Thursday, June 20, 2024

Harsh new rules for Fairfield residents

Fairfield residents who travel to work in other Local Government Areas must now be tested for COVID-19 every three days, even if they do not have symptoms, NSW Health has confirmed.

It said that given the high number of COVID-19 cases and exposure venues in the Fairfield Local Government Area (LGA), the move was a necessary one.

Additionally, workers from across Greater Sydney who work at locations more than 50km from the outer boundary of the Shellharbour, Wollongong, Wollondilly, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Central Coast LGAs must be tested for COVID-19 every seven days, even if they do not have symptoms.

“Anyone with even the mildest of symptoms needs to stay away from work, get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive a negative COVID-19 test,” NSW Health said.

“The same applies to people who have been directed to get tested due to their risk of exposure to COVID-19 through close-contact venues or their own close social contacts.

“Asymptomatic workers who are tested as part of this new surveillance testing requirement do not need to self-isolate until they receive a negative result. However, if symptoms develop at any time, they should get re-tested immediately, and isolate until a negative result is received.”

Commencing at 12.01am on July 14, these new requirements will form part of a new public health order aimed at identifying undetected chains of transmission of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 and preventing its spread to other communities, NSW Health said.

However, a time-limited exemption is in place so that:

  • From 14-16 July, workers from Fairfield LGA can continue to work in other LGAs if they have not been tested, however they must take reasonable steps to do so prior to 17 July. From 17 July, a worker must be tested every 72 hours to continue working outside Fairfield LGA; and
  • From 14-18 July, workers from Greater Sydney can continue to work more than 50km from the outer boundary of the Shellharbour, Wollongong, Wollondilly, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Central Coast LGAs if they have not been tested, however they must take reasonable steps to do so prior to 19 July. From 19 July, a worker must be tested every seven days to continue working more than 50 kilometres outside of Greater Sydney.

NSW Health says workers must provide evidence of their COVID-19 test upon request by their employer or a police officer.

“Workers do not need to have received a negative COVID-19 result before attending work – they need only to have been tested within the past 72 hours. If a positive test result is received, the worker will need to self-isolate immediately, in line with a public health order and the usual COVID advice,” it said.

“People in Greater Sydney should only attend work if they cannot work from home and employers must permit a worker to work from home if reasonably practicable.

“The occupier of non-residential premises who have workers from Fairfield LGA on their premises must ensure that the worker can show they have been tested up to 72 hours prior to attending work. This applies to all people working at the premises (including employees, contractors and other service providers).

“The worker must have proof of a test within the past three days available for inspection via text message, email or other form of evidence provided by a testing service or laboratory – if this is not supplied, premises owners must not permit a person who lives in the City of Fairfield LGA to work on their premises.”

NSW Health sayd the testing requirement is only for people who live in the Fairfield LGA who are leaving for work in other LGAs, not people from other LGAs who enter Fairfield LGA for work purposes.

“Similar obligations apply to Greater Sydney workers working outside of Greater Sydney, except that the timeframe for testing is every seven days.”

Under the new requirements, police can ask for identification information and evidence of having been tested for COVID-19 from people from Fairfield LGA to determine if they are complying with these requirements. Any breach of the order will be subject to an on-the-spot fine of $1,000 for the worker and $5,000 for a corporation.

For serious breaches, workers and employers can be prosecuted in court and subject to a $11,000 fine or six months in jail for an individual, or $55,000 fine for a corporation.

To support the new mandatory surveillance testing in Fairfield, a number of COVID-19 testing clinics are extending their opening hours and a new clinic is operating 24/7, including:

  • Fairfield Showground Syd-Path Drive-Through Clinic, 443 Smithfield Road, Prairiewood – open every day from 6.30am to 10pm until further notice;
  • Smithfield Douglass Hanly Moir Drive-Through Clinic, Brenan Park, Bourke Street, Smithfield – open every day from 6am to 8pm until further notice;
  • Fairfield West Laverty Pop-Up Drive-Through Clinic, Endeavour Sports Park Car Park, Maud Street, Fairfield West – open 24/7 until further notice;
  • Bossley Park Laverty Pathology Drive-Through Clinic, Club Marconi, 121-133 Prairie Vale Road (enter via Restwell Road to underground park), Bossley Park – open every day from 8.30am to 6pm until further notice;
  • Wetherill Park 4Cyte Drive-Through Clinic, 22-30 Mansfield Street (enter via 31 Rosetti Street), Wetherill Park – open every day except Saturdays from 8am to 8pm until further notice.

There are more than 380 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic visit COVID-19 testing clinics or contact your GP.

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