With a lockdown looming, residents on Sydney’s northern beaches were out in force on Saturday, enjoying the sun, freedom and open spaces.
Locals were spotted at venues such as Palm Beach, Avalon, Newport, Manly and picturesque Shelly Beach in the lead up to confirmation of the two-week lockdown, which starts on Saturday night at 6pm.
Residents took the opportunity to sip on a coffee by the beach, host public BBQs, celebrate birthdays, or simply catch up with family and friends.
Scores of people were spotted in Avalon lining up for vaccination shots.
The region, home to just over 274,000 people – know all about lockdowns – they also endured one in December last year due to coronavirus.
This surfer defied the winter conditions to enjoy a surf on Sydney’s northern beaches on Saturday – before the lockdown was announced by the NSW Premier
Three locals at Avalon Beach were spotted sitting together by the beach, watching the action unfold in the ocean
Locals at Avalon Beach (pictured) were out enjoying the sun before two weeks of lockdown begins on Saturday night from 6pm
This man took the opportunity to gaze out to the ocean on Sydney’s northern beaches while out walking his dog (pictured at Avalon Beach)
The usually busy walkway to Wharf Bar and Hugo’s at Manly was deserted on Saturday afternoon
The timing of the lockdown – across Greater Sydney and its surrounds – couldn’t be worse for many, with the school holidays now in full swing.
Plans have been dashed for thousands – if not millions – as NSW Health scrambles to contain a possible Covid outbreak.
On Saturday afternoon just after 2pm, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced Greater Sydney would be thrown into lockdown until July 9.
It follows 12 new Covid-19 infections which were recorded on Saturday as the growing cluster of cases wreaks havoc across the Harbour City.
The stay-at-home orders apply to all of Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, and Wollongong areas.
The four reasons residents can leave their houses include for school or work if unable to do so from home, medical reasons including to get the vaccine and to give care, for essential shopping and to exercise in groups of no more than ten.
‘There is no curfew. You can leave your home at any stage to purchase any essential goods that you need to and that is a given. Be thoughtful and considerate about fellow citizens and no need to panic buy,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘I said that this the scariest time since the pandemic started and that’s proven to be the case.’
The premier also stated the outbreak of the Indian ‘Delta’ strain left health authorities with no other choice but to impose the hard lockdown.
‘I’m as disappointed as everybody else…but we’ve only done it because we absolutely had to,’ she said.
The ferry terminal at Manly Wharf was also very quiet as news of the lockdown filtered across Sydney
Palm Beach was heaving with people on Saturday morning – before Sydney was plunged into lockdown for two weeks
This party at Newport Beach went ahead – at 2pm on Saturday, Sydney was plunged into a lockdown until July 9
‘The best advice from health is that we should brace ourselves for additional cases.
‘Because the contact tracers have done such a good job in identifying potential cases and their close contacts, just from those numbers alone and how transmissible the virus is, we know that the numbers will go up in the next few days.
‘We are taking the right advice, we are doing the right things. But the best advice we received today is that it will take two weeks.’
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also pleaded for patience and co-operation as authorities determine how best to reign in the outbreak.
‘The Delta variant is proving to be a very formidable foe,’ he said.
‘No matter what defensive steps we’re taking at the moment, the virus seems to understand how to counter attack.’
SYDNEY’S LOCKDOWN: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW UNTIL JULY 9
*Applies to people living in greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong
*The four reasons you can leave your home:
- Shopping for food or other essential goods and services
- Medical care or compassionate needs (including to get a COVID-19 vaccine)
- Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer
- Essential work, or education, where you cannot work or study from home
The rest of NSW (including regional areas) will be subject to the following restrictions:
- No more than five visitors (including children) allowed in homes
- Masks are compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings
- The four-square-metre rule is back for indoor and outdoor settings and drinking while standing at indoor venues is not allowed
- Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs, but dancing is allowed at weddings for the wedding party (no more than 20 people)
- Dance and gym classes are limited to 20 people per class and masks must be worn