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How you can get 50, not 30, over for Christmas

A number of eased restrictions have been given the green light by the state government, including loosening regulations around how many people can visit your home for Christmas. Up to 50 people will be allowed to congregate at private gatherings, just in time for the festive season, but there’s a catch.It is recommended people only…

A number of eased restrictions have been given the green light by the state government, including loosening regulations around how many people can visit your home for Christmas.

Up to 50 people will be allowed to congregate at private gatherings, just in time for the festive season, but there’s a catch.

It is recommended people only have 30 guests if they don’t have an outdoor space, with bigger crowds only allowed for those who have a backyard.

Pubs and restaurants will be allowed one person per two square metres without a cap – if the venue is between 100 and 200 square metres.

However rules will remain the same for larger venues, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian saying they’re “not quite there yet”.

“Health is looking very closely at being able to apply that to square-metre rule indoors across all hospitality venues but we’re not quite there yet,” she said.

Other changes include boosting the number of people allowed to gather outdoors.

“That was previously 30, that is also 50, we are trying to maintain consistency as far as possible across the board,” she said on Wednesday.

After months of working from home, NSW workers will be encouraged to return to the office after December 14 so long as their employer has a COVIDSafe plan in place.

“Private companies and organisations can make decisions about what they do with their employees into the New Year,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We want to give people time to think about this. We also need to consider what this means for our transport network.”

Transport Minister Andrew Constance has once again encouraged NSW residents to wear a mask, particularly when people return to work.

“We are encouraging people to register their cards, we are encouraging people to download the app, and as part of that, take on-board the push notifications, which can indicate the loadings of a particular service in a half-hour time forward, which gives you the ability to re- time if there are too many people on the network,” he said.

The easing of restrictions will come into force on December 1.

Changes come just a day after the Queensland government revealed it would also open the border to Sydneysiders on December 1.

NSW met the sunny state’s tough border requirements by marking 28 days of no unlinked cases.

“I hope this is welcome news for Queensland families in time for Christmas,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Tuesday.

Before the announcement Ms Berejiklian said: “I‘d be absolutely thrilled and delighted if the Queensland Premier made that announcement today.”

Meanwhile residents in Sydney’s west are being urged to get tested for coronavirus after traces of the deadly virus was found in the sewage system.

NSW Health said fragments were detected at the Liverpool treatment plant after ongoing surveillance of the water system.

“Detection of the virus in sewage samples could reflect the presence of known cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in recent weeks in the area served by this sewage treatment plant,” health authorities warned.

“However, NSW Health is concerned there could be other active cases in the local community in people who have not been tested and who might incorrectly assume their symptoms are just a cold.”

Anyone who lives in the following suburbs are being urged to get tested immediately: Bardia, Hinchinbrook, Hoxton Park, Abbotsbury, Ingleburn, Prestons, Holsworthy, Edmondson Park, Austral, Cecil Park, Cecil Hills, Elizabeth Hills, Bonnyrigg Heights, Edensor Park, Green Valley, Pleasure Point, Casula, Hammondville, Liverpool, Moorebank, Wattle Grove, Miller, Cartwright, Lurnea, Warwick Farm, Chipping Norton, Voyager Point, Macquarie Links, Glenfield, Catherine Field, Gledswood Hills, Varroville, Leppington, West Hoxton, Horningsea Park, Middleton Grange, Len Waters Estate, Carnes Hill and Denham Court.

There were no new locally acquired cases overnight, but four infections were diagnosed in hotel quarantine.

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