As you would be aware, an increase of restrictions has been reintroduced into the Greater Sydney region, effective Monday 21 December, 2020.
NSW Health, in their December 21 media release, defined 'Greater Sydney' as:
“comprises the following local government areas: Bayside, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Central Coast, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, The Hills Shire, Waverley, Willoughby, Wollondilly, Wollongong and Woollahra”
The new health order can be found HERE
Whilst there are changing rules around the number of people able to gather in a private setting, etc, this update will focus only on changes relevant to our sector. These are found under Division 10 of this Public Health Order:
- For the Greater Sydney area only (see above definition) 1 person per 4 sqm, or 300 people, whichever is less, per separate area.
- The requirement for a COVID-19 Safety Hygiene Marshall if there are more than 250 people per premises or separate area (if you have more than one area).
Whilst there was nothing in the Order that referred to singing, the change to a maximum of 5 singing indoors is found in the Places of Worship Safety Plan. These rules specify:
- No more than 5 singers indoors, applying to the whole of NSW.
- There is no recommended cap for singers outdoors, providing other conditions are met. Please see the COVID Safety Plan for Places of worship.
I make the following observations:
- These changes to density rules apply ONLY to those members who are within the Greater Sydney region.
- Whilst the Premier did not indicate a time frame for the easing of these new restrictions, it would appear that there is a political desire to ease these new rules once this current outbreak is contained. Certainly, the case numbers from yesterday and today give cause for optimism.
These new rules, as they stand, should NOT affect the majority of school camps planned for Term 1. I again refer to the correspondence I received from NSW Health on November 25th (when a state-wide 4 sqm rule was still in effect) that in part read: "If the students participating in a school camp offered at the camp centre, caravan park or camping ground are from the same usual cohort group at school (e.g. class, year group or stage), they do not need to comply with the 4 square metre rule. If the group includes students from different cohort groups or schools, then there should be sufficient space to ensure one person per 4 square metres of space."
- My intention is to wait until the Premier’s press conference on Wednesday December 23rd and, if there is no indication of a timeframe for easing of the 4sqm rule for Greater Sydney, to then request an exception to this rule for children aged 15 years and under. This should accommodate the majority of holiday camp attendees, and is more likely to receive a more positive consideration than requesting all school-aged children be exempted.
- I would strongly urge all members to ensure that their record keeping is accurate and that all staff and guest details are recorded appropriately.
Be assured that I will be monitoring the situation throughout this Christmas period and will provide written direction if the situation requires it.
We are in this together!