SYDNEY’S WORLD-FAMOUS NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE GREEN LIGHT, BUT THEY’LL BE SCALED DOWN DUE TO COVID-19.
Sydney’s popular New Year’s Eve fireworks will go ahead, but they’ll be a shadow of their former self with international visitors banned and COVID-19 restrictions still in place.
Usually attracting more than one million people at various vantage points around Sydney Harbour, the multi-million dollar event will be scaled down and tightly controlled, with people encouraged to stay home and watch on TV.
The early 9pm fireworks have been scrapped this year, while the main midnight fireworks will be shorter. Centred on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, they’ll also be streamed online for international audiences.
With Australia’s international borders closed and restrictions on travel and public gatherings, the usual crush of people at harbourside locations like Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Cremorne Point and Lavender Bay will be missing this year.
There’s currently a 20-person limit to both indoor and outdoor public gatherings in Sydney which make the usual harbourside gatherings unfeasible.
Many harbourside sites will be controlled and free, but people will need a ticket to attend.
The New South Wales Government will manage this year’s event after the City of Sydney agreed to hand responsibility over.
That’s because the state government is better positioned to manage the increased health, transport and crowd management challenges thrown up by COVID-19.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged Sydneysiders to watch from the comfort of their couch, warning that this year’s celebrations will be unlike any other.
“When we say there’ll be fireworks on New Year’s Eve, do not think about what’s happened in the past, it will be an extremely different event, consistent with the health orders, very cautious,” she said.
“I do feel it’s important for the state and the nation because it’s really a national symbol that’s beamed around the world.”
Authorities warned, however, the event would be cancelled if Sydney experienced a surge in coronavirus cases later in the year.
Sydney – the main international gateway to Australia – recorded four new cases of coronavirus today, taking the total number of confirmed cases in NSW this year to 4,028.
Three of the new cases involve returned travellers in hotel quarantine, while the fourth was a locally acquired transmission.
© 2020 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved
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