In the southern part of the northern beaches will also revert to stay-at-home provisions, but they can have outdoor gatherings of up to two people for exercise and recreation.

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Ms Berejiklian said that Greater Sydney would revert back to the rules prior to the Christmas period, with 10 people permitted in homes.

“Our strategy is to nip this in the bud as soon as we can, to make sure we do the hard yards now so we can have normality as soon as we can,” Ms Berejiklian said.

People in Greater Sydney are not permitted to enter the northern beaches, and people in the northern part of the northern beaches are being urged not to go outside unless they absolutely have to. Those in the southern area of the northern beaches are being urged not to leave their zone.

Sydney will learn in the coming days what New Year’s Eve and beyond will look like in the city, Ms Berejiklian said.

The new restrictions

For the northern beaches peninsula zone (North of Narrabeen Bridge, and east of the Baha’i Temple):

  • Given the ongoing risk, this area will return to ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions, with no indoor gatherings allowed.
  • Up to five people, including children, will be able to gather outdoors for exercise or recreational activity.
  • People may not enter or leave this zone.

For the remainder (southern zone) of the northern beaches:

  • Given the ongoing risk, this area will return to ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions, with no indoor gatherings allowed.
  • Up to 10 people, including children, will be able to gather outdoors for exercise or recreational activity.
  • People may not enter or leave this zone.

Residents of the northern beaches are able to leave for four permitted reasons:

  • Shopping for food or other goods and services
  • Travel for work or education purposes if unable to work from home
  • Exercise
  • Medical or caring reasons

For the Greater Sydney region, Central Coast, Wollongong and Nepean Blue Mountains:

  • Restrictions will remain unchanged in these regions.
  • Gatherings in the home are restricted to 10 people in total (including children).
  • People who work in the CBD are urged to work from home where practical.

Restrictions for Regional NSW remain unchanged.

Concerns over Paddington venue

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said one of the cases in Saturday’s numbers was a child who attended the Paddington Alimentari cafe, bringing the total number of cases associated with the venue to four.

Dr Chant stressed that anyone who attended the venue from December 17-19 needs to remain in isolation and get tested if symptoms arise, even if they have had an earlier negative test.

Takeaway customers also need to get tested “with the slightest symptoms if they develop”.

Authorities are still trying to solve how a worker at the Belrose Hotel – who they believe contracted COVID-19 between two and three weeks ago – is linked to the wider cluster.

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New venues in the city, Sydney’s north, west, and east, as well as Santa photos at the QVB, a flight and more bus routes, have been added to the list of places that people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have visited.

Victoria on Boxing Day recorded zero new local cases, zero acquired overseas or interstate, and zero deaths for the previous 24 hour reporting period.

Shoppers urged to avoid Boxing Day Sales

Wary shoppers have heeded the NSW government’s advice to stay away from the CBD due to fears of growing coronavirus transmission.

Retail workers set up barricades, marked out COVID-safe distances for shoppers in queues and swept floors in anticipation of the usual early morning influx, but Pitt Street Mall was all but deserted on Saturday morning.

Small lines of shoppers wearing masks formed at the shopping precinct’s stores, including major retailers Myer and David Jones.

Ms Berejiklian’s remarks discouraging shoppers from going to the sales in central Sydney is expected to be a blow to struggling retailers who were expecting nearly $20 billion to be spent by January 15.

“We do ask everybody to limit any activity in the CBD,” Ms Berejiklian said on Christmas Day, amid concerns about shoppers from across Sydney mingling in crowded stores and the city’s most recent coronavirus outbreak.

Push for business reprieve

Independent MP Zali Steggall says she is pushing the federal government for a one-off payment to businesses affected by hotspot lockdowns like those on the northern beaches, within her electorate of Warringah.

Speaking on ABC News on Saturday morning, Ms Steggall said businesses in the area are struggling at a time when they would normally benefit from Christmas shopping, Boxing Day sales and summer tourism.

Independent MP for Warringah Zali Steggall.

Independent MP for Warringah Zali Steggall. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“They are seeing their workforce in mandatory isolation for 14 days, so businesses not only have doors shut, they also, if they have the ability to keep trading, they have lost a lot of their workforce,” she said.

“Employees have assistance through pandemic leave, but businesses themselves don’t get assistance… I think a one-off payment would ease a lot of the pain for businesses.”

But Liberal MP for Mackellar Jason Falinski, whose electorate covers the northern peninsular where the lockdown is most strict, said the government has “already thrown hundreds of millions of dollars” at supporting the economy, and the focus should be on keeping businesses open.

“We need to be in a position whereby we can ensure that businesses are able to, and continue to, trade because we can’t continue to afford to throw the sorts of money that we have,” he said.

More to come

with Tom Rabe, Megan Gorrey and Josh Dye

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