Changes to COVID resrictions for Greater Sydney - 21 Aug

21 August 2021

Yesterday the NSW Government announced that the current lockdown for Greater Sydney will be extended until the end of September.

It was also confirmed yesterday that the Central Coast and Shellharbour local government areas (LGAs) would be removed from the area defined as Greater Sydney. This means there are several changes for businesses operating in these two LGAs.

This member alert provides details of restrictions that now apply for Central Coast and Shellharbour businesses, along with details on the new requirement for travel permits to leave Greater Sydney.

Central Coast and Shellharbour now defined as regional NSW

What are the lockdown restrictions for NSW?

The current restrictions on leaving home, work and travelling around regional NSW now apply to the Central Coast and Shellharbour. More detailed were provided in HIA’s member alert yesterday about restrictions in regional NSW. In short, people that live or work within all of regional NSW are allowed to leave home for the four permitted ‘reasonable excuses’, being to:

  • work, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employee to work from home,
  • obtain essential goods, such as groceries and medication (limited to one person per household a day and must be obtained within your LGA or within 5km of your home),
  • exercise within 5km of your home, and with only one person who is not from your household, or
  • access child care, school or health care, including getting a COVID-19 vaccination or test, or to provide that care to a vulnerable person.

Any person leaving their home is required to carry a face mask at all times.

You must wear a face mask in:

  • all indoor and outdoor areas including a construction site where it is safe to do so.
  • an indoor area on common property in a residential premises for example lifts and foyers.

Most retail businesses must close, which does include display homes. All workers that can work from home should be working from home.

Manufacturing and warehousing facilities are permitted to continue operating and deliveries are also permitted to occur, subject to any border restrictions.

Restrictions on building work in regional NSW

Can building work continue in regional NSW?

Yes. All building activity is permitted to continue in regional NSW subject to ensuring all sites adopt COVID safety measures.

While no longer compulsory to have a COVID Safety Plan for site in the Central Coast and Shellharbour, HIA recommends that members continue to take appropriate steps to implement existing COVID safety measures on all building sites and ensure they are in place and being adopted by all workers attending the site.

HIA recommends that members use HIA’s Making space on site resources for both new homes and renovation sites as a guide to good COVID-19 practices on building sites and ensure all workers are aware of how to work in a COVID safe manner.

What are the rules for building work on occupied renovation sites in regional NSW?

Renovation work on occupied sites in regional NSW is permitted to continue and must continue to meet limits on the number of workers allowed on site and ensure COVID safety measures are followed.

For renovation work on occupied sites:

  • workers must remain separated from all residents when on-site,
  • a maximum of two workers are permitted at any given time in indoor areas, and
  • a maximum of five workers may be on-site at any given time in outdoor areas.

HIA Making space on site guideline for renovation and repair sites site sign is a useful guide that renovation builders may choose to use.

Members should work closely with the home owner to ensure that they are comfortable for the work to continue. HIA’s guide for new home buyers and renovators may help you to assure a home owner that work will be done safely.

Who can work on a construction site across NSW?

On the basis that building work cannot be undertaken from home, a person living in any part of regional NSW is permitted to leave home to carry out building work at both unoccupied and occupied residential building sites. This work must be undertaken in accordance with the rules that apply for each type of building work.

A person living in Greater Sydney but not from the ‘LGAs and suburbs of concern’ is permitted to work on site within 50km of Greater Sydney.

A person living in Greater Sydney not from the ‘LGAs and suburbs of concern’ is also permitted to travel to a building site more than 50km from Greater Sydney if they obtain a travel permit from ServiceNSW before they leave and they have been tested for COVID-19 within the 7 days before travelling and carry evidence of this.

A person living in the LGAs and suburbs of concern cannot travel outside Greater Sydney to carry out building work as this is not ‘authorised work’.

Travelling across regional NSW

Regional NSW residents are free to move between all regional NSW local government areas for work that cannot be done from home. There are no restrictions in place in relation to COVID-19 testing or limiting the areas people can enter for work. More details are available in HIA’s COVID-19 restrictions on travelling around NSW information sheet.

Travel Permits - Greater Sydney

Further to yesterday’s Member Alert, for people living within the Greater Sydney region (excluding the Central Coast and Shellharbour) there are additional restrictions on movement based on where you live and where you are travelling to. To verify whether you need to register to travel, see the Travel registration address checker.

All workers, including construction workers living in Greater Sydney but not in the LGAs and suburbs of concern, will need a travel permit if you are travelling more than 50km outside of Greater Sydney for work.

The travel permit is valid for up to 14 days. You'll need to reapply for a travel registration, if:

  • you're travelling for more than 14 days, or
  • your travel dates change or need to be amended.

You must carry your travel permit and supporting documents with you at all times.

To Register for a travel permit, you will need:

  • a MyServiceNSW Account – you can create one when you start your registration
  • your name, address, email and contact number
  • your travel details (where you will be staying, working or visiting) and dates
  • your dependants' name and contact number, if applicable.

Yesterday the Government announced that from Saturday 28 August additional travel permit requirements will apply to authorised workers who live in an LGA or suburb of concern and anyone entering an LGA or suburb of concern for work. HIA will advise members when more information is available.

Testing Requirements

I am an authorised worker who live in the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA, do I still need to get COVID-19 test every 72 hours or 3 days?

As announced yesterday, from Monday, 23 August, workers from the Canterbury-Bankstown will no longer have to have been tested for COVID-19 in the previous 72 hours to work outside their LGA. Workers from this area will still need to comply with the vaccination requirements for authorised construction workers.

Have the testing requirements changed for Greater Sydney residents?

No. If you live in Greater Sydney and you need to travel more than 50km outside of Greater Sydney for work reasons, you still need to get tested every 7 days.

For example, a worker from Greater Sydney travelling to building site in Maitland/Medowie may need testing every 7 days. Previously, this requirement did not apply because the map of Greater Sydney covered a larger area.

Penalties for breach of COVID rules

It is important that members comply with all of the current COVID-19 restrictions and requirements. A failure to do so is a criminal offence and attracts the following penalties:

  • 6 months imprisonment or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues for individuals.
  • Fines of up to $55,000 for the first offence and $27,500 for each day the offence continues for businesses.

Further details on on-the-spot fines can be found.

Financial support for individuals and business

Financial support is available to all employees that have their hours reduced during the lockdown in any part of NSW under the Australian Government’s National Disaster Payments arrangements.

The NSW Government has a range of business support measures which businesses may be eligible to receive.

Other useful information

Our team is available to respond to your questions, but in the meantime you may find the answers to your questions in these resources and FAQs on our dedicated COVID-19 webpage.

We understand that these rapid changes and ongoing restrictions take a significant toll on members and it is essential you find time to look after yourself, your staff and your families. HIA through our partnership with Beyond Blue has a range of resources available that may help you over the coming weeks.

HIA is continuing to meet daily with the NSW Government on the impact of restrictions on home building and we will continue to keep members informed of any changes.

© 2021 Housing Industry Association Limited (ABN 99 004 631 752) (HIA)

The information on this page has been prepared by the Housing Industry Association Limited, not HIA Insurance Services Pty Ltd (HIAIS). The views expressed are those of the Housing Industry Association Limited only and do not necessarily reflect those of HIAIS. This information is intended to provide general insurance related information only. HIAIS does not make any representation as to the accuracy of the information on this page and is unable to accept liability for any loss incurred by anyone who relies on it. The recipient of this information is responsible for their use of it.  

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