Masks mandatory in workplaces as Sydney COVID-19 cluster balloons

The Eastern Suburbs outbreak has grown again

Masks mandatory in workplaces as Sydney COVID-19 cluster balloons

Masks are now mandatory in Sydney workplaces after the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced 16 new community cases of COVID-19.

The Bondi Junction cluster has ballooned to 31, sparking a raft of new measures in a bid to limit the spread. From 4pm today, anyone living or working in seven Local Government Areas will be restricted from travelling outside of Metropolitan Sydney for the next week. They will also be limited to having five visitors to a household at any given time, including children. The seven LGAs are City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, and Woollahra.

The new cases announced this morning include those from a birthday party attended by an infected worker in West Huxton which has led to 10 new cases. One of those cases involves a father and his two-year-old child who attends Little Zak's daycare in Narellan Vale, 60kms from Sydney's CBD. The daycare centre has closed and notified all parents.

Four additional cases reported overnight are still being investigated. Health authorities are also still trying to pinpoint the source of infection linked to a year three child at a primary school in Bondi Junction. While it is geographically close to Westfield where much of the community transmission has occured, authorities still do not know how the child became infected. The school has switched to virtual learning until the end of term.

More than 44,000 tests were carried out overnight after the health minister extended the call for residents to get tested. Both drive-in sites in Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction were experiencing huge queues as people flocked to get tested.

“If you happen to work in a regional community but travel to those LGAs, we recommend you consider working from home or else living in the LGA where you work,” the NSW Premier said to reporters this morning.

“But for essential purposes, people can still conduct their business. Just be extra cautious. If it is for an essential reason, you are able to move around. But what we are saying is if you live or work in those LGA is, we don’t want you moving outside of metropolitan Sydney.”

New Zealand has paused its quarantine-free travel bubble with Sydney. Queensland and Victoria have also deemed the seven LGAs hotspots, meaning anyone who has been in those areas is not allowed to travel into the state and returning residents must quarantine on arrival.

Other restrictions include:

  • Patrons in restaurants must be seated – no stand-up drinking
  • No more than five visitors to households within the seven affected LGAs
  • Mandatory masks in workplaces, public transport, gym classes
  • Restricted movement for residents in the seven affected LGAs
  • Outdoor sporting events or concerts capped at 50% and masks must be worn
  • One per four square metre rule back in place for indoor venues, funerals and weddings
  • No singing and dancing at events – 20 people allowed on dancefloors at weddings

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