New mask rules, but NSW looks poised to avoid lockdown

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New South Wales will make masks mandatory in some settings but looks set to avoid any lockdown stemming from the current outbreak of COVID-19.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian this morning confirmed her intention to keep the State open for business, but would increase safety measures.

New rules from midnight tonight include:

· Face masks will be mandatory in the following indoor settings: shopping (retail, supermarkets and shopping centres), public/shared transport, indoor entertainment (including cinemas and theatres), places of worship, hair and beauty premises. Face masks will also be mandatory for all staff in hospitality venues and casinos and for patrons using gaming services. Compliance will start from Monday, 4 January 2021 with $200 on the spot fines for individuals for non-compliance. Children under 12 are exempt but are encouraged to wear masks where practicable.

· Gym classes reduced to 30 people.

· Places of worship and religious services limited to 1 person per 4sqm up to a maximum of 100 people per separate area.

· Weddings and funerals limited to 1 person per 4sqm up to a maximum of 100 people.

· Outdoor performances and protests reduced to 500 people.

· Controlled, outdoor gatherings (seated, ticketed, enclosed) reduced to 2,000 people.

· Night clubs not permitted.

The rules apply to greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Nepean / Blue Mountains, but not regional NSW.

People are still encouraged to limit non-essential gatherings and reduce their mobility where possible to further minimise the risk of transmission in the community, however travel to regional NSW continues to be allowed.

“We thank the community for their patience and understanding,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Our priority is always to protect the health and safety of the community.”

NSW today recorded seven new COVID-19 cases in the community.

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