Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she won’t yet follow Victoria’s lead by enforcing mask use in public but urges people to wear masks when social distancing is impossible.
She says social distancing remains vital while NSW Health encourages people to avoid non-essential travel.
“What NSW Health and myself are worried about most at this moment in time is what people are doing when they’re entering hospitality venues … You can’t wear a mask when you’re having a meal,” Berejiklian told 2GB radio on Tuesday.
“That’s where the biggest risk is at the moment, indoor events.
“The health advice to date has served NSW extremely well and it’s not for politicians to make this stuff up as we go.”
The NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union called on the Berejiklian government to provide all public transport workers with masks if they requested it and encourage mask-wearing on public transport.
“At a very minimum, workers should be provided with masks if they request this protection and everyone should be urged to wear mask at points of congestion on the bus network where physical distancing can’t be maintained,” tram and bus division secretary David Babineau said in a statement on Tuesday.
“While passenger limits are in place, the reality is bottlenecks occur and it’s patchy whether people adhere to them.”
NSW recorded 13 new COVID-19 cases from almost 16,000 tests in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Monday, including 10 people associated with an outbreak at the Thai Rock Restaurant in Stockland Mall at Wetherill Park.
Another two new cases were associated with the Crossroads Hotel cluster in Casula, which has risen to 50 cases.
NSW Health is urging anyone who visited the Salamander Bay Shopping Centre on July 15 to watch for COVID-19 symptoms following a confirmed case in the Port Stephens area. The new case is a man in his 60s, who was infected by a visitor from Sydney.
The Sydney contact also visited the Windsor Castle Hotel in East Maitland between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on July 13.
NSW Health on Monday afternoon also directed anyone who attended Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Harris Park between July 15 to 17 to self-isolate for 14 days and come forward for testing after a visit by a confirmed case.
Berejiklian said NSW had the chance to get ahead of the virus if residents socially distance over the next few weeks and warned hospitality venues faced major penalties if they failed to ensure social distancing.
“This can get away from us very quickly, which is why I’d rather everyone do the right thing now while we can still be in a position to control the spread,” she said.
NSW will from Wednesday enforce tougher border restrictions for people wanting to enter the state from Victoria, with a border zone to be set up along the Murray River and outstanding travel permits to be cancelled.
The community has been urged to avoid travel where possible and to expect significant delays at border entry points.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller reiterated the state is at a critical stage of the pandemic and warned any behaviour that jeopardises the health and safety of the community would be condemned.
“In this current environment, I am reluctant to honour warnings for anyone who knowingly and deliberately breaches ministerial directions,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
He also warned the public against attending a Black Lives Matter protest planned for Sydney on July 28.
There are 90 people being treated for the coronavirus in NSW, with two patients in intensive care, including a person in their 30s.
By Angelo Risso and Dominica Sanda