Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the changes will give residents a chance to prepare for and embrace end of year activities including outdoor religious gatherings and other outdoor events, including Christmas carols.
“2020 has been a tough year for everyone and we want people to be able to look forward to the festive season in a COVID-Safe way,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The Premier also announced NSW will bring in 2021 with a seven-minute midnight New Year’s Eve firework display and premium viewing spots reserved only for frontline workers to say thank you for keeping NSW safe throughout this year.
Unless you have a New Year’s Eve Pass through Service NSW you will not be able to enter designated zones around Circular Quay, North Sydney and the City.
The vast majority of citizens will not be allowed into the Sydney CBD precinct.
New Public Health Orders will be drafted to support COVID-Safe New Year’s Eve celebrations including:
- Premium spots reserved for frontline workers around Mrs Macquarie’s Point, Sydney Opera House, Campbell’s Cove and the Cahill Expressway.
- A special area around Circular Quay and North Sydney will only be accessible to venue patrons, hospitality workers, residents and guests of residents who will be required to carry a special NYE Pass from Service NSW.
In addition, from Monday, 23 November the following restrictions will be eased:
Increased capacity for outdoor religious services:
- Up to 500 people outdoors, provided the audience is seated (with 1 person per 2 square metres if assigned a seat, or 1 person per 4 square metres if seated in an allocated seated area (e.g. where the grass is marked or on picnic rugs)
Increased capacity for outdoors singing and carols:
- Up to 30 singers will be permitted outdoors, subject to COVID-safe requirements (the limit of 5 remains for indoor venues). The audience or congregation may participate in the singing, but anyone 12 years or older must wear a mask.
Increased capacity for controlled outdoor events (such as concerts) that are ticketed and held in an enclosed or fenced area:
- Up to 3000 people can attend with 1 person per 2 square metres if assigned a seat, or 1 person per 4 square metres if seated in an allocated seated area (e.g. where the grass is marked or on picnic rugs).
In addition, capacity at funerals will increase to 300 people from 1 December.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said meeting up outdoors is the best way to stay COVID-safe this festive season.
“After an exceptionally challenging year, we want everyone to have the opportunity to celebrate and make the most of summer and get outdoors,” Mr Hazzard said.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the NSW Government recognised that many businesses around Circular Quay relied on NYE customers as one of the biggest nights of the year.
“New Year’s Eve is the chance for Sydney and NSW to shine on the world stage. Despite being a smaller celebration to normal, this New Years demonstrates that we are open for business and NSW will bring in 2021 with confidence,” said Mr Ayres.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said NSW Health recognises the importance of the festive season and has worked hard to make COVID-Safe celebrations possible including the singing of carols.
“Everyone needs to continue to be alert to the ongoing risk of transmission and to keep practising physical distancing and good hand hygiene, and most importantly to get tested and isolate if they feel unwell,” Dr Chant said.