Masks mandatory in Greater Sydney shops, on public transport; new restrictions for events, gyms

Greater Sydney residents will have to wear masks in some public indoor spaces from midnight on Saturday, with a $200 fine for those caught flouting the new rules.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it would be compulsory to wear a mask in a number of settings including: shopping centres, public transport, attending an entertainment venue such as a cinema, places of worship, hair and beauty salons and gaming areas of establishments. Staff at hospitality venues will also have to wear a mask.

Additional restrictions will also be put in place for other venues. Gym classes will be restricted to 30 people and places of worship, weddings and funerals to 100 attendees, all subject to the four square metre rule.

Indoor performances have been capped at 500 attendees and outdoor events at 2000 as part of the changes, the Premier said.

The new rules apply to Greater Sydney, including Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains.

NSW recorded seven new locally acquired cases on Saturday, four of which are from the same household, as well as 12 cases in hotel quarantine, from nearly 32,000 tests to 8pm Friday night.

Five of the locally acquired cases are from western and south-western Sydney, and are linked to the Berala cluster, which now totals seven cases. One locally acquired case is a household contact of a previously reported case – a patient transport worker – and has been isolating.

Another locally acquired case is from inner south-western Sydney and their source of infection remains under investigation.

The lockdown on the lower part of the northern beaches has also been lifted, with residents who live south of Narrabeen Bridge now being treated in line with Greater Sydney under the public health order, the Premier announced, thanking the region for their patience.

"Thankfully, according to the health advice, the risk of transmission in that part of the northern beaches has dissipated and, as I foreshadowed yesterday and the day before, there is a greater risk at this stage of community transmission in parts of western Sydney, which we are obviously trying to get on top of," she said.

The lockdown measures will remain in place in the northern part of the northern beaches until January 9, which the Premier described as a "worse case".

The announcement comes as genomic sequencing directly linked Victoria's coronavirus outbreak to the NSW northern beaches cluster.

All of Victoria’s 10 new locally acquired cases have been connected to the current Black Rock cluster, meaning there are no new cases with an unknown origin.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said on Saturday that two of the 10 cases were announced by New South Wales on Friday, but those people are "now back in Melbourne, completely appropriately, and they are isolating here".

More to come

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