Sydney is on edge this morning ahead of the latest Coronavirus case numbers being released at 11am.
Health officials are expecting another jump in cases but it’s hoped new restrictions implemented yesterday will be enough to stop the spread of the latest outbreak in its tracks.
At least 13 cases will be announced this morning, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian advised of these yesterday. They came in after 8pm Tuesday, hence will be included in today’s figures.
Penrith residents are this morning adjusting to harsh new COVID-19 restrictions, including the unprecedented move of making masks required in office environments.
Meanwhile a range of local events have been postponed or cancelled, including the Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Budget Breakfast scheduled for Friday morning and tonight’s opening of the Astina Rooftop Bar.
Millions of Sydney residents are waking up to tough restrictions as COVID-19 spreads through the city.
The so-called Bondi cluster now stands at 37 after 16 new locally acquired cases were reported on Wednesday
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) June 23, 2021
Health Minister Brad Hazzard, who is himself in isolation this morning after being identified as a potential close contact of another case, said more than ever people need to use QR codes and wear masks when required.
“We will be increasing supervision and compliance checks to make sure everyone is doing the right thing,” Mr Hazzard said.
“This pandemic is far from over and we all have to do our bit to protect the community.”
It’s been confirmed this morning that NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has tested positive to the virus.
The new restrictions in force until at least next Thursday morning include:
• Visitors to households will be limited to 5 guests – including children;
• Masks will be compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces, and at organised outdoor events;
• Drinking while standing at indoor venues will not be allowed;
• Singing by audiences at indoor shows or by congregants at indoor places of worship will not be allowed;
• Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs however, dancing is allowed at weddings for the bridal party only (no more than 20 people);
• Dance and gym classes limited to 20 per class (masks must be worn);
• The one person per four square metre rule will be re-introduced for all indoor and outdoor settings, including weddings and funerals;
• Outdoor seated events will be limited to 50% seated capacity;
• Previous public transport capacity limits, represented by green dots, will be reintroduced;
• If you live or work in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, and Woollahra local government areas, you cannot travel outside metropolitan Sydney for non-essential travel.
Ms Berejiklian urged the community to follow the new rules.
“We don’t take these steps lightly and we never want to impose restrictions unless we absolutely have to,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We know the effect this will have on residents and venues but we must take this action now to ensure we keep on top of this outbreak.”
— 9News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) June 23, 2021
While some journalists suggested NSW was headed for a lockdown as early as Friday, it’s understood Ms Berejiklian is hoping to avoid such a drastic measure.
Meanwhile, the NRL is keeping a keen eye on restrictions ahead of its next round of matches, scheduled to get underway in Sydney next Thursday night. There’s no club football this weekend due to the stand-alone State of Origin.
If restrictions are extended, BlueBet Stadium may be at 50 per cent capacity for next Friday’s blockbuster between Penrith and Parramatta. Corporate facilities at the match would also be impacted given the rules surrounding hospitality.
While no new cases have been recorded in the Penrith area, locals are being reminded to check the NSW Health website for the latest venue alerts. Locals should get tested if they display any COVID-19 symptoms or have been to an exposure site.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.