Masks now mandatory for regional NSW until July 10

Bluebottles Brasserie at Woolgoolga has been forced to pack up its inside dining area over the busy school holiday period due to the reinforcement of indoor social distancing rules. Photo: Bluebottles Brasserie.

 

FOR the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak, the wearing of face masks has become mandatory at all indoor non-residential venues in regional areas of NSW.

The current Public Health Orders came into force on Saturday 26 June and will stay in place for two weeks until Saturday 10 July.

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Under these new regulations:

  • Up to five visitors may visit another household at any one time (including children)
  • A 20-person limit applies to classes or activities at a gym, and at dance and yoga classes and participants must wear a face mask
  • Singing by audiences at indoor shows or by congregants at indoor places of worship is not allowed
  • Dancing is not allowed at a hospitality venue or nightclub including casinos, food and drink premises, micro-breweries, small bars, pubs and clubs
  • You must be seated when consuming alcohol in an indoor area of a non-residential premises in NSW (restaurants, pubs and clubs, nightclubs, stadiums)
  • Dancing is allowed at weddings for the bridal party only (no more than 20 people)
  • Funerals are permitted provided there are not more than 100 people present
  • Theatres, cinemas, and music and concert halls can only hold a maximum of 50% of the seating capacity and face masks must be worn at these venues and when attending outdoor seated events
  • At stadiums, showgrounds, theme parks, racecourses and motor racing tracks the maximum number of people at these venues is limited to 50% of the seating capacity and face masks must be worn
  • Up to five people may stay in a holiday home or holiday rental (unless those people are from the same household)

The wearing of face masks is also now mandatory in all non-residential indoor venues in the Queensland local government areas of Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands, Morton, Brisbane, Gold Coast, the Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley, and Somerset until Monday 12 July.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian held a press conference on Monday and spoke in particular about the new regional COVID-19 restrictions placed on NSW residents and businesses.

“Even though you may not have a case in your community, the restrictions are there to make that continue,” the Premier stated.

Ms Berejiklian said, “If everybody does the right thing” there’s no reason why the current Public Health Order should last more than the two weeks currently specified.

“The best advice we get (from NSW Health) is the best advice we can convey to the community, and that is two weeks,” she said.

Woolgoolga’s Bluebottles Brasserie owner Dan Weiss said the business is being severely affected by the new restrictions due to the reinforcement of the one person per four square metre rule.

“We’ve gone back to using only 25 percent of our floor space, so that’s difficult in itself,” Dan said of the new restrictions.

“That will eliminate all my inside dining because given the square meterage of that I’m only allowed 8 people in there and that includes staff, which is pointless.”

Since the restrictions came into force on Saturday Dan has had to remove all of the business’s inside dining tables and chairs, with diners now only able to dine outdoors.

“If the weather’s inclement then I’m sailing a different boat with half an oar, so that’s trouble,” Dan stated.

“The impact on the floor space is my main concern, but we just have to grit our teeth and get on with it.”

The NSW Government announced a financial relief package for small businesses at a press conference on Tuesday morning to get them through the two-weeks of the COVID restrictions.

Individual payments will be available to small businesses as well as payments to casual workers who have had their working hours reduced over the two week period.

The payments will also be available to those in the tourism, accommodation and hospitality sectors.

“This package today is all about keeping businesses going,” NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.

“This is just to provide assistance during the next couple of weeks.

“What I am focusing on is that every single business who needs this support at this point in time is getting it.”

The relief payments will be available from Monday 19 July.

The NSW Government Dine and Discover vouchers have also been extended from the end of July to the end of August, and can also be used for food takeaway and delivery.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Dr Kerry Chant urged all NSW residents to get a COVID-19 vaccination so the State could start to look at a “COVID-normal” future.

 

By Emma DARBIN

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