Restrictions around retail have also been strengthened. The NSW government states garden centres and plant nurseries, and businesses selling office supplies, hardware and building supplies, landscaping material supplies, rural supplies and pet supplies in these LGAs must close except to provide “click and collect” services for customers.
All education and professional development-related activities, not including the HSC, will move online.
New rules for workers in LGAs of concern
From Saturday, August 28, authorised workers from the LGAs of concern must carry a permit from Service NSW declaring that they are an authorised worker and cannot work from home, while anyone entering an LGA of concern for work purposes from that date must also carry a work permit from Service NSW.
Authorised workers who work outside the LGAs of concern are only permitted to work if rapid antigen testing is implemented at their place of work or if they have had their first COVID-19 vaccination dose by August 30.
Childcare and disability support workers who live or work in the LGAs of concern must have their first vaccination dose by August 30.
“There are bookings at the Qudos Bank Arena [at Sydney Olympic Park] for vaccination, so there is no issue with access to vaccines and that is a requirement,” NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.
She said surveillance testing would be ceased and testing of symptomatic people prioritised to improve result turnaround times.
From 12.01am on Monday, August 23, workers from the Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland and Fairfield LGAs will no longer need to have been tested for COVID-19 in the previous 72 hours to work outside their LGAs.
Dr Chant said she “strongly” supported the new measures, “to slow the growth of this escalating outbreak and give us time to vaccinate our population, to save lives and prevent hospitalisations”.
Added police powers
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has new powers, including being able to place apartment blocks in lockdown while health officials assess the COVID-19 risk, and being able to declare a residential address a “COVID-risk premises” and require everyone there to present to police during compliance checks.
Police have already had the ability to place apartment buildings in lockdown but Mr Fuller said it was about closing gaps as people have previously escaped premises before health officials came in.
Police can also direct a person issued with an infringement notice to return to their place of residence.
If a person from one of the LGAs of concern is found to be outside the LGA of concern without a reasonable excuse, they will be fined $1000 and required to isolate at home for 14 days.
Regional NSW travel permit
A permit system to enter regional NSW, including the Central Coast and Shellharbour, from Greater Sydney begins at 12.01am on Saturday, August 21.
As of noon on Friday, applications were not available on the Service NSW website.
“The permit system will come up by at least midnight tonight,” Mr Fuller said. “With any of the permits, if they’re not available, and you have a lawful purpose … you can still travel.”
A Service NSW spokesperson apologised for any inconvenience caused.
“Service NSW appreciates the urgency of establishing the Travel and Nominated Visitor registration system in providing clarity for affected customers and helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” the spokesperson said.
“Service NSW is working closely with NSW Health and NSW Police, and more information regarding eligibility criteria and the application process for Travel and Nominated Visitor registrations will be made available on the Service NSW website later today [Friday].”
NSW Health issued a statement about the new system, detailing who will need a permit to travel from Greater Sydney to regional NSW.
- Anyone from Greater Sydney (including authorised workers from the LGAs of concern) who needs to travel more than 50 kilometres from Greater Sydney for work purposes, noting the existing requirement for such workers to have had a COVID-19 test in the previous seven days;
- People travelling to a second home outside Greater Sydney. This is now only allowed if you are using the home for work accommodation or if the home requires urgent maintenance and repairs (if so, only one person may travel there);
- People inspecting a potential new residence, but only if they have a genuine intention to relocate as soon as practicable (no investment properties);
- People who are permanently relocating.
Stay across the most crucial developments related to the pandemic with the Coronavirus Update. Sign up for the weekly newsletter.