21 December, 2020
With the Northern Beaches at the centre of this COVID-19 outbreak and the rest of the Warringah electorate on high alert along with the Greater Sydney region, the days leading up to Christmas are leaving us all feeling uncertain.
Everyone had an expectation of what this week would be like and it’s difficult to put our plans on hold as we wait for announcements.
Despite how unfortunate our current situation is and how disappointed we may be feeling, we have many things in our favour – we have been through this before, so we know what to do; we have the guidance of excellent health professionals; we have an experienced team working tirelessly to contact trace cases; our community is pulling together to support each other; and as a whole we are following the public health orders that will stop the spread.
Read below for important information :
1. Current Restrictions
2. Testing Clinics
3. Sites where positive cases have visited
4. Pandemic Leave
5. Support for Local Businesses
6. Looking after ourselves and those around us
CURRENT RESTRICTIONS (current at 23.12.2020):
In the federal electorate of Warringah, there are two sets of restrictions that apply depending on which side of the Spit Bridge you live on.
1. Residents within the Local Government Area of the Northern Beaches (ie on the northern side of the Spit Bridge)
Restrictions for Northern Beaches from 5:02pm, Saturday 19 December to Wednesday 23 December 2020 require you to stay at home. You must not be away from your place of residence or your temporary accommodation in the Northern Beaches unless you have a reasonable excuse, which includes:
• shopping for food or other goods and services
• medical care or compassionate needs
• work or education, where you cannot work or learn from home.
The stay at home order affects people who were residents of the Northern Beaches at any time between Thursday 10 December 2020 at 12.01am and Saturday 19 December 2020 at 5.02pm. If you were at your place of residence or temporary accommodation in the Northern Beaches Local Government Area during this period of time you must comply with the same ‘stay at home’ restrictions applying to all Northern Beaches residents, irrespective of your current location.
For more information CLICK HERE
2. Residents within the Local Government Areas of Mosman and North Sydney (ie on the southern side of the Spit Bridge in Mosman, Cremorne and Neutral Bay)
Restrictions for these residents are that of the restrictions for Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong from Monday 21 December 2020, including:
• The number of visitors allowed in a place of residence will be limited to 10 people. The total number of visitors includes adults and children until midnight on Wednesday 23 December 2020.
• A maximum of 10 people are permitted in holiday homes and short-term rentals unless everyone is from the same household until midnight on Wednesday 23 December 2020.
For premises already been rented out to more than 10 people before Monday 21 December, the people can continue to stay there.
• Existing capacity requirements of 1 person per 2 square metres will be tightened to 1 person per 4 square metres in indoor areas.
• A maximum of 300 people, subject to the 1 person per 4 square metres rule which applies for each separate area of hospitality venues and places of public worship.
• Religious services held indoors are limited to a maximum of 300 people, subject to the 1 person per 4 square metres rule.
• Singing in indoor venues is restricted, returning to a maximum of 5 performers indoors, provided they are 1.5 metres from one another and
performers are at a distance of least 5 metres from the audience, who are not allowed to sing along.
• Dance floors will not be permitted, except for weddings, where a maximum of 20 people from the bridal party will be permitted.
To keep updated on restrictions as they change, please CLICK HERE
Many of you have emailed me about long waiting lines for testing. While this is frustrating, we very much appreciate your patience and perseverance. I commend the tens of thousands of people who have been tested over the past few days.
On the weekend, I spoke to the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. I’d like to thank him for his concern for the people of Warringah and the Northern Beaches in general. I raised with Minister Hunt that we need:
• More testing locations to reduce wait times and reduce numbers in crowds.
• More medical staff to relieve testing crews.
• Better messaging when people are waiting in line about expected wait times
• Logistical provisions for testing queues - toilets, water, sunscreen/wet weather protection
• Priority arrangements for those that have visited targeted venues or had close contact with positive cases
• I proposed a number of additional testing locations that could be operated by GPs or private operators, which the Federal Government has jurisdiction over.
• I also suggested it would be good to have an app or a website that lists the testing centres and gives a real time indication of open times and wait times, just like we have with public transport indicators of how full a bus is
Additional testing locations have been opened, so please don’t be dissuaded from getting tested. Locations can be found by CLICKING HERE or for Northern Beaches clinics please CLICK HERE.
If you have any further feedback for me on the testing clinics, please email me at email@example.com
I am regularly posting information about wait times at testing clinics on my social media feeds, please see @zalisteggall on Instagram and follow @ZaliSteggallMP on Facebook.
SITES WHERE POSITIVE CASES HAVE VISITED
The current situation is changing rapidly, so it is vitally important that you keep up to date with the latest information. In particular, you need to know the locations where people who are COVID-19 positive have visited. If you have been to a business or venue where positive cases have been identified you may need to self-isolate and be tested depending on when you were there.
There are many venues in the Warringah electorate that would require you to do this. For the latest list of venues and key dates/times, please CLICK HERE.
You may be eligible for a Pandemic Leave Disaster lump sum payment of $1500 if you are required to isolate for 14 days as directed by NSW Health, or are required to care for someone who has COVID-19 and as a result are unable to earn an income.
For further information, please CLICK HERE.
SUPPORT FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES
So many local businesses were just getting back on their feet and looking forward to the increased trade that the Christmas period brings. Many businesses are not operating in the way they expected to at this time. After such a turbulent year, the current closures are going to hit people hard not only by the loss of anticipated income but also mentally and emotionally.
I have written to the Treasurer to ask for greater support and relief for businesses in declared hotspots such as the Northern Beaches.
There are, however, ways that our community can help local businesses and the people they employ. We can:
• buy gift vouchers
• have goods delivered to our home
• order online
• postpone bookings and take advantage of credits rather than cancel or ask for refunds.
LOOKING AFTER OURSELVES AND THOSE AROUND US:
Finally, thank you to everyone for being so calm, reasonable and practical, for following the public health orders and for getting tested. We are stronger when we stick together, so please reach out to your neighbours, family and friends to check on how they are going.
If you need mental health support, it is available, so please CLICK HERE.
This is heartbreaking for families who have been looking forward to seeing each other. Plans to travel outside the Northern Beaches have had to be cancelled and family members planning to visit here have had to stay away.
During the week, I posted on Facebook a beautiful sentiment (posted by Tom Longhurst on Manly Living) and if you didn’t see it, I would like to share it with you: