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Revellers are being urged to venture into Sydney’s CBD to watch the harbour fireworks this New Year’s Eve if they follow social distancing protocols and other rules in place.
Organisers are anticipating fewer visitors to the city than usual as COVID-19 case numbers increase.
Asked on Sunday whether people should reconsider going out to celebrate, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said: “No, what I would say is … take personal responsibility, socially distance, follow the rules that are in place and by doing that you look after yourself you look after your family members.”
Trade and Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said festivities next Friday would continue as planned, with fireworks displays at 9pm and midnight and no restrictions on outdoor gatherings under current public health orders.
“Obviously for indoor events, venues will need to comply with the one-person per two-square-metre rule, and when a person is not eating or drinking they will need a mask,” he said.
“I do think there will be fewer numbers than what there would have been, given the current circumstances. I think it will be less than a normal year. However, people are doing what we asked, they are exercising personal responsibility.”
Plans for a week-long party on the Cahill Expressway until January 6 are also set to continue, with the stretch of road to be closed to traffic and flooded with revellers to bring in the New Year as part of a state government plan to recharge the events sector and boost tourism to the state.
The road closure will bring markets, performances and big screens during the day, with headlining musical acts and pop-up food and bars during the night, an idea modelled off the world-famous High Line in New York City.
There will be three sessions — morning, afternoon and night — with a capacity of 2500 people per ticketed session for the week-long party. Tickets for every session of Elevate Sydney are fully allocated and thousands remain on a waitlist.
Mr Ayres said “a small number of people” had returned tickets due to the Omicron outbreak, but he anticipated it would remain fully allocated based on the size of the wait list.
“COVID will throw challenges at us, but living without it is not a reality, so we have to find a way to live with it,” he said.
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An artist’s impression of the Cahill Expressway closed for New Year’s revellers.
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