Sydney Covid lockdown restrictions: see the NSW update to coronavirus rules

The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has announced a two-week lockdown for greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong that came into effect from 6pm on Saturday 26 June until midnight on Friday 9 July.

This supersedes the lockdown already in effect for those who live in or whose usual place of work is in Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and City of Sydney councils.

Here is what we know so far based on the information the NSW government has provided.

Does the lockdown apply to me?

From 6pm on Saturday 26 June 2021, people who have been in the greater Sydney region (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong) on or after June 21 should follow the stay-at-home orders for a period of 14 days after they left greater Sydney. People cannot leave their homes unless it is for one of the four essential reasons:

  • Shopping for food or other essential goods and services.

  • Medical care or compassionate needs, including getting a Covid-19 vaccine

  • Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer

  • Essential work, or education, where you cannot work or study from home

See here for the full list of reasonable excuses to leave your home.

What businesses can open in lockdown?

Food businesses can open for takeaway only. Supermarkets and grocery stories will be open throughout the lockdown. Entertainment facilities, such as theatres, cinemas, music halls, concert halls and dance halls and amusement centres, such as places to play billiards, pool, pinball machines or video games are all closed.

See here for a full list of which businesses are open and closed.

Can weddings go ahead?

Weddings can continue to take place in greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour until the end of 27 June. Attending a wedding before the end of 27 June is a reasonable excuse to leave home.

If you live in, usually work in, or usually attend a university or other tertiary education facility in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick local government areas, you may leave those areas if the wedding is in greater Sydney and before the end of 27 June 2021.

The 10 person limit to outdoor gatherings does not apply to weddings before the end of 27 June.

From 28 June onwards, you will not be able to enter greater Sydney to hold or attend a wedding or leave your place of residence to attend a wedding if you live in, usually work in, or usually attend a university or other tertiary education facility in greater Sydney.

What about funerals?

Funerals can continue to take place, including in the locked-down areas, with 100 or less people. Attending a funeral is a reasonable excuse to leave home.

Can I exercise?

Community sport (whether training or a match) in greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour can only proceed if it complies with the rules about outdoor public gatherings and premises that are directed to be closed. This will mean that most community sport cannot go ahead in greater Sydney.

Exercise is allowed outdoors in groups of no more than 10 people.

Gladys Berejiklian said: “We appreciate during the school holidays, this could be the only time that people are able to gather outside and in no more than groups of ten. In the regions that we’ve outlined, in no more than groups of 10, you’re able to gather outside for the recreational exercise. And of course, when you are outdoors in groups of ten, make sure that you maintain a good social distance.”

Can I have visitors to my house?

If you are in greater Sydney, you must comply with the stay at home rules. If you want to visit another person you will need a reasonable excuse to be away from your place of residence. A visitor does not include a person at the place of residence who is there:

  • For work or attend a university or other tertiary education facility

  • For childcare

  • As a carer

  • To provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person

  • To give effect to arrangements between parents and children under 18 or their siblings

  • To assist a person to move places of residence

  • To avoid an injury or serious risk of harm

  • Because of an emergency

  • For compassionate reasons

  • To view or inspect property to lease or purchase it

In regional NSW, visitors to households have been limited to only five guests – including children.

What are the restrictions at hospitality and entertainment venues?

In greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong, food businesses can open for takeaway only. Entertainment facilities, such as theatres, cinemas, music halls, concert halls and dance halls and amusement centres, such as places to play billiards, pool, pinball machines or video games are all closed.

Outside of greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong, the one person per 4 sq metre rule has been re-introduced for all indoor and outdoor settings, including weddings and funerals. Berejiklian said people shouldn’t cancel their events, but should reassess attendance numbers.

Drinking while standing at indoor venues is also not allowed and outdoor seated events are limited to only 50% seated capacity.

Singing by audiences at indoor shows or by congregants at indoor places of worship is also banned, and dancing is not allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs. However, dancing is allowed at weddings for the bridal party only (no more than 20 people).

Can I travel interstate?

People in greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong cannot travel.

Other states and territories have closed their borders to parts of NSW. Each state and territory is updating guidance on travel rules individually:

What about public gatherings?

Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 10 people in greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong. In these areas, you must not participate in an outdoor public gathering of more than 10 people, unless you are:

  • Working or attending a university or other tertiary education facility

  • Providing care or assistance to vulnerable persons

  • Gathering with your household

  • Gathering for a wedding or funeral

  • Providing emergency assistance to a person

  • Fulfilling a legal obligation

  • Moving home or moving your business to a new premises

See here for a list of exemptions to these rules.

Outside of the areas in lockdown, up to 200 people can gather in an outdoor public place such as a park, reserve, beach, garden or public space.

Outdoor seated events are limited to 50% seated capacity.

What are the rules around masks?

The requirement to wear a face mask in all indoor areas of non-residential premises that was recently applied in greater Sydney has been extended to all of NSW.

As well as wearing a face mask in all indoor areas, you must also wear a face mask:

  • At organised outdoor gatherings

  • If you are on public transport

  • In a major recreation facility such as a stadium or

  • If you are working in a hospitality venue

What other restrictions are in place for regional NSW?

As well as the new mask mandate, the following restrictions remain in place across NSW:

  • Dance and gym classes limited to 20 per class (masks must be worn).

  • Previous public transport capacity limits, represented by green dots, will be reintroduced.

  • Nightclubs must still be Covid safe, while weddings, funerals and memorial services must have and comply with a Covid-19 safety plan.

  • When a religious service is held in a place of public worship, the premises must have and comply with a COVID-19 Safety Plan for a place of worship.

See the full list of what you can do in NSW at the NSW Health website

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  • Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.

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