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Greater Sydney ‘must mobilise’ or face a hard lockdown over Christmas

Despite lockdown measures in the Northern Beaches and restrictions across Greater Sydney, Sydney residents must all adopt greater precautionary measures or risk a Christmas lockdown, says emergency response expert Dr Ian Norton.

As of 11am Monday 21 December, there are now 83 cases linked to the Northern Beaches cluster.

Residents in the Northern Beaches are under lockdown and Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong residents face restrictions until 11.59pm Wednesday 23 December.

“This is to prevent there being any seeding events outside the Northern Beaches cluster,” said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“We have people who did not live on the Northern Beaches who came down to those events and got the disease and went back home, and we are making sure that we do everything we can to stop them and their contacts creating any seeding events in communities outside the Northern Beaches cluster.”

However Dr Ian Norton, emergency response expert and founder of emergency management company Respond Global, notes that the entire Greater Sydney community must mobilise or will face hard lockdowns across the city. 

“The Northern Beaches lockdown is expected. But the outbreak is not contained – it’s a Greater Sydney outbreak at this stage. The evidence is out that it’s escaped from the Northern Beaches. 

“What we should do across the rest of Greater Sydney is mandatory mask wearing and public health interventions. Mandatory mask measures are something I would put in place right away where you cannot physically distance. 

“We have a choice. We can all do the right thing and physically distance and wear a mask, and if we don’t choose to do that, then we’re all in lockdown.”

Residents in the Northern Beaches must stay at home and cannot leave without a reasonable excuse, for instance shopping, medical care or compassionate needs, exercise or work.

Public gatherings of more than 2 people are banned and hospitality venues, gyms and places of worship are closed.

In Greater Sydney, the one person per four square metre rule has been reintroduced for indoor settings. A maximum of 300 people will be allowed into hospitality venues and places of public worship.

Dr Norton urges businesses that are still open to maintain strong precautionary measures, such as masks, check-ins and social distancing. 

“Those businesses who have put a plan in place will be in the best position that they can be in. If you have such strong measures, you don’t need to be shut down. 

“Everyone coming to your venue should have a mask, there should be contactless check-ins, social distancing and hand hygiene. Businesses don’t need to be shut down and can manage with public health measures. 

“NSW is one of the most business-friendly states and we all need to do our part. If this doesn’t go well and we don’t mobilise, the government has no other choice but to go to a full lockdown which would be tragic.”

Restrictions will be reviewed on Wednesday morning and Ms Berejiklian will make a “final call” about whether the restrictions are lifted or extended for Christmas.

Border closures

As of 11am Monday 21 December


Travellers from Greater Sydney and the Central Coast are banned from travel into Victoria. People from border regions can enter by showing their driver’s licence.

Victorians trying to get home are exempted, however must undergo a 14 day self-quarantine at home if they arrive before 11.59pm Monday. Later arrivals will undergo 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine.


Travellers from Greater Sydney are not allowed into Queensland from 1.00am Monday. People from other parts of NSW need to complete a border declaration pass.

Returning Queenslanders who have been in the Greater Sydney area have until 1.00am Tuesday to re-enter Queensland and must self-quarantine for 14 days.

South Australia 

All Sydney travellers must undergo a 14 day quarantine and people who have been to the Northern Beaches are banned from entering. 

Western Australia 

All travellers from NSW are banned from entering.

Northern Territory 

Travellers from Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Illawarra regions must enter supervised quarantine and pay $2,500 per person. 


All travellers from Sydney must undergo 14 days of quarantine.


All travellers from Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Illawarra-Shoalhaven and Nepean-Blue Mountains must self-quarantine for 14 days. 

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Ann Wen

Ann Wen

Ann is a journalist at Dynamic Business.

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