NSW has issued more alerts for venues on Sydney’s northern beaches and one in Sydney’s eastern suburbs which were visited by confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The total number of known coronavirus cases in NSW suspected to be linked to the northern beaches cluster has now risen to 70, though Premier Gladys Berejiklian remains hopeful the outbreak can be contained.
“The one positive is we still have not seen evidence of massive seeding outside the northern beaches community and our aim, of course, is to keep that in place,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Sunday.
On Monday, more health alerts were issued for gyms, cafes restaurants, a nursery and sports centre at Freshwater, Mona Vale, Newport, Warriewood, in the north and a cafe at Double Bay in the east.
NSW Labor transport spokesman Chris Minns says it’s time the NSW government learned from other states and made face masks mandatory on public transport.
“It is the cheapest, easiest, safest way of protecting the people of NSW,” he said on Monday.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says everyone in Sydney should be wearing masks when shopping, on public transport or when out in the general community but has declined to mandate it.
“Retail workers have been essential workers during the pandemic, I urge everyone to show them respect and wear a mask before entering shops and keep your social distance,” he said.
With just four days until Christmas, Sydneysiders are facing a nervous wait to learn if the northern beaches cluster has spread across the region, after every state and territory moved to block residents from entering.
Sydney’s northern beaches remains the centre of the cluster, but NSW Health’s new list of cases on Sunday showed the virus had spread further across the city.
Outside the outbreak epicentre, there were warnings for locations in Artarmon, Bondi Junction, Cronulla, Double Bay, Darling Point, Erskineville, Eveleigh, Homebush, Kirribilli, Lane Cove, Newtown, Peakhurst, Penrith, St Peters, Riverstone, Rosebury, Surry Hills, Terry Hills, Turramurra and Woolloomooloo.
Outside Sydney, Forster and Raymond Terrace are also on the warning list.
The government has imposed a number of restrictions on the Sydney region, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Illawarra-Shoalhaven, which will remain in place until 11.59pm on Wednesday.
No more than 10 people are allowed at household gatherings and patrons will need to maintain a four-square metre distancing at venues.
Up to 300 people will be permitted at places of worship and hospitality venues, while singing and chanting at indoor venues is banned, and dance floors will only be allowed at weddings.
People are also being urged to wear masks until Wednesday and to avoid visiting any vulnerable friends, relatives or aged-care facilities until Christmas Eve.
The restrictions come as every other state and territory over the weekend rushed to bar travellers from greater Sydney and the Central Coast from entry.
Some also blacklisted visitors from Wollongong or the entire Illawarra/Shoalhaven.
Northern beaches residents remain under stay-at-home orders last imposed back in March at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
People are permitted to leave their homes for five basic reasons: to seek medical care, exercise, grocery shop, work or for compassionate care reasons.
For more information see nsw.gov.au/covid-19