MUTED CELEBRATIONS: Sydney deserted on New Year’s Eve amid outbreak

Thursday - 31/12/2020 10:12
Police in front of the Harbour Bridge. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Police in front of the Harbour Bridge. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
New Year’s Eve looked very different in Sydney this year, with the usual throngs of loud revellers replaced by silence and empty streets due to the coronavirus outbreak.

New Year’s Eve looked very different in Sydney this year.

Gone were the usual throngs of people celebrating, replaced by silence and empty streets, as residents complied with the city’s coronavirus restrictions.

Earlier this week, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian tightened those rules, limiting household gatherings across Greater Sydney to a maximum of five people and outdoor gatherings to 30 people.

“We don’t want to create any super-spreading events on New Year’s Eve, which then ruins it for everybody across the state moving forward,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“On New Year’s Eve, we don’t want any crowds on the foreshore around Sydney whatsoever.

“Had circumstances been different, we may have acted differently. But we don’t want New Year’s Eve to be a situation where undetected cases – i.e. people who may be in the very early stages of the disease and not know they’ve got it, not know they’re infectious – unintentionally give it to those closest to them.

“Our preferred advice is that people just stay home.”
 

A deserted Sydney Opera House forecourt as the midnight fireworks went off. Picture: David Gray/AFP
A deserted Sydney Opera House forecourt as the midnight fireworks went off.
Picture: David Gray/AFPSource:AFP

 

 
At least the fireworks were spectacular. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWire
At least the fireworks were spectacular.
Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
A small number of people watched from the forecourt. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
A small number of people watched from the forecourt.
Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

 

 
Emphasis on “small”. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
Emphasis on “small”. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

 

Most Sydneysiders followed that advice.

Uniformed police officers could be seen in Circular Quay throughout the evening, following through on the warning from Assistant Commissioner Michael Willing earlier in the day that “large numbers” of cops would appear at licensed venues to check their compliance with the restrictions.

“We’ll be checking licensed premises, we’ll be doorknocking when necessary,” he said.

“We’ll be out and patrolling public areas to ensure people abide by the current health orders.”

The fireworks themselves were as spectacular as always - the only thing missing was the people watching them.
 

Some boats in the harbour, where social distancing is not such a problem. Picture: Wendell Teodoro/Getty Images
Some boats in the harbour, where social distancing is not such a problem.
Picture: Wendell Teodoro/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

 

 
Opera Bar at Circular Quay was much quieter than usual. Picture: Monique Harmer
Opera Bar at Circular Quay was much quieter than usual. Picture: Monique HarmerSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
A smattering of people overlooking the Harbour Bridge. Picture: Monique Harmer
A smattering of people overlooking the Harbour Bridge. Picture: Monique HarmerSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
George St. Picture: Monique Harmer
George St. Picture: Monique HarmerSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
Police near the Opera House. Picture: Monique Harmer
Police near the Opera House. Picture: Monique HarmerSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
A small number of revellers at Opera Bar as darkness fell. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWire
A small number of revellers at Opera Bar as darkness fell.
Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

 


Another view of the Opera House. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWire
Another view of the Opera House. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
A little earlier in the evening. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWire
A little earlier in the evening. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
A lone Sydneysider in front of the Harbour Bridge. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone
A lone Sydneysider in front of the Harbour Bridge. Picture: Flavio BrancaleoneSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
There isn’t usually quite so much free space. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWire
There isn’t usually quite so much free space.
Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
Someone attempts a cartwheel. Or maybe a handstand. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA Newswire
Someone attempts a cartwheel. Or maybe a handstand.
Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewswireSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
Not completely abandoned. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWire
Not completely abandoned. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia​​​​

 

 
A musician at Circular Quay. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWire
A musician at Circular Quay. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
Selfie time. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWire
Selfie time. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

 

 
Some boats in Sydney Harbour. Picture: Saeed Khan/AFP
Some boats in Sydney Harbour. Picture: Saeed Khan/AFPSource:AFP

 

 
A couple approaches the Opera House. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
A couple approaches the Opera House. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

 

 
Silence. Picture: Monique Harmer
Silence. Picture: Monique HarmerSource:News Corp Australia

 

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 Keywords: coronavirus

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