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Tighter restrictions and high visibility police operation welcomes in the New Year amid Covid concern

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

The Greater Wollongong community is encouraged to stay local this New Year’s Eve and enjoy celebrations from home with the NSW Government announcing tighter Covid restrictions.

A high-visibility policing operation will be in place on Thursday  (December 31 2020) and Friday (January 1 2021), to ensure the safety of the community.

Locally, it will involve general duties police from Wollongong, as well as detectives, Proactive Crime Team, Crime Prevention Unit, as well as specialist police from across the region and Sydney.

The crackdown comes as NSW recorded 18 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, with an additional seven cases in returned travellers in hotel quarantine. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in NSW to 4,717 since the beginning of the pandemic.

  • Nine locally acquired cases are linked to the Avalon cluster. Eight of these cases were isolating for their full infectious period.
  • Six locally acquired cases, three adults and three children, all members of the same extended family, are linked to a cluster in Sydney’s Inner West whose source is still under investigation. One of these cases was first reported yesterday morning.
  • Three further locally acquired cases are under investigation. Two cases, members of the same household, are from the Wollongong area and one is from northern Sydney. One of the cases from Wollongong and the northern Sydney case were first reported yesterday morning.
  • Seven cases were acquired overseas and are in hotel quarantine.

Given the current situation on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and increasing concern about transmission of COVID-19 in other parts of Sydney and Wollongong, new restrictions will be in place on New Year’s Eve.

This decision has been made taking into account updated health advice from Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant.

For New Year’s Eve in Greater Sydney (including Wollongong, Central Coast and Blue Mountains) the following will apply;

  • Household gatherings will be limited to 5 visitors (including children).
  • The limit for outdoor gatherings will be reduced from 50 to 30.

These changes come into effect from midnight tonight (Wednesday December 30) and will be in place until further notice.

People are encouraged to limit non-essential gatherings over the New Year period where possible to further minimise the risk of transmission in the community.

Wollongong Police District Commander, Superintendent Evan Quarmby said police will be out and about across the community focusing on public safety, alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour.

“Although this year’s celebrations look very different to previous events, we still want everyone to see out 2020 safely and have a memorable start to 2021,” Supt Quarmby said.

“We are urging residents to stay local and celebrate at home this year, ensuring the Public Health Order guidelines for gatherings are strictly followed.

“For those who do go out and about, expect to see plenty of police officers.

“We have zero tolerance for dangerous, criminal or anti-social behaviour, so anyone caught putting other people’s lives at risk, or spoiling the fun for others, will be dealt with swiftly.

“Our best advice is to plan ahead how you are getting to and from your selected celebrations – whether it be public transport, pre-arranged transport or organising a designated driver,” Supt Quarmby said.

“Remember that most of the usual New Year events have been cancelled this year, so I urge people to rethink their plans regarding going out, and to not behave selfishly by gathering in large groups or breaching health restrictions.

“Welcome 2021 with a view to limiting the impact COVID19 has on it. The more we do now to stop the spread and do the right thing now, the greater the chance we have of a better year ahead for us all.”

For more information on the Public Health Orders for gatherings, please visit; https://www.nsw.gov.au/…/what-you-can-and-cant-do-under…

To find your nearest testing clinic visit, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others/clinics or contact your GP.

  • Figtree pop-up drive-through COVID-19 Assessment clinic, Figtree Community Hall, 11 Princes Highway, Figtree. Opening hours 8am to 8pm daily until further notice.
  • Wollongong Hospital COVID-19 Assessment Clinic, Lawson House, Wollongong Hospital – Loftus St, Wollongong, extended opening hours: 8am to 8pm daily until further notice.
  • Wollongong Southern IML Pathology drive-through testing clinic, 37 Denison Street Wollongong, extended opening hours: 8am to 8pm daily until further notice. Bookings essential by phoning: 4224 7474

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Would you like to make a small donation towards the publishing of The Bulli & Clifton Times and/or the Looking Back websites? If you would like to support my work, you can leave a small donation here with your credit card. Your generous patronage of my work and research, however small it appears to you, will greatly help me with my continuing costs.


About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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