This morning, NSW Acting Premier John Barilaro condemned the actions of a Fairfield wedding operator caught hosting up to 700 guests over the weekend, double the number it would be allowed under Greater Sydney restrictions.
“We’re angry about it,” he said.
“We haven’t had such a deliberate breach as we saw with that particular example.
“We’ll come down hard on those that choose to be deliberate.”
Mr Barilaro announced there were no locally acquired cases and seven fresh cases in hotel quarantine identified in NSW in the last reporting period.
Two locally acquired cases recorded overnight will be included in tomorrow’s numbers.
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the state was in a high alert period following the Christmas and New Year period, and expressed concern about the growing Berala cluster.
In Sydney’s west, a BWS liquor store in Berala was an exposure site for up to nine hours every day between 22 December and New Year’s Eve, 31 December.
She challenged people in NSW to reach 30,000 tests today, to ensure health officials will be able to identify undetected community transmission.
“I can never give any guarantees with COVID, but it [testing] gives us the greatest chance of getting on top of it.”
Those not wearing masks in most public indoor settings will face a $200 fine from today onwards, and Mr Barilaro said masks were important for maintaining mobility throughout the state.
“The restrictions we have in place are strong enough to deal with what we have in front of us,” he said.
“We can put all the penalties in place but all we ask is you do the right thing.”
NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said the government and police didn’t want to fine people if it could be avoided.
“That’s not what it’s about,” he said.
He noted there were protests against compulsory mask use yesterday and said there were ways to abstain from wearing one.
“If you don’t like the idea of a mask, stay home or stay outside.”
Mr Hazzard said the use of masks was not compulsory in regional NSW; however, he asked people in the bush and the regions to consider wearing a mask indoors voluntarily.
“I would still say to you as Health Minister that it would be safer for you.”
Dr Chant said some individuals were exempt from wearing a mask due to medical conditions and told the community to be compassionate when they saw someone without one.