Australia’s largest metropolis and some nearby areas are now subject to a two-week stay-home order.
With Sydney facing a fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak driven by the more infectious Delta variant, and a growing list of exposure sites popping up around the city, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has now imposed a two-week lockdown of the entire metropolitan region, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, and Wollongong. The new restrictions went into effect at 6 p.m. on Saturday and will last until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 9.
Berejiklian announced the measure on Saturday afternoon, hours after 12 additional Covid-19 cases were reported in areas outside four local government areas already under stay-at-home orders: Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick, and the City of Sydney. This previous lockdown applied to everyone who lives or works in these areas, but the curbs were expanded on the recommendation of health experts as it was clear the virus had spread beyond the inner city and eastern suburbs. Sydney’s current outbreak now numbers 80 community infections.
Under the latest lockdown rules, residents of greater Sydney are only allowed to leave their homes for four reasons: shopping for food and essential goods or services; medical care or compassionate needs, including for vaccination against Covid-19; outdoor exercise, with group sizes limited to no more than 10 people; and essential work or education when it is not possible to work or study from home. Childcare can remain open, but all community sport is banned for the duration of the lockdown period. Weddings are permitted up until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 27, as long as social distancing rules are followed, while funerals have been capped at 100 people with masks obligatory indoors.
For the rest of New South Wales, masks are now mandatory in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces, gyms, and public transport. Households can only be visited by a maximum of five guests at any one time, while capacity limits have been reintroduced on public transport. All indoor and outdoor venues must abide by the rule of one person per four square meters, with outdoor seated events allowed to go on at half-capacity.
New South Wales Health says those living outside greater Sydney should only enter the metropolitan region for essential purposes, and people who have been in the areas now under lockdown on or after June 21 are being urged to follow the stay-home order for 14 days after their departure from the affected region.