Covid NSW: What you can and can't do this New Year's Eve

Nadine Carroll
·6-min read

Sydney’s famous New Year’s Eve celebrations will look very different in 2020 after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced strict rules on how the state can see off the much-maligned year.

The rules are intended to limit the spread of coronavirus as the state battles to get on top of this month’s Northern Beaches cluster. The premier announced the new restrictions after another five Covid cases were announced on Monday.

If you are in NSW and ready to wave goodby to 2020, here are all the rules you need to know about celebrating New Year’s Eve.

Sydney New Year’s Eve Fireworks to go ahead

people gathered watching New Year's Eve fireworks last year in Sydney
'We don't want any crowds on the foreshores around Sydney whatsoever,' says the NSW Premier

Instead of getting up at dawn to reserve the best vantage spot by the harbour this year we are being encouraged to watch the fireworks from our lounge rooms.

Ms Berejiklian said nobody was welcome to gather on the foreshore at all, even the previously promised spots to thank front-line workers have now been cancelled.

“We don't want any crowds on the foreshores around Sydney whatsoever,” she said to media on Monday.

Five new cases of Covid were announced on Monday, all linked to the Northern Beaches cluster. And while that number is decreasing restrictions around December 31 have been firmly put in place to ensure the numbers continue to stay low.

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

People holding sparkler celebrating
Gatherings have been limited to where you are from and where you are planning to celebrate New Years Eve. Source: Getty

“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 [on TV] and that is the safest way this year to enjoy the fireworks.”

The amount of people allowed to gather on New Year’s Eve depends on where you are planning on celebrating, and where you are from.

Can I go into Sydney CBD on New Year’s Eve?

In and around the Sydney CBD from 5pm December 31 there will be two zones – a green zone and a yellow zone.

The green zone includes Circular Quay, The Rocks, the Botanic Gardens and vantage points at Cremorne Point, Kurraba Point, Milsons Point, Lavender Bay and McMahons Point.

“Unless you have a permit from Service NSW to attend a hospitality venue, nobody should be in the CBD at all, and that is our strong message,” the Premier said.

You can also visit a friend who lives in the green zone but gatherings will be capped at 10 people.

Those with booked reservations should check with venues to ensure procedure is followed, and make sure the venue has a QR code you can sign in with.

People gathered to watch the Sydney CBD fireworks last year
To be in Sydney CBD this New Year's Eve you will need a permit from Service NSW. Source: Getty

Venues that don’t have a QR code reader up and running by January 1 could face a $5000 fine.

"If you're at a pub in the CBD on New Year's Eve, you cannot be standing up and mingling, we just can't see scenes of people, especially after having a few drinks, just getting up and mingling and deciding they want to give everybody a kiss and a hug on New Year's Eve,” the Premier said.

The yellow zone consists of Kings Cross, Balmain East, parts of North Sydney, Waverton and Kirribilli.

While there is no need to seek permission to be in the yellow zone, police will be patrolling to ensure the public behave safely.

Bradfield Park, Blues Point Reserve, Mary Booth Reserve, Quibaree Park, Kurraba Reserve and Cremorne Reserve will not be open to the public.

Can I have a party in my home on New Year’s Eve?

Depending on where you live, yes. This is the best way to enjoy New Years Eve as long as you take into considerations any restrictions set in your area and follow social distancing recommendations.

If you’re living in Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast you will be limited to 10 guests in your home, including children.

The Northern Beaches have resections based on their zones (listed below).

Everywhere else outdoors is limited to 50 people, including children.

PEOPLE GATHERED OUTSIDE TO BBQ
Outside of the Northern Beaches and Greater Sydney, outdoor gatherings have been restricted to 100 people. Source: Getty

Can I host a New Year’s Eve party at a park?

If you are in Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast you are allowed to have up to 50 guests at an outdoor event. This excludes the Northern Beaches.

Outside of the Northern Beaches and Greater Sydney, outdoor gatherings have been restricted to 100.

However, there are strict social distancing rules for each gathering.

This means no kissing somebody from outside your immediate household, or anyone other than your significant other as the clock strikes midnight.

The rules also mean that if you see another gathering, you can’t join forces to create one huge party, so keep your distance from other gatherings.

“What police and our health authorities don't want to see others groups of 50 suddenly converging and becoming hundreds,” Ms Berejiklian cautioned.

People wearing masks as they attend an event.
Wherever or however you celebrate New Year's Eve, social distancing guidelines should be followed. Source: Getty

Can I have a party if I live in the Northern Beaches?

The Northern Beaches zones will remain in place until after New Year’s Eve, but those in the respective southern and northern Northern Beaches zones must stay within them.

The stay-at-home provisions will remain in the northern zone of the Northern Beaches until January 9.

While those in the southern end of the Northern Beaches will have the orders in place until January 2.

“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,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged.

Can I have a party in the Northern Beaches (northern zone)

People on the northern part of the Northern Beaches will be able to have five people over, including children on New Year’s Eve but they have to be from the northern zone.

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

Residents can also enjoy outdoor gatherings of up to five people any time until January 9, with people from the same zone.

Can I have a party in the Northern Beaches (southern zone)

Residents from the southern zone will be able to host 10 people into their home for New Year’s Eve, including children, but they must be from the southern zone.

Outdoor gatherings of 10 people are allowed until January 2 as long as everyone is from that zone.

“If you want to have a picnic or take your children to the playground or have a barbecue, you can” Ms Berejiklian said.

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