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Northern beaches restrictions snap back

The stay-at-home order imposed on residents of Sydney’s northern beaches has been reinstated after the conclusion of Christmas festivities.

More people will also have to isolate, with new alerts issued for venues in North Sydney, the city’s inner west, Centennial Park, northern beaches and some public transport services.

NSW recorded nine new locally-acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, from almost 40,000 tests. Eight of them were connected to the 116-strong northern beaches cluster.

After a three-day reprieve for small indoor Christmas gatherings, the northern beaches has from Sunday returned to restrictions barring indoor gatherings.

But outdoor get-togethers of up to five people on the northern end of the peninsular are permissible, as well as outdoor gatherings of up to 10 on the southern end.

People may neither enter nor exit the local government area.

For the rest of Sydney as well as Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains, 10-person private gathering restrictions again apply.

NSW Health published a new list of COVID-19 alerts for venues and public transport routes on Saturday evening.

A number of venues in Sydney’s inner west are on the list, including a Thai restaurant and post office in Balmain, a Rozelle cafe and a Greek restaurant in Drummoyne.

Some patrons of North Sydney’s Cibo Cafe are now considered close contacts and will have to isolate for 14 days.

A playground at Centennial Park and a number of northern beaches venues also have alerts. So do two journeys on December 17 on the B1-1 bus route between Mona Vale and Wynyard.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said rules for New Year’s Eve would be announced on December 30.

“We know today the strategy we have in place is working and I want to really thank everybody for trying so hard and working so hard during what is often a time when we are all coming together,” she said on Saturday.

“The reason we’re doing (restrictions) at the moment in three-day bite-sized chunks is to make sure we have the best advice available.”

But Ms Berejiklian warned Sydneysiders would be watching New Year’s Eve fireworks from home this year, rather than the harbour foreshore.

Many Sydneysiders were also forced to make do with smaller Christmas celebrations in 2020 because of restrictions on family gatherings.

But police were on Christmas afternoon called to help break up a large crowd at a park at east subrban Bronte.

“It is absolutely appalling to see what was clearly a group of people, a large gathering of people, who didn’t give a damn about the rest of Sydney,” NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters.

“That event, I am hoping, will not become a super-spreader event.”

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