Restrictions on the Greater Sydney region are clamping down from 5pm Friday evening, including the announcement that nobody is allowed to have visitors inside their homes whatsoever. But where do intimate partners fit in with the new restrictions?
As New South Wales records 44 new COVID cases – 29 of which were active in the community while infectious – Premier Gladys Berejiklian faced the media to tighten the lockdown restrictions. In the updated stay-at-home orders, it was stressed that people cannot leave the house unless it is absolutely necessary to do so.
However, intimate partners are still exempt from the rules, which is something of a silver lining.
“What we are doing is trying to strike a balance of compassion and common sense,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
“So if you have a partner who doesn’t live with you, obviously your intimate partner can attend with you.”
Among the announcement that only one person per household per day can leave to shop for essential items like groceries and pharmacy needs, Berejklian also said that the only people allowed in homes are those who normally reside there. The only exception is for people dropping off essential goods and services to people who need assistance, and even then only one person per day is allowed under that exemption.
“Nobody is allowed into your house, nobody, outside your household is allowed into your house,” Gladys Berejiklian said.
“The only exception is if you are receiving care by people, one person, dropping off essential goods or for health reasons or exceptional circumstances. But nobody should be coming into your home. Nobody out of your household.
“And household means whoever lives there normally and, of course, the health orders have exceptions to that.”
“But the basic message is there is no limit, there is no number now, that says you can have a certain number into your house.
“The number is nobody, apart from what is defined as your household, that can come into your house.”
At the time of writing, the most recent Public Health Order on temporary movement and gathering restrictions – which came into effect on June 26 – allowed intimate partners to visit each other under compassionate reasons, but only one person could visit their partner at any one time.
That intimate partner exemption will still apply for the new rules coming in from 5pm Friday, but the message from the Premier and NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant deeply stresses people in the Greater Sydney region must not mingle with anyone outside of their households, except for under exceptional circumstances.
“We are still getting questions through Service New South Wales about how many people you can have into your home,” Berejiklian said.
“The answer is zero. Unless you are providing essential care, as in dropping off goods or services to an isolated person, or someone who cannot fend for themselves or take care of themselves.
“It is zero.”
These heightened restrictions apply to the regions that were already subject to lockdown conditions, which covers Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, and Shellharbour. The current level of restrictions in place for regional NSW is remaining unchanged.