Updated December 30 at 11:46am.
Like many (many) other events in Australia this year, New Year’s Eve is set to look very different from previous years. And while most of the states had some idea of how that would be a few weeks ago, the plan for Greater Sydney and the Northern Beaches, the locations of the latest COVID outbreak, was only announced on Monday.
“Can I say to people – people reduce your mobility, don’t move around unless you absolutely have to, don’t travel around unless you absolutely have to,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian advised residents of the state at the press conference.
But what specifically can and can’t you do in NSW for New Year’s? And what again are the current restrictions for the other states and territories? We explain:
Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast
On Wednesday morning (December 30), after 18 new cases were reported in Sydney in the previous 24 hours, Ms Berejiklian announced that all households in this area would only be allowed to have five people on New Year’s Eve. Outdoor gatherings are now capped at 30 people – down from the previously-allowed 50.
From 5pm on December 31, the Sydney CBD will be divided into two zones: a green and a yellow zone.
The green zone will include Circular Quay, The Rocks, and the Botanic Gardens, as well as vantage points at Cremorne Point, Kurraba Point, Milsons Point, Lavender Bay and McMahons Point. This zone will be off-limits to everyone apart from residents, their guests and anyone with venue bookings in the area. Those in these categories will need to apply for a NYE pass through Service NSW.
Meanwhile, the yellow zone will comprise the rest of the CBD, Kings Cross, Balmain East, parts of North Sydney, Waverton and Kirribilli. You won’t need permission to be in these areas, but the area will be heavily policed.
Bradfield Park, Blues Point Reserve, Mary Booth Reserve, Quibaree Park, Kurraba Reserve and Cremorne Reserve will not be open to the public.
The Northern Beaches (north zone)
Unfortunately, those in the north zone of the Northern Beaches are still subjected to stay-at-home provisions until January 9. Residents must stay home with the exception of four reasons:
- Shopping for goods and services,
- Travelling for work or education,
- Or medical care.
On New Year’s Eve only, however, residents in the area will be allowed to have up to five people in a home (including children). The visitors must also be from the north zone of the Northern Beaches though.
Outdoor gatherings of five people are also allowed until January 9.
The Northern Beaches (south zone)
While the stay-at-home order will also stay in place over New Year’s in the south zone, it’s expected to be relaxed by January 2.
This zone will also get a temporary easing for New Year’s Eve – on the night, you’ll be allowed 10 people in one home (including children). Like in the north, though, all of those visitors must also be from the same zone.
Groups of 10 people will be allowed outdoor until January 2.
The rest of NSW
Restrictions in regional NSW will remain as they were before the recent outbreak – 50 visitors (including children) will be allowed to gather in a home. Outdoors, up to 100 people can gather together.
However, Ms Berejiklian stressed to keep singing and dancing to a minimum as it could accelerate the virus’ spread.
In Victoria, on New Year’s Eve, you’ll still only allowed to have a maximum of 30 visitors to your home per day. If the 30 people are still there after midnight on December 31, they’ll be counted as the quota for January 1 too.
Front and backyards are also considered to be part of the home.
In Queensland, the rules for New Year’s Eve will also remain the same: you’re allowed groups of up to 50 in homes; 100 in public spaces.
Ticketed venues are at 100% capacity, provided everyone is seated. Up to 1500 people are permitted at outdoor events; 500 people at indoor events.
Restrictions in Tasmania will also stay as-is for New Year’s Eve. Up to 100 (including kids) can gather at a home at any one time. Indoor venues will be allowed up to 250 people; outdoor venues, 1000.
Currently, in Western Australia, the only restriction is on public or private gatherings, indoors or outdoors, is that you must have at least 2 square metres for each person in the space you’re sharing.
The Northern Territory
The same is the case for the Northern Territory – though their restriction is 1.5 metres for spaces you’re sharing with people you don’t live with.
As always, it’s important to observe social distancing, good personal hygiene and common sense. For more information on COVID in Australia, head here.