NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced the reintroduction of social restrictions across Greater Sydney in response to the Northern Beaches outbreak. Venues throughout Sydney have now been connected to confirmed cases from the Avalon cluster, including eateries, bars, gyms and shopping centres, as well as multiple public transport routes. A full list of affected venues and transport routes is available on the NSW Health website.
The entire Northern Beaches region of Sydney has now been placed in a localised lockdown, with similar restrictions to those imposed on the entire city earlier this year requiring businesses to close and residents to stay at home. Overnight, 30 additional cases linked to the Northern Beaches outbreak were diagnosed from more than 28,000 tests. 28 were linked to known cases, while two others still under investigation were based in the Northern Beaches.
While there is currently no evidence of widespread seeding of the virus outside of the Northern Beaches region, restrictions are to be put in place across Greater Sydney, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains as a precaution.
- Within hospitality venues and places of worship from midnight on Sunday, December 20 until midnight on Wednesday, December 23, the four-square-metre rule, which had been relaxed to two square metres, will be reinstated.
- The maximum occupancy of a venue regardless of size will also be capped at 300 patrons.
- A ban on dancing and singing in public venues, which had only recently been lifted, will also come back into effect.
- Private gatherings in a residence will be restricted to a maximum of 10 guests.
Government officials warned that more public health orders would be announced on Wednesday, December 23, based on the number of cases that emerge in the coming days. NSW Health has appealed for anyone with even mild symptoms to come forward for testing, with a number of pop-up covid testing centres being established throughout Sydney to meet the anticipated demand.