Just as it seemed life was getting back to normal, Sydneysiders have been thrust into another lockdown. As residents prepare to stockpile their toilet paper and renew their Netflix subscriptions, fears surrounding the implications of another outbreak are being felt throughout the nation. The Delta variant of COVID-19 is officially in the community. Labelled a “strain of concern” by the WHO, the B.1.67 variant has proven more contagious and deadly than its predecessors, killing at least 400,000 Indians this year.
Here’s how to make sure you’re following the rules and staying safe this lockdown.
Sydney’s two-week lockdown is scheduled to end on Friday 9 July 2021 and expands across the Greater Sydney region (including Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains). A fourteen-day stay at home order is also in place for all residents who left greater Sydney on or after 12 June 2021.
A Public Health Order issued by the Minister for Health directs residents in the region to wear masks in all indoor non-residential settings and on public transport and to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. There are, however, four main reasons you may be allowed to leave your home.
- Shopping for food and other essential goods and services
- Emergencies, medical care and compassionate reasons. This includes getting a COVID vaccine and visiting a romantic partner that you don’t live with
- Exercise outdoors, in groups of 10 or fewer
- Essential work or education, if it cannot be done from home. However, employers must allow employees to work at the employee’s place of residence if it is reasonably practicable to do so.
If you are dealing with a family law matter, the following exemptions may also apply to you. You may leave your home to:
- Undertake legal obligations
- Give effect to new parenting arrangements
- Pick up and drop off children at childcare.
If you feel you are at risk of domestic violence, leaving home to escape harm is also included in the list of exemptions.
For more about the rules and how they affect those in regional areas, click here.
Failure to follow the above rules will lead to an infringement notice and a possible fine of $1000. Only three days into the lockdown, 44 people had been fined for breaching Health Orders. Among those fined was Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, who was slapped with an infringement notice for failing to wear a mask in a petrol station.
While it seems no one will be safe from strict enforcement of the rules, Police Commissioner Michael Fuller APM noted that the police would be understanding of residents’ confusion about the application of the rules.
In light of the 294 estimated active cases throughout the country, the Government has doubled down efforts to vaccinate Australians.
The Prime Minister announced this morning that all adults under 40 will now be able to access the AstraZeneca vaccine. However, with widespread fears surrounding the extremely narrow possibility of blood clot complications, many Australians remain hesitant.
The NSW Government has reinforced the importance of vaccination to stop the spread of the highly contagious Delta strain and prevent a constant cycle of lockdowns this winter. The efficacy of vaccination was especially evident yesterday when everyone at a Sydney birthday party became infected with COVID-19, except for the six people who were vaccinated.
For official advice about vaccinations, consult your doctor and visit health.gov.au
If you would like to learn more about this issue, or would like to discuss a legal matter, please do not hesitate to call us on 8917 8700