There’s been a bit of confusion around the Sydney’s lockdown rules – how far can you travel to exercise? who are you allowed to visit? – so we thought we’d take the opportunity to grab some answers from NSW Health directly.
First of all, let’s establish the details of the lockdown. It’s effecting Greater Sydney – including Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast – and is mandated to last until 11.59pm on Friday, 9 July.
Under the lockdown rules, you can only leave your home for four essential reasons:
- Shopping for food and other essential goods
- Medical care, compassionate needs, or to get a COVID-19 vaccine (provided you’re not subject to stay at home orders due to being a close contact)
- Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 people or fewer
- Essential work or education, if you cannot do so from home
So what about the rest of it? You asked, we found some answers – here you go!
How far can I travel to exercise?
Unlike Melbourne’s 5km rule, there’s no travel restrictions for exercising in Sydney. The key point is ‘in Sydney’ – you can’t travel beyond Greater Sydney, and if we’re being really safe, we would not recommend testing how far that stretches.
The rules are in place ‘within reason’, but the broader message is: don’t take the piss. We know that’s vague but that’s what we’ve got!
Can I drive to a bush walk for exercise?
Yep! But see above – don’t travel further (either via car or on foot) than greater Sydney.
Can I have visitors?
For the most part*, no. Prior to the lockdown, households were allowed up to five visitors (including children), which is where some of the confusion has come in.
However, having people come round without a reasonable excuse does not fall under the four essential reasons to leave the house, so that’s off the cards.
The five visitor rule now applies to regional NSW only.
*There’s a few exceptions. See below!
Can I see my boyfriend / girlfriend / non-binary partner?
You sure can. NSW Health has clarified that you can see your intimate partner, as long as you’re not leaving Greater Sydney. Sorry, but travelling to Dubbo to get laid is not a reasonable excuse, even without a lockdown. (For reasons of not pissing off the population of Dubbo, this is a joke.)
I live alone. Can I have someone round?
If it’s for mental health reasons, then yep! Providing medical care is one of the four reasons you can leave the house, and mental health comes under that. However – and it sucks we have to lay this out – this exemption is not to be abused.
Quite how NSW Police works out who’s actually providing mental health care and who’s taking the piss is unclear, but they can – and have been – issuing people with $1,000 fines after finding their ‘reasonable excuses’ didn’t cut the mustard.
A whopping 44 people were fined yesterday, including these two naked sunbathers… so when in doubt, go with the spirit of the law and not the letter, you know?
Can I have a picnic / sunbathe outside?
Apart from the rude fact that it’s meant to be pissing down for the rest of the week, the answer is, unfortunately, no. If you’re outside and in a park, it needs to be for exercise, and no one is going to buy it if you put on a sports bra to eat cheese on the grass. As soon as this is over, however, feel free to go to town on a creamy Brie in whatever lush spot of grass you choose to seat your bum on. Ahhhh, the dream.
I have another question. How do I get answers?
Ask us here! @pedestriantv