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

The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has announced an update to Covid restrictions for greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour, including a partial lockdown that comes into effect from 11.59pm on Friday 25 June.

There are many questions about how the partial lockdown works. Here is what we know so far based on the information the NSW government has provided.

Lockdown for certain Sydney council areas

Stay-at-home orders are being introduced for at least one week for those who live in, or whose usual place of work is in Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and City of Sydney councils.

From 11.59pm on Friday 25 June, anyone who resides in the four local government areas, or whose regular place of work is located in these areas, must not 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

  • Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer

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

Does the lockdown apply to me?

The lockdown applies to anyone who has attended a place of work in the areas of concern since 12 June.

“It doesn’t matter where you live,” Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday morning. “If you’ve worked in those four local government areas, you’re subject to the orders.”

If you have been in the four affected LGAs, but you do not live there or usually work or study there, the stay at home rules do not apply.

But it’s unclear if you have made several visits if you should abide by the lockdown. A NSW Health source said on Friday that anyone who regularly visited those areas or has spent a “significant” amount of time since 12 June in those areas should adhere to the lockdown rule.

So, for example, if you spent anywhere from three days a week in one of those LGAs, the rules would apply.

However, it is less clear and more up to a person’s own judgment if their visits to the LGAs have been less frequent than this.

The NSW Health source said if you’re a university student who has visited their campus within one of the four LGAs regularly (three or more days a week since 12 June was the example given to me), the stay-at-home order would apply to you.

Infrequent or one-off visits to these four LGAs would not constitute a significant enough amount of time to mean they are subject to the stay-at-home rules.

For example, if someone living in the the Inner West council area, visited the Sydney CBD (City of Sydney LGA) for an optometrist appointment, or a lunch, at some point since 12 June, but has kept outside the four LGAs since then, they would not have to observe the stay-at-home order.

Do my family or housemates have to go into lockdown?

If you don’t live in one of the four LGAs, but live in a share house or family home with someone who must observe the stay-at-home order, then you do NOT have to observe the order too.

What businesses can open in lockdown?

The NSW government said today only essential food and services businesses in those areas can open, and only open for take away. So nightclubs, retail, gyms and others must close. As for the precise definition on what those essential businesses are, we are waiting for clarification from NSW Health.

Can weddings go ahead?

NSW Health information issued late on Friday explains weddings in the four locked-down council areas can go ahead this weekend. Attending a wedding is a reasonable excuse to leave home or enter the areas.

If you live or usually work or study in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick, you may leave the council boundaries to attend a wedding in Greater Sydney on Saturday or Sunday.

From Monday, you can not hold a wedding in those four councils and you can’t leave the areas to attend a wedding.

What about funerals?

Funerals can continue to take place, including in the locked-down councils, with 100 or less people. Attending a funeral is a reasonable excuse to leave home or enter the four LGAs. However, if there are more than 100 people at the funeral, people covered by lockdown rules are not allowed to go.

Can I play sport?

Community sport, including training, can proceed. However, someone subject to the lockdown rules can only participate in matches or training within the local government area they live in.

Can I visit the City of Sydney or eastern suburbs?

If you do not live in the four LGAs covered by the lockdown, you cannot enter the area. You can, however, drive through the areas as long as you do not leave your vehicle.

Can I leave Sydney?

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.

“If you happen to live or work in those seven LGAs, we don’t want you moving outside of Sydney,” Berejiklian said on 23 June. “We don’t want spreading to our regions. We don’t want spreading to holiday destinations within New South Wales, at regional New South Wales in particular.”

Can I have visitors to my house?

Visitors to households have been limited to only five guests – including children – except for the four local government areas that are in lockdown.

What are the restrictions at hospitality and entertainment venues?

Outside of the four locked-down LGAs, the one person per four square 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?

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

What about public gatherings?

Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 10 people in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, and Randwick local government areas.

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.

Update to face mask rules

You must wear a face mask in greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour when:

  • In all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces, in gym and dance classes, and at organised outdoor events

  • Using public transport, hire vehicles, taxis and rideshare services

  • Waiting for public transport at a bus or light rail stop, train station or ferry wharf.

Other restrictions for the rest of 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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