New Sydney LGA Covid lockdown restrictions and update to regional NSW coronavirus rules explained

Sydney’s lockdown has been extended to at least 28 August with a raft of changes to restrictions announced.

Three more local government areas have been added to a hard lockdown, which now includes an outdoor mask mandate and a 5km travel limit, as cases continue to increase in Sydney’s west and south-west. The stricter rules now cover eight LGAs; Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Cumberland, Blacktown, Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown.

Outside those 8 LGAs, some construction work can resume after a two-week ban.

And there is some good news for residents of Blayney, Cabonne and Orange local government areas in the central west of the state, with the week-long lockdown now lifted.

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

When can you leave home?

There is no change to the four essential reasons people are allowed to leave home:

  • Shopping for food or other essential goods and services. You must shop within 10kms of home. 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.

What about if I live in south-western or western Sydney?

There are stricter rules for eight local government areas. The hard lockdown originally applied to Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool, before it was extended to Cumberland and Blacktown. It now includes Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown.

Masks must be worn outdoors in these eight LGAs and residents must stay within 5km of home.

Residents in those LGAs cannot leave the area for work unless they are authorised workers (including healthcare, retail, manufacturing, some types of transport, etc).

However, the government has eased testing requirements for workers that do have to leave the area. In Fairfield, Liverpool, Cumberland, Blacktown, Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown, only aged care and health care workers will need to get a Covid-19 test every three days. In Canterbury-Bankstown all authorised workers who leave the area must continue to get a test every three days.

What if I live in Blayney, Cabonne and Orange?

Lockdown on the Blayney, Cabonne and Orange LGAs in the state’s central west has lifted.

How does the single bubble work?

Single bubbles have been introduced for the first time in greater Sydney. People who live alone can nominate one person, a friend or family member, who will be allowed to visit, but it must be the same person for the whole of lockdown. They also cannot be from one of the eight LGAs in hard lockdown.

For single residents in the eight LGAs subject to a hard lockdown, the person they nominate to join their bubble must live within 10kms of their home.

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.

People must stay in their local government area or within 10km of home for exercise and outdoor recreation, however, under new rules announced on 29 July residents in the eight hotspot LGAs in Sydney’s south-west, you must stay within 5km of home for exercise.

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

What businesses can open in lockdown?

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);

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.

What about construction?

Construction work will be able to resume at “non-occupied sites” outside of the eight hotspot LGAs. Construction sites must have Covid safety plans.

Tradespeople will also be allowed to attend homes outside of the eight hotspot LGAs as long as the work can be carried out without contact with the residents.

Are schools open?

Year 12 students in greater Sydney will resume face-to-face learning on 16 August. All other year levels will continue remote learning.

Can weddings go ahead?

People are not allowed to attend or hold a wedding in greater Sydney.

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.

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

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

What are the restrictions at hospitality and entertainment venues?

In greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong 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 and Wollongong 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 and Wollongong 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?

In the eight hotspot LGAs in Sydney’s south-west and west, people must wear a mask outdoors, as well as indoor areas aside from their own home.

For the rest of NSW, it is a requirement to wear a face mask in all indoor areas of non-residential premises. The fine for breaching the mask mandate has been increased to $500.

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:

  • 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.