Advice for residents of Sydney's Northern Beaches

Restrictions are in place for residents of Sydney's Northern Beaches.

For the latest information on these restrictions, including what you can and can't do, please visit the NSW Government website

Advice for residents of Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Wollongong

Restrictions are in place for residents of Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Wollongong.

For the latest information on these restrictions, including what you can and can't do, please visit the NSW Government website

Important things to consider while away from home

When travelling in other states and territories you are required to follow the advice and restrictions of the state and territory you are in. More information on state and territory COVID-19 updates can be found on NSW Government – Border restrictions.

Dependent on the current situation, changes to state and territory borders may occur suddenly. This can have an impact on residents returning to NSW. See more information on current restrictions.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 do not travel, this includes NSW residents and people travelling from interstate.

Further advice on how to have a COVID safe festive season is also available.

There’s no denying 2020 has been a challenging year. While Christmas and other festivities will look a little different this year, it doesn’t mean you can’t be creative in how you celebrate the final month of the year.

After all, this year is all about coming together when we’ve had to be physically apart.

Frequently asked questions

How can I stay COVID safe this festive season?

  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if mild, cancel or delay your plans and get tested immediately. Self-isolate until you receive a negative test result. It’s the best way to protect those you care about this festive season.
  • Stay 1.5 metres apart from people you don’t live with.
  • Wash your hands regularly. Take hand sanitiser with you if heading out.
  • Wear a face mask on public transport and if you can’t physically distance, such as when shopping or in crowds.
  • Avoid sharing food and utensils with people you don’t live with.
  • Celebrate outdoors, where possible.
  • If you must celebrate indoors, choose large, well-ventilated areas and open windows and doors if you can. Try to have smaller, shorter gatherings if indoors. There are new restrictions in place for numbers of visitors allowed for a gathering in your home. 
  • Most testing clinics in NSW will be open during the festive season, so if you feel unwell, don’t delay a COVID-19 test. Please see this website for details on available COVID-19 clinics.
  • For the latest information visit the NSW Government website.

How can I be COVID safe at celebrations with colleagues, friends or family at a venue?

Hospitality venues and function centres must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan to help protect their customers and staff from COVID-19. Please follow the rules of the venue you are attending.

Book ahead and ask the venue what COVID safe measures they have in place. Try to book a venue that can host your group outdoors. If you aren’t comfortable with their measures, choose a different venue.

Always stay 1.5 metres apart from people you don’t live with. If you are concerned that the venue is busy or noisy, you could consider returning at an off-peak time to celebrate. When we are in noisy or busy places, we are more likely to raise our voices or shout and this can pose a comparable COVID-19 transmission risk as coughing.

It’s important everybody in your group, including children, checks in  for example by using a QR code.

  • When you see a QR code, scan it with your phone and encourage people you are with to do the same.
  • NSW Health contact tracers will then be able to contact you quickly and easily about potential exposure to COVID-19, if needed.
  • Download the Service NSW app before you arrive to make contactless check-in easy at any venues or events using the Service NSW QR code check-in.

And remember, if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, get tested immediately and stay home. Keep your friends, family and colleagues safe, and don’t go to your end of year celebration.

How can I be COVID safe if I am celebrating with friends or family at home?

If you’re hosting friends or extended family at your house, there are several things you can do to stay COVID safe:

  • Limit your visitors:
    • In Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains), Wollongong and Central Coast, up to 10 visitors are allowed to visit a household at any one time. 
    • In NSW (apart from Greater Sydney, Wollongong and Central Coast) up to 50 visitors may visit a household at any one time, however NSW Health strongly recommends no more than 30 visitors at a time if the residence has no outdoor space. 
    • The total number of visitors includes adults and children (a member of the household is not counted as a visitor). 
    • If there are more than the allowable number of visitors at a home, every person will be held individually responsible for a breach of the Public Health Order.
  • Host your gathering outdoors.
  • If hosting your gathering indoors, choose a large, well ventilated room. Open doors and windows if possible
  • Ask your guests to stay home if they feel unwell and to get tested. If you are unwell, don’t have visitors and get tested immediately.
  • Limit the length of time spent with those you don’t live with. Keep gatherings smaller and shorter than usual. Plan for one or two hours instead of a half day or full day gathering. Limit your family gathering sizes or split them into different gatherings.
  • If you don’t have enough space to be COVID safe at home, consider gathering at an outdoor public place such as a park.
  • Keep 1.5 metres apart from people you don’t live with.
  • Wash hands regularly and place hand sanitiser on the table for your guests.
  • Don’t use shared plates or communal utensils (such as salt and pepper) and avoid buffet style meals.
  • Wear a face mask if unable to physically distance. Even if you’re wearing a face mask, it’s really important to keep your distance from others, unless you live together.

Is it safe to visit my family member in a residential care facility over the festive season?

  • All residential aged care facilities must maintain vigilance to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 as the elderly are most at risk of COVID-19 infection. 
  • Until at least 11.59pm on Wednesday 30 December 2020 all residential aged care facilities in the Northern Beaches LGA must exclude visitors, except those performing essential caring functions.
  • Until at least 11:59pm on Wednesday 30 December 2020 up to two visitors per day are permitted to visit residents in residential aged care facilities in Greater Sydney (including local Government areas of Central Coast and Wollongong). Visitors from the Northern Beaches LGA are excluded.
  • Until at least 11:59pm on Wednesday 30 December 2020 up to two visitors per day from Greater Sydney excluding Northern Beaches LGA are permitted to visit residents in residential aged care facilities in regional NSW. There are no restrictions on people from regional NSW visiting residents in regional facilities.
  • Facilities should reconsider the ways for residents and family to meet up during the festive season. Refer to the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19 for alternative ways of communicating between residents and their families.
  • • In Greater Sydney residents should not leave the facility to attend family gatherings and group excursions unless the visit is essential (such as a medical appointment). If a resident makes a decision to leave the facility to attend a family gathering or excursion, it is appropriate from a risk perspective for the facility to advise a resident that they may be required to go into 14-days self-isolation upon return
    • Outside Greater Sydney residents are able to leave the facility to attend family gatherings or group excursions outside Greater Sydney, if there will be no persons at the event that during the last 14 days have been:
    • a close contact of a person confirmed with COVID-19 and are within their self-isolation period
    • in any of the locations listed on the self-isolate and get tested immediately page, at the times and dates listed
    • in any of the locations listed on the monitor for symptoms page, at the times and dates listed, except where noted otherwise
  • Visitors performing essential caring functions and for whom there are exceptional circumstances (exempt visitors) may be allowed to visit but must wear a mask, be escorted to and from the resident’s room by a staff member and remain within the room during the visit.
  • Essential caring functions include people visiting their loved ones who are receiving end-of-life care, or visiting a resident with a serious mental illness (including advanced dementia), where the resident requires a trusted carer to support and maintain social and emotional wellbeing.
  • Exempt visitors can also be allowed entry into the facility in exceptional circumstances on compassionate grounds (for example, imminent death of a loved one). Similar provisions exist for staff members if their exclusion will result in significant compromise to patient care. The facility is advised to contact their local Public Health Unit for advice as to how to appropriately manage these visits.
  • There are additional precautions for visitors as residents of residential aged and disability care facilities are more vulnerable to serious complications if they become infected with COVID-19. Do not visit if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or a fever (37.5 degrees Celsius or higher). Facilities will screen visitors before they enter to check if they have been in in locations identified by NSW Health where entry restrictions and additional precautions apply.
  • Make sure you record the date and time of your visit to the facility and contact details for all the people in your group.
  • Check the advice for residential aged care facilities for further details.

We usually do a big roast and/or have shared plates of seafood (e.g. prawns) on Christmas Day. Is it safe to share food this way?

Think about how you share food. Rather than having common platters, give each person an individual portion. Don’t use shared plates or communal utensils (such as salt and pepper) and avoid buffet style meals. Make sure you practice good hand hygiene and wash or sanitise your hands regularly.

What do I do if I feel unwell on Christmas Day or during the festive season? Are testing clinics open?

Most clinics in NSW will be open during the festive season, so if you feel unwell, don’t delay a COVID-19 test. Get tested immediately and stay home until you get a negative test result. If a clinic has different hours this will be clearly listed on the NSW Government website. We recommend you check the website on the day you need to get tested to ensure you have the most up-to-date clinic information. If there is no clinic open near you, attend your nearest public hospital. Don’t skip getting tested, even if you’re away from home.

Can I go to multiple households on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and/or Boxing Day?

Restrictions for the Christmas period 2020 are in place for the Northern Beaches LGA and for Greater Sydney. If you live or are staying in these areas, from 24 December to midnight on the 26 December, NSW health recommends that you only visit one household per day. 

In regional and rural NSW, there are no restrictions on the number of visits on these days, however NSW Health strongly recommends you limit your visits as much as possible as a precaution. If you or someone among your family or friends has COVID-19 and does not know they are sick, limiting visits and visitors means fewer people may be exposed.

How can I stay COVID safe while shopping for gifts this year?

Restrictions are currently in place for the Northern Beaches LGA. NSW Health is advising people in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains), Wollongong and the Central Coast to limit non-essential activities.

Consider ordering online or getting creative with your last minute present shopping this year. In NSW, if you’re unwell, please don’t go shopping. Stay home and get tested immediately.

If you are out gift shopping:

  • Keep 1.5 metres from other people
  • Wash your hands often and use hand sanitiser when out and about
  • Try to shop at off-peak times if you are concerned that the shopping centre is busy. Why not consider shopping locally, to support community businesses, or using “click and collect” where available. Consider online shopping as an alternative to physically going to the shops
  • If you can’t physically distance, it is strongly recommended you wear a face mask and minimise time spent inside shops.

What should I do if the shopping centre is too busy?

If you can’t physically distance, it is strongly recommended you wear a face mask and minimise time spent inside shops. If you are concerned that the shopping centre is busy, you could consider returning at an off-peak time, doing your gift shopping online or shopping locally at community businesses. More than ever, it’s a time to support local communities that have done it tough during 2020. Supporting your local community businesses and buying locally made products will go a long way.

How can my family and I safely view Christmas light displays this year?

  • If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and give viewing Christmas lights a miss this year (decorate the inside of your house). Get tested immediately
  • Keep it local by staying in your suburb rather than going to well-known streets with Christmas light displays that attract crowds
  • View Christmas lights from the pavement or from your own car. Don’t go to people’s front door or inside their yard
  • If you are walking on the street to view multiple houses with Christmas lights, stay in small household groups. Remember, i mGreater Sudmeu regional and rural NSW, no more than 100 people can gather outside in a public place including on the footpath
  • Stay 1.5 meters away from people you don’t live with
  • Carry hand sanitiser with you and use it often, especially after touching common surfaces.

Are there any rules on gathering to see Christmas lights? How many people can be on a footpath if viewing Christmas lights?

No more than 100 people can gather outside in a public place which includes footpaths, public parks, reserves, beaches, public gardens and spaces. Stay 1.5 metres apart from anyone you don’t live with.

Can my children have photos with Santa this year?

Santa photos are going to look a little different this year as we all need to keep 1.5 metres apart from people we don’t know, including Santa. Some organisations are being creative in how they take Santa photos this year, such as using props that are cleaned between guests or ensuring Santa is 1.5 metres away in the photo shoot.

You should ask the organisation or photographer how they plan to keep everyone, including your family, COVID safe. A safer and memorable option this year could involve someone in your household, such as mum, dad or a grandparent, dressing as Santa and taking photos that way.

How many people can attend religious gatherings?

In Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains), Wollongong and the Central Coast places of public worship are limited to the lesser of 300 persons or 1 person per 4 square metres.

Elsewhere in NSW, there is no limit on the number of people who can attend a religious service as long as the 1 person per 2 square metre rule is followed.

How many people can I sing carols with?

Singing indoors

In Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Wollongong and the Central Coast), five people can sing indoors provided that they are 1.5 metres from one another. If singing to other people, the five performers should be at least 5 metres from the audience, who are not permitted to sing along. Elsewhere, up to 50 people can sing indoors.

There is a stay-at-home order in place in the Norther Beaches LGA.

Singing outdoors

There is no limit to the number of singers who can perform outdoors. All singers should face forwards and not towards each other, have physical distancing of 1.5 metres between each other and any other performers, and be 5 metres from all other people including the audience and conductor. If outdoors, the audience or congregation may also sing but NSW Health strongly recommends that anyone 12 years or older should wear a face mask if singing or chanting.

Can I host a New Year’s Eve gathering at my house?

Further announcements on restrictions will be made on 26 December.

For more information visit the NSW Government website.

What do I do if I feel unwell on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day? Are testing clinics open?

Most clinics in NSW will be open during the New Year period, so if you feel unwell, don’t delay a COVID-19 test. Get tested immediately and stay home until you get a negative test result. If a clinic has different hours this will be clearly listed on the NSW Government website. We recommend you check the website on the day you need to get tested to ensure you have the most up-to-date clinic information. If there is no clinic open near you, attend your nearest public hospital. Don’t skip getting tested, even if you’re away from home.

What if it is very hot during the festive season? What should I do?

Please see advice for heat and COVID-19.

What should I do if I am holidaying away from home?

Visit guidance for holiday makers for more information.


Current as at: Thursday 24 December 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW