Shoppers flock to Pitt St Mall as coronavirus restrictions eased

Hundreds of people were seen packed into Sydney’s CBD yesterday after the NSW government eased social distancing restrictions over the weekend.

The keen shoppers filled the city’s shopping district, which has been largely deserted in recent months as retail and hospitality businesses were closed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has warned residents of the state to continue to practice social distancing, saying the coronavirus remains “extremely dangerous” and we are “sitting ducks”.

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Pitt St Mall in central Sydney was packed with hundreds of people on Sunday as some of the social distancing restrictions were eased by the state government on Friday.

Keen shoppers were out and about in the Sydney retail precinct, where streets have been largely deserted in recent months as the country was gripped by the pandemic.

The NSW government relaxed some of its restrictions on Friday, allowing many previously shuttered businesses to reopen over the weekend, including pubs, bars and restaurants.

However, Mr Hazzard has warned residents of NSW against becoming complacent, saying they need to continue practising social distancing.

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“It’s fair to say that there has been, in a sense, a great NSW bust-out – people (are) rewarding themselves for many weeks of sacrifice, having themselves locked inside,” Mr Hazzard said on Sunday.

“But I also do want to remind people this virus is extremely dangerous and we are all – every one of us – sitting ducks for this virus. We don’t know where this virus might break out.”

“We all deserve it, we’ve all worked very hard at it. So I don’t want to dissuade people from enjoying what is a fantastic state, and at the moment, fantastic weather for this time of the year,” Mr Hazzard continued. “But I also do want to remind people that this virus is extremely dangerous, and we are all – every one of us – sitting ducks for this virus.”

The government is still urging business to encourage social distancing and to allow employees to work from home where possible.

One new case of COVID-19 was recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, with eight cases recorded in the proceeding 24 hours.

More than 10,100 people were tested in the reporting period, compared with 9892 people in the previous 24 hours.

—with AAP

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