As you’ll all likely know at this point, the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney has thrown a serious spanner in the works of many holiday plans for Aussies all over the country. NSW residents, in particular, have had to navigate fast-changing restrictions on almost a daily basis over the Christmas period, however, and that has been a particularly crappy way to round out a rough year if you ask me.
New updates have been released on December 30th regarding Sydney’s NYE celebrations and the restrictions in place around that.
Here’s what we know:
18 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in NSW on December 30 (this brings NSW to 160 active cases). As The ABC reports, a second cluster has been reported in Croydon – this currently sits at 6 cases.
There is a map available that is regularly updating newly-announced NSW hotspots for your reference.
New Year’s Eve restrictions have changed:
Across Greater Sydney, Wollongong, the Central Coast, and the Nepean and Blue Mountains, and the southern zone of the Northern Beaches, visitors are restricted to five people per home (including children) on New Year’s Eve.
Outdoor gatherings have now been limited to 30 people.
In the Northern Beaches peninsula zone restrictions have not changed:
- Up to 5 visitors, including children, total per home (as long as they reside in the peninsula zone)
- People may not leave or enter this zone (save for a handful of specified reasons)
These new restrictions are in effect as of midnight on December 30 and will remain in place until further notice, ABC shares.
New Year’s Eve fireworks:
As far as we know, the midnight fireworks are still set to go ahead. The 9pm display has been cancelled.
Initially, the Government was reserving prime viewing positions in the harbour for frontline workers on New Year’s Eve. This has since been cancelled.
NSW Government shared in a statement:
“We understand this is unfortunate news, but we are still in the middle of a global pandemic and community safety is the Government’s priority.
“All vantage points reserved for frontline workers within the Green Zone will be closed and frontline worker New Year’s Eve Passes will be cancelled.
“Alternative opportunities will be offered to our frontline workers in 2021.”
Other rules regarding NYE celebrations have been outlined as follows:
- Hospitality venues will remain open but must adhere to the one person per four square metres rule.
- Council events may continue but they must be controlled and seated with no mingling, and record keeping requirements must be strictly adhered to.
- A short, seven-minute fireworks display will continue at midnight.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian strongly suggests people watch the fireworks from their homes on TV this year.
Only those with a NYE pass will be eligible to enter designated zones around Circular Quay, North Sydney and the City.
Many called for the Sydney fireworks to be cancelled in 2019 during the bushfires. However, NYE fireworks are one of Sydney’s biggest revenue events. In 2019 the event cost the government $6.5 million, but generated $130 million for the state’s economy in return.
It makes sense then, that as the country settles into an economic recession, that big events, like NYE, will go ahead where it’s safe to do so. Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said, “Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks showcase our city to the world and this year they will add a much-needed boost to all our spirits and the businesses in the city that have been doing it tough.”
How to get tickets for New Year’s Eve
Those with confirmed NYE bookings in the CBD and local residents with access to restricted areas, were able to apply for a New Year’s Eve Pass from Service NSW starting from December 7.
Businesses located in green zone areas for NYE will also need to register for passes for their staff and customers. Businesses can register online with Service NSW until December 30, 2020. Once approved each business will then need to pass on its unique registration code to staff and customers to be used when applying for their own New Year’s Eve passes.
Entry to the green zone has been “restricted to residents who live inside the zone, their guests, and those with confirmed bookings at venues such as restaurants, hotels or bars within the area”.
The yellow zone sits outside the green zone. “Entry to this zone is not restricted to residents or visitors, but people gathering in these areas in large numbers may be moved on by police,” NSW Government’s website reads.
These zones are effective as of 5pm December 31.
If you can’t get a ticket to the fireworks this time, don’t stress. Why not follow the theme of the year and watch them on TV on ABC from the comfort of your home instead.
This article has been updated with additional information.