Thousands of bargain hunters ignored pleas from authorities to stay home yesterday and instead flocked to busy shopping malls for Boxing Day sales.
Inside the Westfield mall in Parramatta, in Sydney’s west, shoppers mingled on crowded escalators and queued in massive lines outside packed retailers.
Photos and videos from inside the centre showed people crammed together in obvious breach of coronavirus social distancing rules, with barely enough room for people to walk through the maze of pathways.
Some shared images from the mall to Twitter, blasting those who ignored premier Gladys Berejiklian’s call for frugal spenders to do their Boxing Day shopping online.
One man shared a video from inside the bustling mall, writing: “corona who?”.
Other social media users were alarmed by the scene, with one labelling it “a disaster waiting to happen”.
“Outside of epidemiological concerns why would any rational person join a shopping centre moshpit?” another said.
Many pointed out that the hundreds of people in the video had foregone a face mask, despite an ongoing cluster of cases in Sydney and positive cases visiting parts of Western Sydney.
NSW recorded a further seven new cases on Sunday, with six linked to the Avalon cluster on the Northern Beaches and the seventh still under investigation.
Two locations in nearby Auburn have recently been visited by a positive coronavirus case - Rosnay Gold Club Bistro and Chicago Jones Coffee & Chocolate Maison, both on December 20.
Meanwhile in Miranda, in the Sutherland Shire, there were reports of huge queues outside stores as retailers limited the number of people allowed inside at a time.
Customers were also left waiting hours to get into stores at the Bondi Junction Westfield, in Sydney’s inner east.
Someone in Sydney claimed they saw ‘50,000 people’ at their local Westfield shopping centre, but didn’t clarify which one.
“Got to be 50,000 at my local Sydney Westfields - totally packed. About 5 per cent were wearing a mask. Get ready for big new Covid NSW numbers,” they wrote on Twitter.
The shopping precinct in the Sydney CBD seemed predominantly quiet however, and the normally busy Chatswood Chase on the Lower North Shore was reportedly “dead”.
Someone shared a photo from inside the centre where not one shopper could be seen, describing the scene “actually heartbreaking”.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.