoring coronavirus social distancing rules.

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