Stay home, stay safe — that's the message from Sydney, one of the world’s first major cities to welcome each New Year with a public countdown featuring a fireworks display over its well-known Opera House, to people.
The city has banned large gatherings that night amid an outbreak of the coronavirus. Because of swift border closures, lockdowns, widespread testing, social distancing and a high rate of public compliance with anti-virus measures, Australia has recorded just over 28,300 infections and 908 deaths related to the coronavirus.
A mid-December resurgence of Covid-19 in the city’s northern beach suburbs has grown to 125 cases after five new infections were recorded on Monday. About a quarter of million of people there must stay in strict lockdown until Jan 9.
That has led to further restrictions of the already toned-down plans for the New Year’s Eve. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian banned most people from coming to Sydney’s downtown that night and limited outdoor gatherings to 50 people.
“We don’t want to create any super-spreading events on New Year’s Eve, which then ruins it for everybody across the state moving forward,” Berejiklian said at a news conference, adding that watching the fireworks from home was the ‘safest’ way to do so.
“On New Year’s Eve, we don’t want any crowds on the foreshore around Sydney whatsoever,” she said.
Only residents with permits for hospitality venues downtown will be allowed there on New Year’s Eve. Households across Sydney are only allowed to host 10 people until further notice.
And that's the way it should be everywhere; we're all happy to be saying goodbye to 2020 but lets continue to practice distancing and take safety measures. And remember, there's always the option of watching the fireworks from home and ringing in 2021.