Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains and Central Coast, came under new health orders at midnight today as the number of Covid cases increased to 30 for the day. While a range of changes to NSW liquor laws to support nightlife and encourage a vibrant and safe 24-hour economy began their rollout from 11 December 2020, it is reasonable to expect that these changes will only be cautiously adopted by venues in the Sydney and Greater Sydney regions given the latest outbreak.
Initial changes are intended to encourage live music and entertainment, arts and cultural events, support small bars and make licensee obligations clearer.
However, as of today dance floors are now closed down (except at weddings), the four-square-metre rule – that had just recently been relaxed to two metres – has been reinstated at venues throughout Greater Sydney and singing and chanting will also be limited to five people.
Looking ahead, from 1 January 2021, a new incentives and demerit point system commences which:
- replaces the Minors Sanctions, Violent Venues and Three Strikes schemes
- aims to incentivise well-run venues, minimise violence and reduce serious liquor law breaches offers ongoing annual liquor licence fee discounts for licensed venues that maintain a clear record (after three and five years).
Drinks Trade will report more on this in the new year.
These current orders remain in place until (at least) the end of the lockdown period at midnight on Wednesday. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said today that a decision on Christmas gatherings will be made at her daily press conference on Wednesday, 23 December.
Western Australia has reinstated its hard border with New South Wales as has Queensland. South Australia will not allow people from the Northern Beaches to cross the border. Victoria has closed its border to people from Greater Sydney, Central Coast and the. Blue Mountains and people travelling interstate to the ACT and Victoria are required to quarantine for two weeks.
On Sunday, northern beaches residents were put in lockdown until midnight on Wednesday and no-one can enter the region without a lawful excuse.