Many locals – including me – have asked why Pittwater is being singled out for a longer lockdown.
The NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, has provided the below explanation as to the health rationale behind these decisions – which offers additional clarity to our community:
“I just want to pause to reflect on some of the statistics, which goes into why we are really concerned about the northern part of the northern beaches and why we want that extra period of time to ensure that we do not miss any community transmission or generate further cases in that area.
If I just take you back to the week ending the 21 December, there were 67 cases reported in that week ending the 21 December from that part of the northern zone. That led to a population rate of 90 cases per 100,000 people because population density is not that high in that area ... compared to the southern zone where the rate was three per 100,000, and compared to the rest of greater Sydney which was 0.4 per 100,000.
It shows that northern part of the northern [beaches] bore the brunt of the seeding event and the residents [there] were most impacted. In the following week we had a further 19 cases and to 1 January another five. Because of the actions of the northern zone and their compliance with the restrictions, we have not seen evidence of [new] locally acquired cases, but it is with an abundance of caution we want to keep that lockdown until 9 January, so please I hope that explains that. Thank you.”
None of us want to be living under these restrictions for a moment longer than is necessary – we want to be reunited with family and friends, and we want to see our local small businesses thriving again.
Today I hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with the NSW Treasurer, NSW and Federal Ministers for Small Business, NSW Small Business Commissioner, our Federal MP, local Business Chamber representatives and a cross section of local small businesses including hospitality, retail, accounting, recreation, coworking, salons, and gyms.
The key messages received included the need for additional cash grants, relief from overheads, flexibility on eligibility for existing programs, access to mental health support, and targeted incentives to rebuild confidence and encourage foot traffic into our local villages – as soon as possible – to claw back the remainder of this vitally important Summer trading period.
I am ensuring the on-the-ground lived experience of our local small businesses in Pittwater is being conveyed directly to the Premier, Treasurer and relevant Ministers, for their consideration as part of any additional support measures to be implemented.