NSW bulks up business stimulus as lockdown extended by four weeks, retail radius imposed

NSW bulks up business stimulus as lockdown extended by four weeks, retail radius imposed

With New South Wales today recording 177 new cases of community transmission, the state's Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was "fairly obvious" residents would not be leaving lockdown this week and has extended the settings for another month until 28 August.

From midnight tonight residents will be restricted in where they can shop, testing requirements will be extended to more workers, new rules will apply for the construction industry, a 'singles bubble' will be introduced, and further financial assistance will be extended to more people and businesses. 

Given low vaccination rates, the current stay-at-home orders will remain in place for four more weeks across Greater Sydney including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour.

"Whilst we're looking closely at those areas outside the Sydney metropolitan area, based on health advice it's too risky at this state to release any of them," Berejiklian said.

"So therefore, all those areas currently in lockdown will continue to be in lockdown for a further four weeks."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian emphasised higher vaccination rates and following the health orders were the only way to guarantee a further easing of restrictions.

"Though the Pfizer supply is insufficient there is plenty of AstraZeneca, and updated federal health advice recommends anyone aged 18 and over in Greater Sydney should access the jab," Berejiklian said.

"If you are unvaccinated, please organise a jab as soon as you possibly can, especially if you live in an LGA of concern."

The extension of lockdown settings comes as NSW recorded 177 new cases of community transmission today, 46 of whom were in the community while infectious.

Retail radius imposed

In addition to the lockdown extension, new rules will be put in place from midnight tonight which will see residents given more consistent rules around shopping for essential goods and services.

This means residents of the locked down areas must limit their shopping to within their local government area (LGA) or within 10km from home if the item is not available locally.

Singles bubble introduced

Those living alone can now nominate one designated family or friend to visit for companionship during this extended lockdown period.

This means if you have been living by yourself you are permitted to nominate one person who can visit you, but it has to be the same person every time they visit and they must be someone within your LGA.

"It has to be the same person, it can't be a different person every day," Berejiklian said.

"You have to nominate the one person that is your buddy or part of your singles bubble for the next four weeks to make sure that we don't spread the virus.

"Apart from workplaces where critical work has to occur households remain the biggest problem in New South Wales."

Financial assistance extended

Businesses in NSW will benefit from the extension of the 'JobSaver' scheme, giving greater support to businesses and individuals impacted by the extended lockdown.

JobSaver payments will now be available to businesses with an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $250 million, up from $50 million, which have experienced a revenue decline of 30 per cent or more.

The maximum weekly payment has also been substantially increased, with employing businesses that maintain their employee headcount now able receive between $1,500 and $100,000 per week, up from $10,000, with payments based on 40 per cent of their weekly NSW payroll.

Berejiklian said the additional support would help deliver businesses and individuals the financial assistance needed during the extension of the lockdown.

"We know these restrictions are tough but necessary to get the current situation under control and that is why we are coming to the table to help businesses and individuals with more financial support," Berejiklian said.

"We don't want people to have to worry about how they are going to keep the lights on or reopen their businesses when restrictions ease, which is why we are investing billions to give people that peace of mind."

New rules for the construction sector

Construction will remain banned during the lockdown for eight LGAs that have been designated as areas of concern (Fairfield, Canterbury Bankstown, Liverpool, Cumberland, Blacktown, Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown), however outside of those areas construction can recommence in non-occupied dwellings.

In addition, outside of those eight LGAs tradies are permitted to visit a home so long as they won't have contact with anyone while they are working.

"Construction will resume on Saturday 31 July, with safety measures such as controls on movements between sites, reduced contact between workers within sites, improved tracing capability and a focus on encouraging workers to get vaccinated," NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said.

"Works in occupied premises including residential homes can also resume from this Saturday where there is zero contact between workers and residents. There will be a limit of up to two workers for indoor services and five workers for outdoor services, and works will only be possible where it is feasible for residents to vacate the area. If contactless arrangements are not possible, work cannot go ahead.

"Unfortunately, construction will not resume in the eight LGAs of concern - Fairfield, Blacktown, Cumberland, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Parramatta and Georges River Local Government Areas."

Year 12s to get vaccinated ahead of a return to school

The NSW Government will roll out the Pfizer vaccine to some Year 12s who are to return to face-to-face schooling in two weeks' time on Monday 16 August.

"I want to be clear that this is based on the fact that within those eight LGAs of concern the New South Wales Government will be vaccinating students 16 to 18 years of age who are in Year 12," Berejiklian said.

"So year 12s, because the Pfizer vaccine is allowed in young adults or young children or adolescents, the New South Wales Government will start a vaccination program.

"I want to stress we haven't been given extra doses of the vaccine from any other government or the states or the Federal Government."

Every other student in the state will continue home schooling until the extended lockdown period finishes.

Tougher restrictions for LGAs of concern

Residents living in LGAs of concern to NSW Health will not be permitted to work outside of the areas they live in because of high rates of case numbers being recorded in those specific areas.

As such, residents living in the LGAs of Fairfield, Canterbury Bankstown, Liverpool, Cumberland, Blacktown, Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown must not work outside of their area unless they're a healthcare worker or an aged care worker.

"We don't want anyone leaving the house in those areas unless they absolutely have to," Berejiklian said.

"The virus is now circulating in their community at a rate that we think is too dangerous to allow them to go out for work unless it's in those critical industries that we've identified."

The state government has also expanded its three-day testing regime to include every single worker that lives in the Canterbury Bankstown LGA.

"Canterbury Bankstown has now become the central spot where most cases are being generated," Berejiklian said.

Workers from the Fairfield LGA will no longer have to present for a COVID-19 test every three days, except for those working in the aged care or healthcare industries.

Updated at 12.01pm AEST on 28 July 2021.

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