Up to 500 people will be permitted to attend seated outdoor music performances under a loosening of COVID-19-related restrictions in New South Wales.
Seven new locally-transmitted cases were recorded in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, with another six confirmed in hotel quarantine.
The NSW government nevertheless announced it would from Friday ease restrictions for outdoor dining establishments, allowing one patron per two square metres but it will be dependent on the use of an electronic QR code to record patrons’ contact details.
Outdoor music concerts and performances will also be allowed with up to 500 seated guests, however they remain subject to the four square metre rule.
“We know how hard the arts and music industry has been impacted (by the pandemic),” Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Tuesday.
Authorities remained concerned about emerging clusters in southwest Sydney but Ms Berejiklian said “we do feel confident enough that from Friday, outdoor venues will be able to have two square metres outside, in preparation for summer”.
NSW Health said the Great Beginnings childcare centre at Oran Park in southwest Sydney has also been closed after an infected person attended the premises on four occasions.
Two new locally-acquired cases are doctors who worked at the A2Z Medical Clinic in Lakemba in southwest Sydney and are linked to a previously-reported case of unknown origin.
The remaining five new locally-acquired cases were members of the same household in southwestern Sydney and are now part of an investigation into four previously-reported unlinked cases, including a nurse from St Vincent’s Hospital.
NSW Health said one of the new cases was a disability support worker who had worked at three small group homes in southwestern Sydney.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the eased restrictions would boost employment in the NSW hospitality sector which had dropped 14 per cent between March and September, and 11 per cent in the arts and recreation sector.
“As we head into summer we want to take NSW from being inside to outside,” he told reporters.
A recent drop in testing numbers remains a concern for authorities who are urging anyone with symptoms, particularly in west and southwest Sydney, to get tested. There were 8,609 tests conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.
Earlier, a health alert was issued for anyone who was at takeaway food shop Ali Dine Inn and Take Away Lakemba on 9 October between 7:30pm and 8:30pm.
Anyone who attended the A2Z medical centre between 25 and 28 September should also be tested immediately but don’t need to self-isolate if they test negative.
NSW Health has established a pop-up clinic at Lakemba to deal with the cluster.
“This is a salient lesson for us around how the disease can transmit and how important it is that as we ease restrictions, everyone has a role to play – I urge the community to continue to come forward for testing,” Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant told reporters.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits.
If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://sbs.com.au/coronavirus