All of regional NSW will be put into lockdown from 5pm today.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro made the announcement via Twitter just before 2.30pm on Saturday, after reports surfaced from back-benchers.
Mr Barilaro told the ABC it was "appropriate" and needed after more cases arose in places like Dubbo.
"We always said if this measure was needed, we would act quickly, and that's why on that advice at lunchtime today, we made the decision to go to a statewide lockdown," he said.
Reasonable excuses to leave your home include shopping for essentials, medical care, caregiving, outdoor exercise with a member of your household or one other person, and work, if you cannot work from home.— John Barilaro MP (@JohnBarilaroMP) August 14, 2021
Schooling will be conducted from home. https://t.co/Hp28Nqerni
"We are closing schools.
"If you have to go to work, and you can't work from home, there's no distance (restriction) on travel ... supermarkets, goods and services remain open.
"A lot of our small regional communities don't have an ICU unit ... this is to make sure we don't become overwhelmed.
"If we do the right thing, as we showed previously at Orange, we can get out of this in seven days."
Premier Gladys Berejiklian had warned it would be a "difficult September and October" and Mr Barilaro said road-maps were being drawn.
"One of the things we are now looking at is mapping lifting restrictions against vaccination rates," he said.
"Get vaccinated - it's the only way we can stop future lockdowns."
The new restrictions will be introduced for all of regional NSW, effective from 5pm tonight until 12.01am Sunday 22 August 2021.
Following updated health advice from NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, stay-at-home orders will apply to all people who live in regional NSW.
This means the whole of New South Wales will be under stay at home restrictions from 5pm today.
This new order will replace any existing orders in regional NSW.
Everyone must stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse to leave. They also cannot have visitors in their home from outside their household, including family and friends.
People still can have one visitor at one time to fulfill carers' responsibilities or provide care or assistance, or for compassionate reasons, including where two people are in a relationship but do not live together.
All hospitality venues must be closed to the public, including pubs, restaurants and cafes, except for takeaway.
Retail premises are required to close except for:
- supermarkets and grocery shops,
- shops that predominantly sell food or drinks eg butchers, bakeries, fruit shops and delicatessens, but does not include restaurants or cafes.
- chemists and pharmacies,
- shops that predominately sell office supplies, pet supplies, newspapers, magazines and stationery, alcohol, maternity and baby supplies, medical or pharmaceutical supplies
- food and drink premises, but only to sell takeaway
- cellar door premises, but only to sell takeaway
- hardware and building supplies
- landscaping material supplies
- rural supplies
- timber yards
- garden centres and plant nurseries,
- vehicle hire premises, not including the premises at which vehicles are sold,
- shops that predominately carry out mobile phone repairs.
- Service stations, banks, post offices, laundromats and drycleaners can remain open.
Anyone who leaves their home must carry a mask with them at all times. They must be worn when working outdoors, by all school staff, by all people in outdoor markets, outdoor shopping strips, and in an outdoor queues waiting for products such as coffee and food.
Every employer across NSW must require their employees to work from home unless it is not reasonably practicable.
There will be a one-day 'grace period' for planned weddings and funerals in the regional areas that have not already been subject to a lockdown.
Those events may go ahead until 12.01am on Monday 16 August 2021, but only with guests from areas that have not already been subject to a lockdown.
From Monday, small funerals and memorial services of 10 persons only (excluding the persons conducting the service) will be permitted.
The news was shared by NSW MPs on social media before Mr Barilaro's announcement.
Member for Murray Helen Dalton posted on Twitter that "the NSW Government will announce a 7-day statewide lockdown, commencing at 5pm today".
Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell has also shared reports, stating: "NSW statewide 7 day lockdown starting at 5pm today, 14th August 2021".
The NSW government did not flag the lockdown in the daily press conference, at which Premier Gladys Berejiklian called today "the most concerning day of the pandemic that we've seen in NSW" with 466 cases.
In response, Finley general practitioner Alam Yoosuff said:
"The most concerning day of the pandemic in NSW is not today!
"It WAS in mid July (not today) When we had all the measures in hand to get ahead of this"
More to come