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NSW Premier refuses to define ‘essential’ stores as cases rise

·2-min read
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian looks on during a COVID-19 update press conference on July 10, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Lockdown restrictions have been tightened across NSW as COVID-19 cases continue to emerge in the community.  Lockdown restrictions are in place across Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong with all residents subject to stay-at-home orders are only permitted to leave their homes for essential reasons, including purchasing essential goods, accessing or providing care or healthcare, work, education and exercise. As of 5pm on Friday, exercise is limited to within a 10km radius from home or within the local government area, and with a maximum of two people per group. Browsing in shops is prohibited and only one person per household can leave home for shopping per day. Outdoor public gatherings are limited to two people, while funerals will be limited to 10 people only from Sunday 11 July. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian looks on during a COVID-19 update press conference on July 10, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has refused to provide further clarification on what is considered an essential business even as retail stores like florists and lingerie outlets across Sydney remain open.

NSW recorded 50 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Saturday, with 26 of these infectious while in the community.

“Things are going to get worse before they get better,” she said on Saturday.

Lockdown restrictions were tightened on Friday 5pm, with browsing at shops now not permitted. People are encouraged to plan before they shop, and to Click and Collect where possible. Only one person per household is allowed to leave the house to visit the shops per day.

Since Sydney’s lockdown began, people have only been permitted to leave the house if they have one of four ‘reasonable excuses’, which includes “obtaining food or other goods and services”.

However, some Sydneysiders have taken to social media to question why certain stores have been allowed to stay open, such as jewellery stores, gift and toy shops, and a rug store.

When Berejiklian was pressed by a reporter on whether ‘essential stores’ needed to be defined, she sidestepped the question.

“I think what is important to note is we don't want anyone leaving their home unless you absolutely have to – that's the bottom line,” she said.

“What we also appreciate is some circumstances people need to attain or essential goods, and we get that, but we know both anecdotally ... and certainly what police are reporting that most retail outlets at the moment are completely empty.”

Berejiklian said cases of COVID-19 had been discovered in instances where people were “gathering together where they shouldn’t be”.

“Please don't think you are an exception. Please assume every time you leave the house that you have COVID or you are in contact with someone with the virus,” she added.

“The basic message is: Stay home.”

Sydneysiders in lockdown should also be aware that police presence may “absolutely” be at supermarkets to enforce compliance with the new COVID-19 restrictions.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 05: NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys speaks during a COVID-19 update and press conference on July 05, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Lockdown restrictions continue across Great Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong as NSW health authorities work to contain a growing COVID-19 cluster. From 6pm on Saturday 26 June, all residents in areas subject to stay-at-home orders are only permitted to leave their homes for essential reasons, including purchasing essential goods, accessing or providing care/healthcare, work, education and exercise. The restrictions will remain in place until midnight on Friday 9 July. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

“Police will attend locations where they think people don't want to comply, absolutely they will, and they have been in supermarkets,” NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Worboys said on Saturday.

“They have been in shopping centres right across New South Wales and they will continue to do that.”

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