July 18 - 24, 2021: Issue 502


Restrictions to further limit the spread of the COVID-19 Delta strain

Covid-19 Testing Clinic at Avalon Bowling Club carpark. AJG photo

Saturday July 17, 2021: issued by The Premier, Minister for Health and Medical Research

Given the number of infectious cases in the community, the following changes will be made to further limit the spread of the COVID-19 Delta strain.

On the basis of updated health advice, the following changes come into effect across Greater Sydney including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour until 11.59pm on Friday, 30 July:

From 11.59pm on Saturday, 17 July:

  • Retail premises will be required to close (‘click and collect’, takeaway and home delivery can still operate), except the following can remain open:
    • Supermarkets and grocery stores (including butchers, bakeries, fruit and vegetable stores, liquor stores and fishmongers);
    • Stores that predominantly sell health, medical, maternity and infant supplies;
    • Pharmacies and chemists;  
    • Petrol stations;
    • Car hire;
    • Banks and financial institutions;
    • Hardware, nurseries and building supplies;
    • Agricultural and rural supplies;
    • Pet supplies;
    • Post offices and newsagents; and
    • Office supplies. 
  • In addition to the stay-at-home rules, residents of Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool LGAs cannot leave their LGA for work except for emergency services and healthcare workers (including aged and disability workers). Where those workers do need to leave their LGA for work, they are required to be tested every three days, even if they do not have symptoms;
  • Anyone who leaves the home must have a mask with them at all times. They must be worn when you are working outdoors, in outdoor markets, outdoor shopping strips, and in an outdoor queues waiting for products such as coffee and food; and
  • All carpooling to be stopped unless among members of the same household.

From 12.01am on Monday, 19 July:

  • All construction to be paused; and
  • Non-urgent maintenance, including cleaning services, and repair work on residential premises to be paused.

From 12.01am on Wednesday, 21 July:

  • Employers must allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so, failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

We are constantly reviewing the health advice and will continue to update the community if any changes are required. 

All other restrictions currently in place across Greater Sydney including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour will remain in place.

These decisions have not been made lightly and we understand this is a difficult time for the community and appreciate their ongoing patience. 

It is vital people continue to come forward for testing to help us find any COVID-19 cases in the community. 

Restrictions in regional NSW remain unchanged. 

Read the latest COVID-19 information.

NSW Health Update: Saturday July 17, 2021

NSW recorded 111 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. 

Of these locally acquired cases, 59 are linked to a known case or cluster – 47 are household contacts and 12 are close contacts – and the source of infection for 52 cases remains under investigation.

Sixty-nine cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period and ten cases were in isolation for part of their infectious period. Twenty-nine cases were infectious in the community, and the isolation status of three cases remains under investigation.

Six new overseas-acquired cases were recorded in the same period. The total number of cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic is now 6,644.

Sadly, a man in his late-80s from south-eastern Sydney died yesterday. NSW Health extends its sincere sympathies to his family.

There have been 1,137 locally acquired cases reported since 16 June 2021, when the first case in the Bondi cluster was reported.

There are currently 75 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 18 people in intensive care, six of whom require ventilation. 

There were a record 81,970 COVID-19 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with the previous day’s total of 77,587.

NSW Health administered a record 23,715 COVID-19 vaccines in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, including 7,722 at the vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park. 

The total number of vaccines administered in NSW is now 2,975,525 with 1,158,879 doses administered by NSW Health to 8pm last night and 1,816,646 administered by the GP network and other providers, to 11.59pm on Thursday, 15th July.

Of the 111 locally acquired cases reported to 8pm last night, 83 are from South Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD), 11 are from Western Sydney LHD, eight are from South Eastern Sydney LHD, seven are from Sydney LHD and two are from Nepean Blue Mountains LHD.

People in Greater Sydney must stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave. You should only be shopping for essential items, and only leaving the house for as short a period of time as possible. We encourage people to shop online or use click and collect options. If you do leave home for an essential reason, remember to check in to and out of anywhere you visit.

We are asking people not to seek exceptions to the stay-at-home rules, but instead to ensure they comply with them, in order to reduce the number of infectious cases of COVID-19 in the community.

Transmission in workplaces remains a concern. Everyone should work from home if possible. For essential workplaces:

  • Limit the interaction and mixing of employees, prevent meetings and gatherings, and reduce the size of the groups.
  • Masks are mandatory – including indoors and outdoors on construction sites. 
  • Remind everyone in the workplace that they must not attend if they have any cold-like symptoms. They need to get a test immediately and isolate until they get a negative result. They also need to check the NSW Government website every day for updated venues of concern in case they are a contact.

The high number of COVID-19 cases and exposure venues in the Fairfield Local Government Area (LGA) means Fairfield residents who work in other LGAs must now be tested for COVID-19 every three days, even if they do not have symptoms.

People who don’t have symptoms who will be travelling outside of the Fairfield area for work must now get tested every three days. Asymptomatic people do not need to wait for a negative test before going to work although they must carry proof of the test. 

At this time, it is most important to focus on anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or is a close or casual contact of confirmed cases. These people must immediately get tested as soon as possible. We ask you to please stay in the line when testing clinics are busy and identify yourself to staff and tell them that you have symptoms. 

NSW Health’s ongoing sewage surveillance program has detected fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 in a number of catchments in Sydney, including Minto, where there are no known cases of COVID-19. People in Minto are asked to be especially vigilant for the onset of any cold-like symptoms, and if they appear, to be tested immediately and isolate until a negative result is received.

If you are directed to get tested for COVID 19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the rules whether or not the venue or exposure setting is listed on the NSW Health website.

It remains vital that anyone who has any symptoms or is a close or casual contact of a person with COVID-19, isolates and is tested immediately. When testing clinics are busy, please ensure you stay in line, identify yourself to staff and tell them that you have symptoms or are a contact of a case.

Please check the NSW Government website regularly, and follow the relevant health advice if you have attended a venue of concern or travelled on a public transport route at the same time as a confirmed case of COVID-19. This list is being updated regularly as case investigations proceed.

Anyone travelling to NSW who has been in Victoria after 12.01am today (17 July) will be required to follow the stay-at-home rules. 

The previous exemption for NSW border region residents remains in place. NSW border residents do not have to follow the stay-at-home rules if the only place they have been in Victoria is in the border region.

Declaration requirements are still in place for people who have been in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory in the previous 14 days, with the exception of those living and travelling in the NSW/Victoria border region.

There are more than 400 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic visit: https://www.nsw.gov.au/clinics or contact your GP.

Link Community Care Food at warriewood

The Lockdown is continuing and so are the professionally cooked meals from Pittwater RSL for anyone in need or vulnerable during this time - (Centrelink card preferred but not necessary during the pandemic). Simply drive through between 11am-1pm on any day Tuesday through to Friday at 6/3 Vuko Place, Warriewood and one of our volunteers will assist you (please remain in vehicle). 

Do you know someone in need? Feel free to pop on down and pick up for them until stocks run out. 

Gold coin appreciated but not required.

If you would like access to non perishable hampers or the foodcare shop please see booking details on our website: https://link.org.au/community-care/

The Link Community Care is a COVID Safe organisation.

Photo credit Fabio Silvestre

COVID-19 Business Support – 2021

NSW Government Information
The NSW Government will be offering financial support to businesses impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

If your business or not-for-profit organisation has been impacted by the restrictions, you may be eligible to apply from 19 July 2021.

You can get notified on existing and upcoming financial support, including:
  • COVID-19 business grant: if you’re a business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions, you may be able to apply for a grant of up to $15,000 from 19 July 2021.
  • Saving Jobs: a support program funded jointly by the NSW and Commonwealth governments to maintain employment of staff for small and medium businesses impacted by the current health restrictions.
  • Micro business grant: if you’re a micro business (small business or sole trader with annual turnover of more than $30,000 and under $75,000) impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions, you may be able to apply for a $1500 payment per fortnight of restrictions from late July 2021.
Get ready
To help avoid delays in completing your application:
  • ensure your business and contact details are up-to-date with the Australian Business Register (ABR)
  • ensure your personal, contact and business details are up-to-date in your MyServiceNSW Account and your business profile
  • if you don't have one, create a MyServiceNSW Account and business profile.
Get notified
To be notified when COVID-19 financial support programs are available, please complete the form HERE

Covid-19 Disaster Payment: Commonwealth Government

Australian Federal Government Information
The Commonwealth Government will pay the COVID-19 Disaster Payment to you for each recognised lockdown, hotspot or period of restricted movement in your area.

You must meet all eligibility rules to get the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. You can get it even if you’re eligible on only one day of the relevant event dates.

To get the payment, you need to meet the general eligibility rules and any rules for the COVID-19 health order that affected you.

If you’re a member of a couple, you can both claim this payment. You and your partner will need to make separate claims.

First and second period
You’ll get the following amount for the first and second period of a restricted movement order.
  • If you lost less than 20 hours work per week, you’ll get $325 for each relevant period, if you're eligible.
  • If you lost 20 hours or more of work per week, you’ll get $500 for each relevant period, if you're eligible.
Third period and beyond
You’ll get the following amount for the third and later periods of a restricted movement order from:

15 July 2021 for people in parts of Sydney
18 July 2021 for people in Greater Sydney.

If you’re eligible, you’ll get $375 for each relevant period if you lost either:
  • between 8 and less than 20 hours of work per week
  • a full day of your usual work hours per week.
If you lost 20 hours or more of work per week, you’ll get $600 for each relevant period, if you’re eligible.

A full day of your usual work is what you were scheduled to work but could not because of a restricted movement order. This includes not being able to attend a full time, part time or casual shift of less than 8 hours.

You can check the key eligibility dates for who can get it.

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a taxable payment. This means you’ll need to include it in your income tax return.

If you are claiming for a period starting 11 July 2021 onwards, you don’t need to meet any liquid assets rules.

You’ll need to submit separate claims for each of the first 3 periods of lockdown or restricted movement.

When you claim from the third period starting 18 July 2021, they’ll ask you if they can make automatic payments for future periods. If you agree to this, you’ll get a payment each time a new period becomes available without having to make another claim.

Australian residents need to claim online.
To claim online you need a myGov account linked to a Centrelink online account. If you don’t have a myGov account, you can create one.

If your myGov account isn’t linked to Centrelink, you can prove who you are through myGov to link to Centrelink.

Lifeline for performing arts and live music

July 14, 2021: NSW Government
Not-for-profit and commercial performing arts organisations, as well as live music venues can now apply for funding to keep the lights on and staff and performers in jobs thanks to the NSW Government’s $75 million stimulus package. 

The funding forms part of the up to $5.1 billion package announced yesterday to keep businesses in business and people in jobs during the greater Sydney lockdown.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said the funding will provide an immediate cash injection and future certainty for those organisations reliant on box office sales. 

“The NSW Government is providing a remarkable shot in the arm to the performing arts and live music sector. We understand the critical role the performing arts and live music sectors play in stimulating the economy and creating jobs,” Mr Harwin said.

“As we work our way through the latest outbreak in NSW we want to ensure these organisations can survive the lockdown, and are ready to thrive once it is safe for restrictions to be lifted.”    

President of Live Performance Australia Richard Evans welcomed the NSW Government’s package saying it would provide a much-needed financial boost at a time when the sector needed it the most.        

“Today’s announcement is incredibly welcome and timely news. Across the State, sold out performances have had to be cancelled, this funding will allow organisations to continue paying staff and performers, and plan ahead for the coming months,” Mr Evans said.    

The latest $75 million support package is in addition to the $50 million Rescue and Restart funding announced in 2020.     

Funding will be available to NSW commercial and not-for-profit performing arts organisations, as well as live music venues impacted by the cancellation of shows.    

For information on how to apply visit Create NSW.

NSW Government assistance for renters and landlords

July 14, 2021: NSW Government
The NSW Government has announced new support for renters and landlords impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown, including up to $210 million in grants to eligible landlords.

Residential tenants will have greater protection with a targeted eviction moratorium, which will be implemented through legislative changes.  

Residential landlords who decrease rent for impacted tenants can apply for a grant of up to $1,500 or land tax reductions depending on their circumstances. The land tax relief will be equal to the value of rent reductions provided by landlords to financially distressed tenants, up to 100 per cent of the 2021 land tax year liability.

Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said the short-term tenancy and landlords support package will provide renters and landlords with immediate assistance during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We know a lot of people are currently experiencing hardship and the NSW Government is here to stand with renters and landlords while we work together to get through the latest COVID-19 outbreak,” Mr Anderson said.

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of our communities and this package will provide support for both tenants and landlords, ensuring renters continue to have a roof over their heads while maintaining rental incomes for landlords.

“We are putting in place measures to prevent tenants financially impacted by COVID-19 restrictions from being evicted, creating stability while the State and Federal support measures roll out.”

Mr Anderson said the new package will, for the first time, provide a rental subsidy grant of up to $1,500 for landlords who offer rent reductions to COVID-19 impacted tenants.

“We have always urged renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19 to negotiate and now, thanks to the NSW Government, we expect these negotiations will be easier with landlords to be reimbursed up to $1,500 per tenancy when they reduce a tenant’s rent,” Mr Anderson said.

“These measures hinge on landlords and tenants working together through this challenging period and we encourage both parties to enter negotiations in good faith.

“The impacts of this virus are widespread and this assistance package from the NSW Government will create an extra layer of certainty and give people one less thing to worry about.”

The rental assistance package is just one part of the NSW Government’s commitment to supporting our communities through COVID-19.

Related information

COVID-19 Mental Health Boost for New South Wales

July 13, 2021: The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
The Australian Government is providing an additional $12.25 million to ensure the people of NSW, particularly those in Greater Sydney, can access urgent mental health support during this difficult time.

This funding complements the $5.15 million to be provided by the NSW Government to boost mental health services that was also announced today. Taken together this package will boost existing crisis and mental health services and provide additional support to young Australians, those currently in isolation and to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

Many of us have experienced the challenges of isolation, fear for loved ones, and the uncertainty the COVID-19 brings to all aspects of our lives. The pandemic continues to take a significant mental health toll on Australians, with increased stress, anxiety and depression in our communities.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt MP, said while we are fighting the spread of the virus in New South Wales, we also need to ensure we’re guarding against the devastating mental health impacts the virus can bring.

“This additional mental health investment is crucial to ensuring that those in NSW can access additional support if they need it and that our services can meet increased demand and provide targeted support to those most in need,” Minister Hunt said.

This funding includes:
  • $3.5 million to headspace for additional youth support, with a particular focus on support for Year 11 and 12 students, with funding to be matched by the NSW Government.
  • $1.5 million to Lifeline to boost crisis counselling and increase community engagement.
  • $1.5 million to Sonder to enhance mental health support for those in mandatory isolation, with funding to be matched by the NSW Government.
  • $4 million to Primary Health Networks (PHNs): $2 million to boost commissioned mental health services, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and $2 million to provide targeted support and to work with CALD communities and leaders in impacted areas.
  • $500,000 for a communications campaign to increase awareness of available mental health services and support, aimed at CALD communities.
  • $500,000 to Beyond Blue for services and to increase community engagement with NSW residents.
  • $300,000 to Kids Helpline to extend online wellbeing sessions into secondary schools.
  • $300,000 to the Butterfly Foundation to provide additional support for young people with, or at risk of, an eating disorder and their carers.
  • $150,000 to the Gidget Foundation to boost services for parents suffering from perinatal depression and anxiety.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman MP, said this funding for NSW aligns with a similar investment for the people of Victoria made by the Government in 2020.

This emergency support package follows a record $2.3 billion mental health package announced in the 2021-22 Budget. The Government has invested a record $6.5 billion in mental health and suicide prevention services and supports in 2021-22, doubling since 2012-13. 

We are also ensuring emergency relief providers in NSW have the resources to support Australians navigating the pandemic through the $200 million Community Support Package.

This includes providing food parcels or vouchers, transport or chemist vouchers, and assistance with bills. More information on the program can be found on the Department of Social Services website at www.dss.gov.au (NB: You can view all organisations delivering Emergency Relief services by clicking on the Emergency Relief organisations, which pre-fills the search criteria.)

Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service anytime via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.

If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available  at 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.