NSW Covid lockdown restrictions: update to Sydney, Orange and regional coronavirus rules explained

·8 min read
<span>Photograph: Joel Carrett/EPA</span>
Photograph: Joel Carrett/EPA

The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has announced stricter lockdown restrictions for greater Sydney, including residents in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool local government areas, as well as the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong. The restrictions are in place until 30 July.

As of Wednesday 21 July, lockdown restrictions also apply to the Blayney, Cabonne and Orange local government areas in the central west of the state.

The tighter lockdown is aimed at achieving zero new Covid cases who have been infectious in the community – something NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has set as a requirement to easing restrictions.

Here are the current Covid restrictions in place in New South Wales.

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Does the lockdown apply to me?

People cannot leave their homes unless it is for one of the four essential reasons:

  • Shopping for food or other essential goods and services. Browsing in shops is prohibited, and only one person per household, per day may leave the home for shopping.

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

  • Exercise outdoors in groups of two, who cannot travel further than 10km from their home or local government area.

  • 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.

Related: Latest NSW Health Covid exposure sites: full list and map of Sydney hotspots and regional coronavirus case locations

What about if I live in south-western Sydney?

Residents in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool local government areas cannot leave the area for work unless they are authorised workers (including healthcare, retail, manufacturing, some types of transport, etc). Those who do have to leave the area must have a Covid-19 test every three days.

What if I live in Blayney, Cabonne and Orange?

Residents of the Blayney, Cabonne and Orange LGAs must abide by similar lockdown restrictions to greater Sydney – but not as strict as south-western Sydney.

People can only leave home for the same four reasons as greater Sydney (buying food, medical care or compassionate needs, exercise with two or fewer people, and work). Restaurants, cafes, pubs, gyms, hairdressers and other businesses are closed, and weddings and funerals have limited capacity.

Schools, however, will remain open in these regions – which is different to greater Sydney.

People can also not enter Blayney, Cabonne and Orange local government areas without a reasonable excuse.

The restrictions also apply to anyone who was in the three regions on or after Saturday 17 July. The restrictions are due to expire on Wednesday 28 July.

What businesses can open in lockdown?

From 11.59pm on 17 July all retail premises in greater Sydney will be required to close (“click and collect”, takeaway and home delivery can still operate), except for the following:.

  • Supermarkets and grocery stores (including butchers, bakeries, fruit and vegetable stores, liquor stores and fishmongers);

  • Stores that predominantly sell health, medical, maternity and infant supplies;

  • Pharmacies and chemists;

  • Petrol stations;

  • Car hire;

  • Banks and financial institutions;

  • Hardware, nurseries and building supplies;

  • Agricultural and rural supplies;

  • Pet supplies;

  • Post offices and newsagents; and

  • Office supplies.

From 12.01am on 19 July:

  • All construction to be paused; and non-urgent maintenance, including cleaning services, and repair work on residential premises to be paused.

From 12.01am on 21 July:

  • Employers must allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so, failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

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

Can weddings go ahead?

People are not allowed to attend or hold a wedding in greater Sydney, or in Blayney, Cabonne and Orange.

What about funerals?

Currently, funerals can continue to take place, including in the locked-down areas, with a maximum of 10 people, including the person conducting the service. Attending a funeral is a reasonable excuse to leave home.

In Blayney, Cabonne and Orange, there is a grace period until Friday 23 July, where a funeral can have 100 attendees.

Can I exercise?

Outdoor exercise is limited to two people. However, members of the same household gathering outdoors for exercise will be allowed to do so in groups larger than two.

As part of the tightened restrictions, people must stay in their local government area or within 10km of home for exercise and outdoor recreation, with no carpooling between non-household members.

The NSW restrictions state that no community sport in greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, as well as Blayney, Cabonne and Orange should proceed.

Can I have visitors to my house?

If you are in greater Sydney, you cannot have visitors to your house and 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 (only one visitor can enter another residence to fulfil carers’ responsibilities or provide care or assistance, or for compassionate reasons).

  • 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

  • To view or inspect property to lease or purchase it

The above rules are the same for Blayney, Cabonne and Orange.

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

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What are the restrictions at hospitality and entertainment venues?

In greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Blayney, Cabonne and Orange 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.

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, Wollongong, Blayney, Cabonne and Orange cannot travel.

People outside of greater Sydney also cannot enter greater Sydney for the purposes of exercise or outdoor recreation. People can only enter greater Sydney for a funeral or memorial service, or for obtaining goods or services if those goods or services are not reasonably available outside of greater Sydney.

A person over 18 who is leaving greater Sydney must also carry evidence showing their address and produce it to a police officer on request.

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 in greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Blayney, Cabonne and Orange to two people. In these areas, you must not participate in an outdoor public gathering, 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 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 all indoor construction sites

  • In a major recreation facility such as a stadium or

  • If you are working in a hospitality venue

Anyone who leaves the home must have a mask with them at all times. They must be worn when you are working outdoors, in outdoor markets, outdoor shopping strips, and in an outdoor queues waiting for products such as coffee and food.

What other restrictions are in place for regional NSW?

As well as the new mask mandate, the following restrictions remain in place across NSW (excluding Blayney, Cabonne and Orange):

  • 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

  • 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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