NSW expands list of COVID-19 exposure sites

State and federal governments announce slew of grants as lockdown restrictions tighten

NSW expands list of COVID-19 exposure sites

New South Wales health authorities have added a coffee shop and a medical centre in western Sydney, along with several bus routes, to the list of exposure sites after a café employee was found to have worked in the area for 10 consecutive days while infectious. The employee served customers at a coffee bar in Belmore while working 10-hour shifts from 7 July to 16 July, putting thousands at risk of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Health officials also listed Belmore Medical Centre as a close contact site and 10 bus routes in western Sydney as trips of close contacts. NSW Health has expanded its exposure list to include multiple food outlets, a butcher shop, and medical centres in Mt Druitt and Chester Hill.

Toughened restrictions

In response to rising infections, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced stricter lockdown restrictions, effective 11:59pm on 17 July. These include closure of non-essential retail stores and a pause on all construction until 30 July. Residents of Fairfield, Canterbury, Bankstown, and Liverpool are prohibited from leaving their council boundaries, with the exception of authorised workers.

NSW chief executive Daniel Hunter said that he supported the strict health response but admitted that there would be economic consequences.

“There’s no sugar coating that it will have a huge impact on all businesses right across NSW,” he told Daily Mail. “There is good financial support available, but it will not cover all losses and some businesses will not survive.”

On Tuesday, the NSW and federal governments launched a slew of financial support for affected workers and businesses.

For the second and third weeks of the lockdown, employees who have lost 20 or more hours a week will get a $500 weekly support, while those who lost eight to 20 hours a week will get $325. After four weeks of restrictions, the payments go up to $600 and $375 per week.

Workers who are forced to self-isolate or care for someone who needs to isolate can avail of a $1,500 payment for each 14 days of quarantine.

For businesses, grants of $7,500 to $15,000 are available to cover the first three weeks of lockdown. Companies, however, need to have a revenue fall of 30%, turnover above $75,000, and payroll up to $10 million.

Small businesses can access an ongoing payment of $1,500 per fortnight, if they have a turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 and a 30% drop in revenue.

“Over and above what the federal government has given, we are giving billions and billions extra,” Berejiklian told Daily Mail. “Everyone is able to get those payments if you are an individual or you can't go to work anymore.”

“Even if it takes a few weeks for businesses to get that money come through the door, at least when they are dealing with financial institutions and others, those institutions can be rest assured that that money is coming through the door,” she added.

Applications for the grants can be made through Service NSW, with payments expected to begin at the end of July.

The complete list of NSW exposure spots can be accessed through NSW Health’s official website

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