With some lockdown restrictions being lifted in NSW on Friday, the City of Newcastle has urged residents to maintain social distancing.
Under a new Public Health Order, from today outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed across the state and leaving the home for leisure will be permitted.
To that end, council has announced that restrictions have been removed on outdoor spaces and playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor equipment including basketball and netball courts have re-opened.
Blackbutt Reserve’s open space areas will also re-open to the public ahead of the Carnley and Richley Reserve playgrounds on Saturday following scheduled maintenance on Friday.
However, animal encounters, wildlife exhibits and shows remain suspended under the current social distancing and public gathering restrictions.
The red-and-yellow flags are back up at Newcastle Ocean Baths, Merewether Ocean Baths; Nobbys, Bar and Merewether beaches in line with winter-season patrols, with lifeguards continuing to encourage social distancing while monitoring swimmers.
“I’d like to thank and commend the Newcastle community for their co-operation and understanding in observing social distancing rules and stay-home orders over the past couple of months,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“We ask the community to continue to respect the NSW Government health restrictions by maintaining social distancing and continuing to practise good hygiene to ensure everyone can enjoy our public spaces.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to adhere to the restrictions, so when there’s 10 people at a skatepark or basketball court, users are encouraged to respect everyone’s right to access the facility.”
While continued restrictions on gatherings mean the City’s cultural facilities, such as libraries, Newcastle Museum, Civic Theatre and the Art Gallery, remain closed, a range of experiences are being offered online, from Art Gallery exhibitions to animal feeding at Blackbutt.
Civic Digest Café will resume table service for up to 10 patrons, in line with the easing of restrictions on hospitality businesses, and continue its takeaway service.
While the City’s face-to-face customer service desk remains closed, people can instead access support between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, on 4974 2000, on webchat or via the online Customer Request Form