Lock down extended

The Central Coast is to remain in lockdown for another week, with COVID-19 restrictions to stay in force until midnight on July 16.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the lockdown extension for Greater Sydney, including the Coast, on July 7, saying the Delta strain was a “game changer”.

“This strain is extremely transmissable and we don’t want to be in a situation where we are constantly having to move between lockdown and no lockdown,” Berejiklian said.

“We want to make sure this is the only lockdown we have before most of our citizens are vaccinated.”

There will be no face-to-face lessons at Coast Schools until June 19, with children to revert to on-line learning for the first four days of Term Three.

“This isn’t because our schools aren’t safe places, but because of a need to reduce mobility,” Berejiklian said.

“While this strain is more contagious in children (than former strains), the main concern is too many people being mobile taking children to and from school and having interactions.

“As in the past, schools will be open for the children of essential workers who have no other options.”

The Premier acknowledged the lockdown extension would be particularly frustrating for areas such as the Coast, where there are few or no signs of transmission.

Two Central Coast residents have been diagnosed with the virus.

Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) advised on July 3 that the two were in self-isolation at home, with health staff undertaking daily wellness checks.

One case is linked to the Great Ocean Foods seafood wholesaler in Marrickville and the second is a household contact of the first case.

“Both cases were in self-isolation during their infectious period and there is no identified risk to the community,” CCLHD said.

Business NSW Central Coast Regional Director, Paula Martin, said the move would be a “crushing blow” for the region’s businesses.

“While the NSW Government has always balanced the health and economic outcomes of this pandemic, there’s no hiding that this will be a huge blow for business, big and small, right across the NSW economy,” Martin said.

“And this time around there’s no JobKeeper to help cushion the fall.

“Concerningly, around 1 in 5 businesses say they only have enough cashflow to get them through the next month of operations – so an extended lockdown will see businesses close down, and unlikely to reopen.

“That will have a huge impact on our society – not only in the loss of jobs but the mental health of those business owners and their employees who’ve dedicated their lives to their business.”

Martin said the business community understood the importance of community safety above all else.

“There is going to be extra pressure placed on business owners next week with employees needing to supervise children who are learning from home, so at a time when they are doing it tough, they’ll have to be even more accommodating which adds even more pressure,” she said.

Terry Collins