Rabu, 30 Desember 2020

Sydney New Year's Eve revellers can expect large police presence, doorknocking of homes to enforce COVID-19 rules - ABC News

NSW Police have warned New Year's Eve revellers they should prepare to see large numbers of police out tonight and officers won't hesitate to doorknock people's homes to check they are abiding by health rules.

New Year's Eve (NYE) in the Harbour City tonight will look so different to every other year it will be almost unrecognisable.

The midnight fireworks (albeit only a 7-minute display this year) will be one of the only signs of the milestone occasion.

Harbourside locations are fenced off, popular parks are closed and a strict permit system in place for anyone who sets foot in the CBD.

Empty street in front of Harbour Bridge
Circular Quay would normally be shoulder to shoulder with revellers, jostling for prime position to see the fireworks.(ABC News: Timothy Swanston)

The strict measures are in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in Sydney after a new cluster emerged in the inner west.

No more than five visitors are allowed in all households across Greater Sydney (including the northern beaches), Wollongong and the Central Coast until further notice.

Groups of no more than 30 can gather outside in these areas but rules differ on the northern beaches where only 10 can gather outside in the south zone and only five in the north zone.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said police were ready for their busiest night of the year, made all the more challenging in a pandemic.

"You are going to see large numbers of uniformed police officers out and about, we'll be checking licensed premises, we'll be doorknocking when necessary, we'll be out and patrolling public areas to ensure people abide by the current health orders," he said.

"We'll have the flexibility to move the resources around in different areas across the metropolitan area to deal with anything that arises."

Police in uniform gather
Hundreds of NSW police arrive for a briefing ahead of NYE.(ABC News: Timothy Swanston)

However, the Assistant Commissioner has pleaded with Sydneysiders to play their part in making it a safe night.

"I have to re-enforce and re-emphasise, we're asking people to take some individual responsibility here as well. Understand the health orders as they apply to you and restrict your movements around Sydney.

"You do not want to be responsible for spreading this disease."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says no one should be coming into the CBD unprepared.

"Make sure if you are going to a hospitality venue this evening you have already downloaded the Service New South Wales app," she said.

"And if you're a business [make sure you have] QR codes in place to allow your patrons to come in and out safely so we know exactly where everybody has been."

The Premier said it is in the community's best interests that 2021 doesn't kick off with an influx of COVID-19 cases due to poor behaviour on NYE.

"Please, the last thing we want is to welcome in 2021 with a super-spreading event.

"We are all hoping [2021] will be easier than 2020 and let's start off the year on a positive foot, by respecting the restrictions that are in place, but also demonstrating common sense because good Government policy and restrictions doesn't cover every situation and every single venue and every single circumstance."

Fencing around a park with a sign that says the location will be closed on December 31 at 5pm.
Fencing around Rushcutters Park in Sydney's east to keep crowds out for New Year's Eve.(ABC News: Timothy Swanston)

Commissioner Willing said police were worried people would flout the rules by holding large gatherings so officers were prepared to mobilise.

"We're hoping that people apply some common sense and abide by the health orders, but we'll have a lot of resources out there," he said.

"At the end of the day, if we receive any information that we feel we need to act on, we'll be doing that."

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2020-12-31 05:14:00Z

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