Sydneysiders are set to learn what Christmas will look like as the NSW cabinet meets to decide the next steps to tackle a COVID-19 outbreak in the city’s northern beaches.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian is set to announce on December 23 what restrictions will apply for gatherings on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Berejiklian sounded a cautiously positive note on Tuesday when she announced a fall in new infections connected to the so called Avalon cluster, which now totals 90 infections.
NSW recorded eight new local cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, down from 15 the day before and 30 on Saturday.
The cases were identified from 44,500 tests — the highest ever daily total for the state.
Meanwhile, NSW Health has issued fresh health alerts for venues around Sydney and the regional towns of Orange and Gundagai after they were visited by people with COVID-19.
The venues affected include the Paddington Alimentari restaurant in the eastern suburbs and Charlie & Franks cafe at St Leonards on the north shore.
Other venues visited by a person with COVID-19 include shops on the northern beaches at Mona Vale, Newport and Avalon and a swim school and playground at Warriewood.
Coles at Turramurra, Newport and Mona Vale are also on the list as well as Woolworths at Mona Vale and Avalon, Westfield Bondi Junction and Westfield at Warringah Mall.
The NSW Health website lists all the relevant dates and times as well as advice for anyone who may have been there at those times.
Seven of the eight cases announced on Tuesday were linked to the northern beaches, while the other was found in a nurse transporting patients in hotel quarantine.
“The trend is going where we want it to go, where we need to it to go … It’s volatile, but we’re confident that the strategy we’ve put in place is having the desired effect,” Berejiklian said on Tuesday.
The northern beaches is still in lockdown under a public health order that’s due to expire at 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Even if the government decides against strict gathering regulations, the recent outbreak has caused havoc for the Christmas plans people in NSW and interstate.
Thousands of people around the state are self-isolating and will continue to do so over the festive period.
All state and territory borders are now closed to people travelling from Greater Sydney.
Hannah Ryan in Sydney