NSW authorities have declared a ‘national emergency’ as the Premier confirmed 136 new COVID-19 cases overnight and announced new restrictions….
NSW authorities have declared a ‘national emergency’ as the Premier confirmed 136 new COVID-19 cases overnight and announced new restrictions.
The Greater Sydney lockdown is being criticised for not being strict enough but how different are its restrictions from what was introduced in Victoria?
Lockdown in Victoria appears to have been successful in driving down cases and the state will come out of lockdown from midnight Tuesday night, while NSW is unlikely to relax restrictions as expected on Friday night.
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan attacked NSW on Monday claiming it was not taking the latest Covid-19 outbreak seriously.
“We just want them to put in place measures that work. They’ve got to actually take it more seriously. They’ve got to lockdown properly,” Mr McGowan said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has also said he wants to see NSW put a “ring of steel” around Greater Sydney, similar to what Victoria did during its second outbreak last year.
The “ring of steel” saw police and Australian Defence Force personnel stationed at key entry points on the fringe of Melbourne to stop people travelling into regional areas or other states.
His words come after three Sydney removalists entered Victoria more than a fortnight ago and kicked off the state’s fifth lockdown.
But NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said she would not introduce measures such as curfews and curbs on outdoor exercise that did not have any scientific basis.
“I am not the type of Premier that is going to be asking citizens to do things we do not think are going to have any effect,” she told reporters last week.
“When I get questions about curfews or exercise or whatever else, the facts are that will not change the dial. That will not reduce the number of cases.”
NSW will reveal “as early as tomorrow” what changes to restrictions will be made, if any, beyond Friday night, which was when the Greater Sydney lockdown was due to lift.
Reasons for leaving home
Both Victoria and Greater Sydney have the same reasons for leaving home, basically for education, exercise, medical (including vaccination) or caring reasons and for work.
However, Victoria also allows single people to have a bubble buddy visit them, even if they live more than 5km away.
In Sydney, people are allowed to visit intimate partners but singles are advised to meet up with a friend for outdoor exercise and are restricted to a 10km limit.
There are harsher restrictions on residents living in five local government areas in southwestern and western Sydney, who are not allowed to leave home, even for work unless they are an authorised worker (such as a health worker).
In Victoria, people are only allowed to travel a maximum of 5km for shopping or exercise. This limit does not apply for work.
In NSW there is a 10km limit.
Meanwhile South Australia introduced a 2.5km limit as part of its lockdown.
Only one person allowed to go shopping
NSW only allows one person each day to go shopping, and this must be within 10km of their home.
Victoria has the same rule except residents are limited to 5km.
Single bubble buddy
Victoria allows single people to have a bubble buddy visit them, even if they live more than 5km away.
In Sydney, you are allowed to visit an intimate partner but singles are advised to meet up with a friend for outdoor exercise rather than have them visit their home, and this is restricted to a 10km limit.
In Victoria you can only exercise within 5km of your home and you are limited to no more than two hours a day. You can meet up with one friend, or exercise with other members of your household.
There is no time limit in Greater Sydney and people can travel up to 10km. However, there is the same restriction on the number of people allowed to gather.
Victoria makes residents put on a face mask both indoors and outdoors whenever they leave their home, including while exercising. People don’t have to wear a mask if they are working alone.
In Greater Sydney, people outdoors only have to wear a mask in certain circumstances if they cannot socially distance, this includes if they are walking in a busy street or at an outdoor market. They are also being asked to wear masks in the common areas or lobbies of apartment buildings.
Retail shops and renovations
Greater Sydney has closed most of its retail shops now except for places like supermarkets, newsagencies and chemists, which is the same as Victoria.
However, it does still allow hardware and building supply stores (such as Bunnings) to open, as well as garden centres and mobile phone repair shops.
In contrast to Victoria though, NSW has closed construction sites and any renovation works, something Victoria still allows.
Victoria did introduce an 8pm curfew during their second wave last year but it does not currently have a curfew.
NSW also does not have a curfew.
Travel to regional areas
Victoria’s lockdown applies to the entire state while the restrictions in NSW apply mainly to Greater Sydney.
People who travel more than 50km outside Greater Sydney for work that is unable to be done from home (including construction) must not enter a workplace unless they have been tested for Covid-19 in the seven days before beginning their job.
Anyone who usually lives or works in Greater Sydney must also follow the stay-at-home rules while they are working outside Greater Sydney, including only going to work and their accommodation, and shopping for essential goods such as food. They are not allowed, for example, to attend regional restaurants or pubs.