State Cancels Fireworks Plan for Front Line Workers Over 'Health Risk'

State Cancels Fireworks Plan for Front Line Workers Over 'Health Risk'
Fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House during the midnight display during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia on Jan. 1, 2020. (Hanna Lassen/Getty Images)

Plans to host front line COVID-19 workers on the foreshore for Sydney's 7-minute New Year's Eve fireworks have been cancelled over safety fears.

The government had allocated a "green zone" around the harbour foreshore including the Opera House just for the nurses, doctors, and others invited to attend from across the state.

"Unfortunately, we're going to have to cancel that," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday. "It's too much of a health risk having people from the regions and from Sydney and from broader regional areas congregate all in the CBD."

Berejiklian promised the government would find another opportunity during 2021 to recognise "what you have done" for the community during the pandemic.

"On New Year's Eve, we don't want any crowds on the foreshore around Sydney whatsoever," she said.

But people who have a restaurant booking or other hospitality plans in the CBD for New Year's Eve will be able to go ahead, so long as the four square metre social distancing rule is observed.

Both types of venues, including pubs, need a permit to operate on the last night of 2020 when the highlight will be a seven-minute fireworks display at midnight.

"The only way you'll be allowed to access those commonly frequented foreshore venues is if there is a formal event," Berejiklian said. "So if the local council deems it appropriate to have a ticketed, seated, controlled event, you'll be allowed to participate."

New Year's Eve Rules

  • Hospitality venues remain open but must adhere to the one person per four square metres rule
  • Council events may continue but they must be controlled and seated with no mingling
  • No-one can enter designated zones around Circular Quay, North Sydney and the city unless they have a special pass
  • Home gatherings are limited to 10 visitors including children
  • Outside gatherings are restricted to 50 people
  • No changes for regional areas.

New Year's Eve Rules For Northern Beaches

  • Indoor and outdoor gatherings allowed but restricted to five visitors from within the northern zone
  • Indoor and outdoor gatherings allowed but restricted to 10 visitors from within the southern zone
  • No restaurants, cafes, pubs or clubs (except for takeaway) will be permitted to open, including for New Year's Eve.