The NSW government says at the end of Boxing Day, the state will revert back to pre-Christmas coronavirus restrictions and indoor gatherings will no longer be permitted for Sydney’s northern beaches residents.
As the state recorded another nine locally acquired COVID-19 cases, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced from 11:59pm Saturday until 11:59pm on December 30 restrictions will revert to pre-Christmas Eve levels.
For those living in the Greater Sydney region, Central Coast, Wollongong, and Nepean Blue Mountains this would mean no changes except school-aged children now constitute as part of a household’s 10 visitor cap.
Over the Christmas period, children under 12 years old weren’t counted as additional visitors.
In regional NSW, nothing will change and the NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said she could not foresee any reason for further restrictions.
Those living in Sydney’s northern beaches, however, will return to “stay at home” restrictions with no indoor gatherings allowed.
They will only be able to leave for one of four approved reasons — shopping, exercise, essential work and medical or compassionate grounds.
There will also be some differences for those living in the northern peninsula of the beaches — anything north of the Narrabeen Bridge and east of the Baha’i Temple — and those in the remainder of the local government area, or southern zone.
For those in the northern peninsula may have up to five people, including children, gathering outside for exercise or recreational activity.
In the southern zone, the number of people permitted to gather for outdoor exercise is capped at 10.
Further announcements are expected from the Premier over the coming days, likely on December 30.
“We’ll be taking health advice in the next few days as to what New Year’s Even looks like, but there are some basic things I can communicate very strongly today,” the Premier said.
“That is, everybody should assume they’re watching the fireworks from home this year.”
On Thursday, Ms Berejiklian went against calls from the Australian Medical Association (AMA) to cancel the fireworks, which argued the event would encourage people to gather in larger numbers.
“The actual display itself, the seven minutes of fireworks at midnight, will be happening no matter what,” the Premier said.
“But I’ll certainly be watching it from home and we encourage everybody else to do that as well.”
The four-square metre rule per person will remain in force and only those with a booking at hospitality venues will be able to travel to the CBD precinct on New Year’s Eve, unless they have a pass through Service NSW.
The Premier said they were considering restrictions in “three-day, bite-size chunks” because she wanted the state government to “have the best advice available”.
“We don’t want to spend a single day or a single hour imposing anything we do not have to and that is why we’re doing things the way we are,” she said.
“We appreciate people have had a really tough year.
So what we’re trying to do is make sure we manage the disease, we get on top of it but also we don’t have to impose anything a day longer than we have to.”