Covid restrictions: Some questions answered

Filed in Just In by August 5, 2021

SEVERAL residents of the Upper Hunter have contacted us for clarification on the impacts of the lock down for them. We have sourced our information from Hunter New England Health, the NSW Department of Health and Member for the Upper Hunter David Layzell.

Things may change and we will continue to report the changes as they happen. Some of the orders have latitude for residents of the Upper Hunter Shire Council area and those specifics are not currently published on the NSW Health website.

PLEASE NOTE: On Thursday, August 8 the government extended their lock down of some LGAs by another 7 days. This means, anyone who visited these areas on or before July 31 needs to be under stay at home orders for a total of 14 days since you left the affected LGA. Also, when a lock down is lifted in an area, the stay at home orders for people who have visited that area also lift.

The spirit of the orders is to limit socialisation by people in affected LGAs.

Affected LGAs include Muswellbrook, Singleton, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock and Dungog. The lock down does NOT include the Upper Hunter Shire Council area, but may affect UHSC residents people who have visited an affected LGA on or since Saturday, July 31.

The period of the stay at home orders is seven days, from 5pm today.

If you have a question, we will source the answer from the health authorities and provide the answers to help the whole community: news@scone.com.au.

Below are some of the answers to questions from local residents:

Do residents of Upper Hunter Shire Council (UHSC) have to adhere to stay at home orders if they work in Muswellbrook?

Yes. If they are an essential worker and can’t work from home, they can continue to go to work in an affected LGA, but once back home in the UHSC should adhere to stay at home orders – only leaving home to go to the grocery store or essential activities, but not going to local cafes and clubs etc.

Do the family of essential workers who travel into an affected LGA have to adhere to stay at home orders?

No. The family of an essential worker does not need to adhere to stay at home orders. They can continue to go to school and work, but are encouraged to limit their movements when possible.

Do essential workers coming from an affected LGA into the UHSC have to have Covid tests to work?

At present, residents of Greater Sydney who leave the lock down area to attend work more than 50km from the lock down area are required to receive a Covid test every seven days. This will not be a requirement of the workers who go more than 50km from the Newcastle and Hunter region currently in lock down.

If someone has been into an affected LGA on or since Saturday, July 31 do they have to adhere to stay at home orders?

Yes. Everyone who has been to an affected LGA on or after Saturday July 31 will have to adhere to stay at home orders. For example, a person who lives and works in Scone, who visited Muswellbrook on Monday, will have to adhere to stay at home orders for seven days. However, these orders do allow the person to go to work if it is not possible for them to work from home and do essential things, such as buy groceries or seek medical treatments, including vaccinations. They are not permitted to go to venues such as pubs, clubs and cafes or visit other households, unless there is an exemption, such as being in contact with their nominated person in a “singles bubble”. 

A child who has been to an affected area within that time frame will also have to comply with stay at home orders, in much the same way, including homeschooling where possible. However, if they are unable to be home schooled they can go to school, these are the same rules as previous lock downs.

What if you live in an affected LGA but work in the UHSC?

If you are a worker, who can not work from home during the lock down, you can continue to go to work outside of the affected LGA. For example, a school teacher who lives in Muswellbrook, but teaches at a school in Scone, can continue to teach in Scone. However, while they are in the UHSC they need to go to work, then adhere to the usual stay at home orders. As such they shouldn’t go to local cafes and shops, or visit people, they may only get groceries, medical treatments and do essential things as if they were in their own affected LGA. 

Can a person who lives in an affected LGA stay with their partner who is in the UHSC area?

Yes. Under the current orders, the person can see their “nominated person” and stay with them, however while in the household they must adhere to stay at home orders, they may not socialise outside their residence and can only go out for essential activities such as work, medical treatments of groceries.

Read more questions and answers: More lock down questions answered.

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