Nine people have been fined and three others are facing the same treatment after allegedly leaving Sydney’s coronavirus-hit Northern Beaches to attend a wedding in inner Sydney’s Pyrmont.
The 12 people were on Sunday found at a wedding at a Pirrama Road venue after police were tipped off on their whereabouts.
Nine people – from Allambie Heights, Narraweena, Frenchs Forest and Beacon Hill – were fined $1000 each for breaching public health orders.
Police said they expected to soon fine another three people from Frenchs Forest and Beacon Hill.
The Northern Beaches lockdown will be extended for at least another week and a half after NSW recorded another five cases of community transmission of COVID-19.
Four of the new cases are linked to the so-called Avalon cluster, which now totals 126 cases.
The fifth case is linked to a previously reported case on the Northern Beaches whose source of infection is not yet linked to the Avalon cluster and is under investigation.
The stay-at-home orders applying to Northern Beaches residents north of the Narrabeen Bridge will be extended until at least 9 January, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Monday.
The lockdown for the southern zone of the Northern Beaches will be in place until 2 January.
But those residents under lockdown while the rest of Sydney is free to move about will get a little reprieve on New Year’s Eve when small gatherings will be allowed.
Ms Berejiklian thanked Northern Beaches residents for their patience but said she could not ease restrictions any further because health authorities still hadn’t identified all the links in the cases.
Restrictions for Greater Sydney, including Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains, and regional NSW will remain largely unchanged over the New Year’s Eve period, with the only difference being that outdoor gatherings in Greater Sydney have been reduced from 100 people, to 50 people.
Only residents of Greater Sydney with permits for hospitality venues in the CBD will be allowed into the city on New Year’s Eve, whereas households are still only allowed 10 people in their home.
NYE plans for front line coronavirus workers cancelled
Plans to thank front line coronavirus workers by giving them a bird’s eye view of Sydney’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks have been cancelled.
The government had allocated a “green zone” around the harbour foreshore including the Opera House just for the workers, who were invited to attend from across the state.
“Unfortunately, we’re going have to cancel that,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday.
“It’s too much of a health risk having people from the regions and from Sydney and from broader regional areas congregate all in the CBD.”
Testing numbers continue to fall. Just 15,300 people were tested in the last 24-hour period, compared to 23,000 the day before. A one-day record of nearly 70,000 tests was set just before Christmas.
The premier urged NSW residents to continue to get tested to give the government confidence in its future decisions.
The changes in outdoor gathering sizes in Greater Sydney comes after NSW Police broke up several large gatherings during the Christmas holiday period.
Police fined 11 young people at a party at North Bondi for failing to comply with COVID-19 rules.
At least 40 people were at the party and most ran away when officers arrived just after 11pm on Boxing Day.
Two women and nine men were fined $1000 each because indoor gatherings were limited to only 10 visitors.
Another man was fined on Christmas Day after he allegedly went from an unauthorised party at Bronte Beach to a gathering at Centennial Park that also exceeded coronavirus restrictions.
A Newtown restaurant was fined $5000 after police attended on 23 December and learned the owner did not have a COVID-safe plan.
Police said there were 27 people too many inside and a crowd outside.
On Sunday night, NSW Health issued new alerts for a number of venues in Casula 34km south-west of the Sydney CBD.
On Sunday, New South Wales recorded seven new coronavirus cases all linked to the Northern Beaches cluster.
– Additional reporting by AAP.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits.
If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
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