On August 18, Time Out Sydney published a news article with the headline “The whole of the City of Sydney has been declared an outbreak hotspot”. The piece detailed a health warning issued by NSW Health that stated that the City of Sydney LGA was a “hotspot” area, and that authorities were urging people living, working, and visiting the area to exercise additional caution and observe safety measures. It was a story that was widely reported by multiple mainstream media outlets.
The intention of the article was to share a public health alert with our readers, something that Time Out Sydney has done throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as new information, restrictions and health guidelines have been released to the media by the state’s health authorities. However, it has since been brought to our attention that some businesses within the City of Sydney LGA felt the article misrepresented the risks within the CBD in a way that could damage public trust in Sydney’s struggling hospitality sector. This was not our intention at all, and for any distress, confusion or doubt this news piece may have caused, we sincerely apologise.
Time Out exists to champion and celebrate the incredible creativity, diversity, and excellence of Sydney’s hospitality professionals, connecting Sydneysiders with the best of the city’s restaurants, bars, and culture hubs. As Sydney begins the long road to recovery following the economic shutdown, Time Out is entirely committed to supporting the hospitality sector as the city rebuilds, by encouraging consumers to remain connected to our nightlife and culture scene in the safest ways possible. In reporting on health guidance issued by the state government, we hope that we can play a role in encouraging the public to follow safety measures so that Sydney can avoid the kind of devastating second wave that Melbourne is suffering. Here is one of the articles we have produced to inform people how to go out safely.
In response to feedback we have received over the past 24 hours, we have amended the headline of the article as well as the standfirst to make it clear that no hospitality venues in the CBD have been tied to an outbreak. We have also included a statement from the City of Sydney which adds a more detailed context to NSW Health’s original alert. We have also removed the original social media posts of the article.
Time Out remains committed to supporting and celebrating every facet of Sydney life, including the many business owners and hospos whose hard work, vision, tenacity and talent make this city, in our opinion, one of the most exciting in the world. We are sorry that on this occasion, our reporting lacked enough context, and we will endeavour to do better by both our readers and the businesses we connect them with in the future.
Maxim Boon - Editor, Time Out Sydney