Sydney residents will now be allowed just five visitors into their households on New Year’s Eve while the limit for outdoor gatherings will be reduced to just 30 people, the NSW Premier has announced.
Gladys Berejiklian revealed major changes to what New Year’s Eve will look like for Sydneysiders in a press conference on Wednesday following the discovery of a new and concerning virus cluster.
The new outbreak currently stands at six and involves a family in Croydon, with 18 new cases overall on Wednesday.
“The health experts are working overtime with all extended family members who are involved to make sure that that cluster, all contact details and venues and movements of that family are made apparent so we can identify all the close contacts,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“In view of this, we have decided to make some further decisions regarding New Year’s Eve.”
Ms Berejiklian said that people in Greater Sydney would now only be allowed to have five visitors into their households, including children.
Before New Year’s Eve, Greater Sydney residents could have 10 guests inside their homes.
The outdoor gathering limit has also been reduced from 50 to 30 people from December 31.
The two rule changes apply to Greater Sydney, including Wollongong, the Central Coast, and the Nepean Blue Mountains.
Both rule changes come into effect from 12.01am on New Year’s Eve, December 31.
Ms Berejiklian said the restrictions would remain in place “until further notice”.
“If you’re going to welcome people into your home, no more than five in Greater Sydney and, please, make sure even then that you exhibit good COVID-safe practises,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We don’t want New Year’s Eve to be the cause of a superspreader. We don’t want New Year’s Eve to be a situation where undetected cases — people who may be in the early stages of the disease and not know they had it, not know they’re infectious — unintentionally give it to those closest to them.”
Different rules continue to apply to the two zones of the northern beaches, demarcated by the Narrabeen Bridge.
Restrictions for the northern zone of the Northern Beaches remain at five visitors to the home for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day only — a brief reprieve for the suburbs under the harshest restrictions in the state.
But the visitors can only be people from the same zone.
They can also gather outdoors in numbers of five with people from the same zone.
The southern zone of the northern beaches can gather outdoors in numbers of up to 10.
They can have five visitors to the home — now in line with the rest of Sydney.
The less limited restrictions in regional NSW also remain unchanged.
Ms Berejiklian said the government was asking Greater Sydney residents to stay home for New Year’s Eve.
“But if you must have people over, don’t have more than five and please make sure you have adequate social distancing, good ventilation, all those things,” she said.
“It’s always best to sit outside rather than inside and we appreciate the weather is not the best, but those arrangements are much safer.”
Ms Berejiklian has previously said there should be no kissing or hugging when the clock strikes 12.
Hospitality venues remain open but must adhere to the one person per four square metres rule.
A short, seven minute fireworks display will go ahead at midnight but residents are asked to watch the display on TV.
People will not be allowed into designated zones around Circular Quay, north Sydney and the city — usually the busiest sections of Sydney for New Year’s Eve — unless they have a designated pass.
Passes can be applied for through Service NSW.
There will be an update on restrictions for the northern beaches specifically on January 2.