Firstly, I trust and pray that all who read this had time to reflect and relax during this Christmas and New Year time.
Certainly, a new year with new cases daily and increasing restrictions, was not part of anyone’s Christmas list!
The good news is that, apart from our members located in the upper Northern Beaches, the new rules, primarily around mask wearing, do not inhibit our ability to offer camps. Additionally, for those outside the “Greater Sydney” area, no new restrictions have been applied by the NSW government.
An analogy, using last year’s bush fires, seems reasonable. I would suggest that NSW is currently dealing with several “spot” fires, and that with continued vigilance, these can be contained and not become a large wildfire. Certainly, NSW history in this pandemic suggests that the capability exists to contain these current outbreaks.
Continued prayer will also assist dramatically.
To summarise these new rules,
These rules are governed by a new health order, namely the “Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order 2021. A copy of this order can be found HERE.
The key points of this Health Order are as follows:
a. It applies ONLY to the “Greater Sydney” area, which currently includes the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong local government areas.
b. It pertains only to certain indoor settings and activities.
c. Settings where it applies include:
- Certain hospitality venues (see Section 3, Definitions)
- Indoor areas
- Places of Worship
d. Those aged 12 and under do not need to wear masks in any setting.
e. This Mandatory Face Coverings Health Order is listed as being in force until April 2, 2021.
Changes to Contact Tracing requirements
In addition to the new mask wearing requirements, the NSW Government issued a new Movement and Gatherings Order, also effective January 3rd. A key takeout of this, is a change to the requirement for every person to use the Service NSW QR code in certain circumstances. This is highlighted in Section 36(3)(a), which reads:
A person is to provide the person’s contact details as follows:
(a) for a person entering premises to attend a significant event at a place of public worship or entering premises for a religious service -
(i) directly to the occupier of the premises, or
(ii) by electronically registering the person’s contact details with Service NSW by means of a mobile phone or other device at the time the person enters the premises
Note: For example, electronically registering a person’s contact details may be by the use of a QR code or another electronic method that records the person’s name, telephone number or email address and the time at which the person entered the premises.
This would suggest that the NSW government has acknowledged the challenges of recording, via QR codes, large groups that arrive at once and have thus allowed for alternate options for recording to be used. It would not seem unreasonable for this logic to be extended to camp settings.
There is no reason not to continue to use the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds COVID Safety plan. I note a new plan was issued, effective January 3rd, 2021 and all members should modify their plans to reflect this latest update.
Whilst it could be argued that, whilst operating under the above plan, face masks are not required, it would seem prudent for staff to wear face masks, particularly whilst providing food service.
It would appear that as well as a belief that face coverings will assist with reducing community transmission, the NSW Government has adopted this policy to increase community confidence, and therefore encourage people to again re-engage in their communities. The new rules state that all staff in hospitality venues should wear face masks. Whilst our camps do not strictly fall within the definition of a hospitality venue, it is likely that many of our guests would not see the distinction.
At this stage, with the school term not due to start for another 4 weeks, there is no reason to be concerned about schools needing to cancel bookings. Please advise the office if you have enquiries from schools wishing to cancel, as we will look at any reasons behind these cancellations.