Coronavirus restrictions have changed again in NSW as the state records seven new infections, one of which is under investigation.
Five of today’s coronavirus cases are from western and south-western Sydney and linked to the emerging Berala cluster, which now has seven linked cases.
The sixth case is a household contact of a previously reported case, a patient transport worker, and was isolating for their infectious period, while the final case remains is under investigation.
In response to rising case numbers, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said masks will be mandatory in indoor venues from midnight tonight as the state attempts to ward off superspreading of the virus. The move comes as the premier announced plans to ease the lockdown on the southern area of the Northern Beaches, which have been restricted to their homes since before Christmas.
From midday today (Saturday) residents living south of the Narrabeen Bridge will be subjected to the same provisions as Greater Sydney, Wollongong, Central Coast and Nepean Blue Mountains.
“You do not have to comply with the stay-at-home conditions,” Berejiklian said.
“Thankfully, according to the health advice, the risk of transmission in that part of the northern beaches has dissipated.”
Residents in the northern peninsula of the northern beaches are still not allowed to have visitors or leave their homes, while non-essential businesses are also ordered to remain shut. The stay-at-home orders will remain in place ‘til January 9.
“I want to stress again that this strategy is to keep life as normal as possible, but to also make sure we maintain and even increase economic activity,” Berejiklian said.
Masks to be mandatory at indoor venues
The premier has also announced a swathe of venues where mask wearing will become mandatory from midnight. These include retail stores, shopping centres and supermarkets.
Commuters on the state’s buses, trains, ferries and light rail will also be required to wear a mask. Anyone failing to do so will not be allowed to travel on public transport.
Hospitality staff will now also be required to wear masks while patrons will not need to do so unless they are in the gaming area.
Anyone attending a place of worship will now also need to comply with the mandatory mask order.
Breaches on the order can result in a $200 on-the-spot fine, but a grace period will be in effect until Monday.