dpa/GNA – Australia’s most populous city, Sydney, has made face masks mandatory in some indoor settings, amid a growing number of coronavirus cases, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Saturday.
The move comes as the state recorded a further seven locally acquired cases of Covid-19, as clusters of infections have emerged in western Sydney and the Northern Beaches region in the last two weeks.
The new cases led to new restrictions imposed across Greater Sydney including a ban of more than five visitors to a home on New Year’s Eve. The lockdown that was imposed on residents of the Northern Beaches was eased for residents in the southern part of the region on Saturday.
While the mask mandate will begin at midnight Saturday, enforcement won’t begin until midnight Monday.
Anyone caught not wearing a face mask or covering in the required settings will be fined 200 Australian dollars (140 US dollars), Berejiklian said.
The settings including: shopping centres, public transport, attending an entertainment venue such as a cinema, places of worship, hair and beauty salons and gaming areas of establishments. Staff at hospitality venues will also have to wear a mask.
Other states have reacted in recent days to Sydney’s outbreak by slamming the borders shut with short notice, causing hours-long delays at border crossings.