20.11.20. “NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says special, more relaxed, health orders will be introduced in her state to allow for Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Ms Berejiklian said up to 3,000 people will be able to attend outdoor events from November 23, as long as they met specific COVID guidelines. There were no locally acquired coronavirus cases in NSW in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday. It means there has not been a locally acquired case found in the state for 12 days. There were five cases found among returned travellers in hotel quarantine. Ms Berejiklian announced the relaxation of rules to allow people to organise their Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations.”
NSW relaxes coronavirus rules for New Year’s Eve celebrations
“Even though we’re easing these restrictions as one-offs, it doesn’t reduce how contagious the virus is or how concerned we might be if suddenly an outbreak consumed a large number of people in a particular location,” she said.
“This can only work if all of us stick together and do the right thing.”
On New Year’s Eve, anyone visiting friends or family who live in Sydney’s CBD will be required to carry a permit to do so.
From November 23, choirs of up to 30 people will be allowed to perform, however anyone singing in the audience will be required to wear a mask.
Events with allocated seating will allow one person per 2 square metres, while events where people are sitting on picnic rugs will require people to adhere to the 4-square-metre rule.
The capacity of outdoor church services will increase from 300 to 500 people.
From December 1, capacity at funerals will increase to 300 people.
Ms Berejiklian said this would provide consistency with the number of people allowed at weddings and corporate events.
Ms Berejiklian said she was keeping a “watching brief” on the situation over the next few days but said she was considering easing the indoor 2-square-metre rule and increasing the number of visitors allowed in homes.
Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said a new public health order would create a restricted zone in and around Sydney’s CBD.
Anyone hoping to attend New Year’s Eve functions within that zone will need to apply through Service NSW from December 7.
The NSW Government has previously indicated key fireworks vantage points in Sydney’s CBD — such as the Opera House, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, and Campbells Cove — will be restricted this year to frontline workers.
This is in recognition of their efforts responding to the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Ayres said a New Year’s Eve concert would be broadcast on television and he encouraged anyone without a reservation to a city event to watch from home this year.
NSW Police will have powers to move on people without a permit should they gather in large numbers across the CBD.
Warning for arrivals from South Australia
Chief health officer Kerry Chant urged anyone who had recently returned from South Australia to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they appeared.
She said contact tracers had been in touch with recent arrivals, prompting them to check South Australia’s health website to determine whether they could be a close contact of a case.
Dr Chant also said anyone coming from South Australia was required to fill out a new declaration form designed to remind them if they had been in any venues of concern and to allow NSW Health rapid access to their contact details.
There were 20,160 tests reported to 8:00pm on Wednesday night, compared with 17,047 in the previous 24 hours.
Dr Chant thanked the community for coming out in large numbers for testing, particularly following the detection of traces of COVID-19 in sewage in the Rouse Hill area.
She asked people in Western Sydney and south-west Sydney to continue to get tested and said the results of a repeat test of sewage treatment facilities would be made public shortly.