Parts of Sydney placed in lockdown: What we learned from NSW's COVID-19 press conference.

It's the news Sydneysiders had been bracing for.

On Friday morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that four key Local Government Areas (LGAs) will be placed into a week-long lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of the city's COVID-19 cluster.

The state reported 11 new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday, six of which had been announced yesterday. Another 17 have been recorded since 8pm and will be officially included in tomorrow's numbers.

NSW recorded 11 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, six of which were announced Thursday morning.

NSW Health has also been notified of an additional 17 locally acquired cases overnight. These cases will be included in tomorrow's numbers.

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) June 25, 2021

While only three cases are under investigation (the others have all been linked to existing cases), the Premier said she believes the new restrictions are "proportionate to the risk".

"Please know that this is in order for us to ensure that this doesn't take a hold for weeks and weeks," she told a press conference.

"Again, we've done better-than-expected in terms of contact tracing and getting on top of all those links. But what this does is make sure that we haven't missed any chains of community transmission."

What areas are in lockdown?

The heightened restrictions come into effect at 11:59pm tonight (Friday) and apply to the local government council areas of:

  • Woollahra
  • Waverley
  • Randwick
  • City of Sydney

This covers the CBD as well as the city's eastern suburbs, which has been at the centre of the ongoing cluster.

Crucially, the restrictions apply to residents of these LGAs AND people who work there.

"We appreciate that even though most of the cases have been in and around the south-east and the CBD, that many workers come from around the Greater Sydney area into those places, and unfortunately, those workers once infected are passing it on to a large group of clients."


How long will the lockdown last?

The new restrictions will apply until midnight Friday, July 2.

That deadline also applies to existing regulations in place across Greater Sydney (which includes another three LGAs), including mandatory mask wearing on public transport and indoor venues as well as travel restrictions.

"Nobody who lives or works in those seven LGAs has been allowed out of Metropolitan Sydney. That stays in place, of course," the Premier said.

"Can I be very, very clear about that. We do not want this virus spreading to the regions."

What are the lockdown rules for those Sydney LGAs?

Residents and people who work in those four council areas are required to remain at home unless absolutely necessary.

The Premier stipulated that "necessary" reasons to leave home are:

  • "If you can't work from home and you have to work outside of home."
  • "If you can't get educated at home and you have to get educated outside of home."
  • "If you exercise outside." Although, this must be done in groups no larger than 10.
  • "If you need to provide care or compassion to a relative."
  • "And, of course, if you need to buy essential goods or services."

Speaking on the latter point, the Premier stressed that there's no need to panic buy.

"You can go out and buy anything you need any time of the day. We don't have curfew," she said.

Will businesses close?

"Unfortunately, unless you're providing essential food and services — that is take away food and services or grocery services of that nature, we don't expect those businesses to remain open in the next week," Premier Berejiklian said.

"So, obviously, for a business like a gym in those four Local Government Areas, we're saying only exercise outdoors up to groups of ten. That means that any gyms or indoor exercise places won't be open. [Nor will] nightclubs and things of those nature."

The Premier said more details on affected businesses will follow.

"Now, I appreciate this is a blow for businesses in those communities. But we've been able to limit it to those four Local Government Areas and that is our intention," she said.

More to come...

For the latest information about restrictions in NSW, including information about venues of concern and locations of testing clinics, please visit the NSW Health website.

Feature image: Getty.