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Rise COVID-19 cases see NSW Government announce mandatory mask-wearing in workplaces, at sporting events and in gym classes
A rise in Coronavirus cases in Sydney's eastern suburbs has led the NSW Government to announce new COVID-19 restrictions that will mask-wearing mandatory in workplaces, at sporting events and at gym classes - with classes also limited to 20 people.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday announced new rules COVID rules for Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour.
Introduced from 4pm on 23rd June, for the first time, Premier Berejiklian said those attending group classes in gyms would also have to wear masks. Classes will also be limited to 20 people but those working out on exercise equipment such as treadmills will not have to wear a mask.
The first time such specific rules have been introduced for fitness facilities
Matt Dominello, owner of Premier Health and Fitness in the Sydney CBD told news.com.au “we will probably add more breaks to make sure people are OK and may have to adjust our timetables accordingly.”
However, he said some of the heavier cardio classes may also have to be cut, adding “hopefully it’s only for seven days.”
Dominello said members had previously adapted to other rules including the four square metre rule, noting “already people are walking in with face masks, we have found to date that people are adaptable and follow guidelines so hopefully this will continue.”
News.com.au also quoted Professor Peter Collignon of Australian National University, an infectious diseases expert, who said restrictions on gyms were necessary because they did seem to be higher risk venues for coronavirus spread.
Professor Collignon stated “it’s hard to wear a mask to exercise, unfortunately gyms are one of the riskier places for COVID transmission, along with bars and crowded restaurants.”
The NSW Government has also placed restrictions on other indoor venues including the re-introduction of the one person per four square metre rule and a ban on non-essential travel outside Sydney.
The new measures mean Greater Sydney will be subjected to its toughest mask mandate since the pandemic began.
Acknowledging that the travel restrictions would affect the looming school holidays but noting it was crucial the virus remained contained, Premier Berejiklian advised “we apologise in advance that this impacts some people's ability to travel during the school holidays.”
She said people can travel for essential purpose such as visiting a sick relative, and urged people to use common sense, adding “please abandon non-essential activities, please don't attend social gatherings unless you absolutely must.”
Wearing face masks was already mandatory for some activities like shopping and taking public transport.
The NSW outbreak has prompted New Zealand and other states to change border rules.
Interstate and trans-Tasman travel
New Zealand has suspended the trans-Tasman bubble arrangement after a Sydney man travelled to Wellington before testing positive on his return.
Tasmania and Victoria have also introduced a travel ban for people who have recently been in certain Sydney local government areas.
Returning residents will be forced to undergo a 14-day quarantine, while anyone else wishing to travel will be forced to apply for an exemption.
Western Australia also introduced a hard border closure with NSW on Wednesday, banning anyone who has recently been in the state since 11th June from travelling without an exemption.
South Australia followed suit shortly afterwards, closing its border with NSW to everyone but exempt travellers and residents of communities along the border.
Queensland has declared all of Greater Sydney a hotspot, and nobody who has been there, except people with exemptions and returning Queenslanders, will be permitted to enter the state from Thursday morning. Those who can enter Queensland will need to complete 14 days of quarantine.
16th June 2021 - COVID-19 lockdown sees AFL move Melbourne fixtures to Tasmania
8th October 2020 - Fitness Australia releases research showing impact of lockdown gym closures
9th October 2017 - Affordable luxury at refurbished Sydney CBD fitness club
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