News Coronavirus Sydney New Year’s Eve coronavirus rules explained: What can I do?
Updated:

Sydney New Year’s Eve coronavirus rules explained: What can I do?

Share
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

The long-awaited restrictions for New Year’s Eve have been announced but no matter where you are in Sydney, you’re being urged to stay in and watch the fireworks on TV or celebrate with a small group outdoors.

Tight restrictions apply for all of Greater Sydney and the special celebrations for frontline workers around the harbour have been cancelled

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has apologised for being “so strict” but says we all want “2021 to be better than 2020”.

“Can I say to people – please reduce your mobility, don’t move around unless you absolutely have to, don’t travel around unless you absolutely have to.”

Chief health officer Kerry Chant has asked people to use any outdoor space available if they plan to host guests on the night.

“If you can have your New Year’s Eve celebrations on an open verandah, outdoor barbecues – please keep people out of indoor spaces,” she said.

And yes, unfortunately the midnight kiss might be off the cards this NYE.

“When the clock ticks over to midnight … I know that’s normally an emotional time where we like to kiss and hug everybody around us, can I ask for absolute restraint?” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

So here’s what you can and cannot do depending on where you are.

The northern beaches (north zone)

With another five COVID-19 cases announced on Monday (four being linked to the Avalon cluster), those in the north zone of the Northern Beaches will still be subject to stay-at-home provisions until January 9.

This means residents must stay home with the exception of four reasons:

  • Shopping for goods and services
  • Travel for work or education (which cannot be done at home)
  • Exercise
  • Medical care.

While cases are falling, the premier said there were still too many unlinked cases in this area to give the community the NYE they were hoping for.

However, residents in the area are getting a small reprieve for NYE when they will be allowed to have five people gather in one household (including children) for just one night.

Any visitors must also be from the north zone of the Northern Beaches though.

Until January, outdoor gatherings of five people are also allowed.

A shop front with a 'we're closed' sign
Hospitality venues in the northern beaches will have to cancel all NYE bookings. Photo: ABC

However, no restaurants, cafes, pubs or clubs (except for takeaway) will be permitted to open for what would normally be one of their busiest nights of the year.

To counter this business downturn, Mr Hazzard has asked people to get takeaway meals from nearby restaurants.

“The takeaway message is to get some takeout if the local businesses are providing it. That will keep our local businesses supported,” he said.

The north zone applies to those who live north of the Narrabeen Bridge and east of the Baha’i Temple at Ingleside.

The Northern Beaches (south zone)

The stay-at-home order will also remain in the southern end of the northern beaches but is expected to be relaxed by January 2.

Like the north, there will be temporary easing for NYE, which means 10 people can gather in the one home (including children).

All guests must also be from the south zone of the Northern Beaches.

Gatherings of 10 people are also allowed outdoors until January 2.

No restaurants, cafes, pubs or clubs (except for takeaway) will be permitted to open for December 31.

Gladys Berejiklian
Gladys Berejiklian wants to stamp out any undetected chains of transmission in the south zone. Photo: ABC

On the morning of January 2, the premier says health authorities will revaluate the restrictions.

“Our ultimate aim is to make that [southern] zone part of Greater Sydney as soon as possible,” she said.

“There will be an easing of restrictions from the third, but what that looks like yet is yet to be determined.”

Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast

No more than 10 people are allowed at a residence for any reason and outdoor gatherings are now capped at 50 instead of 100.

“What police and our health authorities don’t want to see is those groups of 50 converging and suddenly becoming hundreds,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The premier acknowledged many people would already have made plans for the big night and said as long as they weren’t in the Northern Beaches, they should be able to go ahead with their plans with some small adjustments and common sense.

In the CBD, there’s going to be two zones from 5pm on December 31 – a green 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.

This zone is off limit to everyone except for residents, their guests and anyone with venue bookings in the area.

If you fall into these categories you must apply for a NYE pass through Service NSW.

“Unless you have a permit to go to someone’s home of not more than 10 people, or you have a permit through Service NSW to attend a hospitality venue, nobody should be in the CBD at all,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Red fireworks explode from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with orange-yellow fireworks going off over Opera House and green on right
Many public areas popular for fireworks viewing will be closed. Photo: AAP

The yellow zone takes in the rest of the CBD, Kings Cross, Balmain East, parts of North Sydney, Waverton and Kirribilli.

You don’t need permission to be in the area, but police will be out in great numbers and will move anyone on who is gathering in large numbers or in an unsafe way.

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

The plan to allow frontline workers to gather and watch the midnight fireworks from the green zone has been cancelled.

“On NYE we’re going to say to those frontline workers we’d previously invited we’ll find another opportunity during the year to recognise what you’ve done,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Council events may continue but they must be controlled and seated with no mingling, and record-keeping requirements must be strictly adhered to.

And for anyone planning to evade the restrictions, Mr Hazzard has a stark warning:

“People half contemplating doing anything stupid in the next few days, forget it. You’ll be the one who’ll end up being fined massively or may well be the cause of a super-spreading event and then you will really regret it.”

Everywhere else in NSW

Restrictions in regional NSW remain unchanged, with 50 visitors (including children) allowed at any household gathering.

In outdoor spaces, no more than 100 people can gather together.

But no matter where you are, authorities want singing and dancing kept to a minimum

“Even speaking loudly and mingling really accelerate the virus spreading and we ask everybody, please, be sensible this year,” the premier said.

Businesses across NSW have been reminded that on January 1 Service NSW QR comes become compulsory for checking in patrons.

Any business not using the government’s QR program after the clock strikes midnight will face a $5000 fine.

-ABC