Massive queues, no social distancing and limited mask wearing were the highlight at shopping centres on Boxing Day as locals scrambled to get their hands on a bargain.
Hundreds of shoppers flooded the malls in Western Sydney on Saturday, ignoring NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian’s plea to stay at home and avoid Boxing Day sales in fear of another COVID-19 outbreak.
Shocking scenes showed all rules were thrown out the window as an influx of people went about their day without remembering basic COVID safety rules.
Sydneysiders ignored NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian’s plea to stay at home and avoid Boxing Day sales in fear of another COVID-19 outbreak (pictured at DFO in Homebush)
No social distancing was observed at DFO in Homebush in Sydney’s west during Boxing Day sales
Similar scenes were spotted in Parramatta Westfield’s as shoppers went about their business ignoring COVID rules (pictured)
Queues snaking outside the door were spotted at DFO in Homebush in Sydney’s west on Saturday.
Similar scenes were occurring in Parramatta Westfield’s as shoppers went about their business without socially distancing.
In the CBD however it was a different story with very few shoppers making their rounds in Pitt St.
Barricades and security guards were set up along the shopping strip on Saturday morning in preparation for an influx of shoppers.
In earlier years, there hasn’t been an inch of space in the city’s Pitt Street Mall with countless shoppers flooding in to pick up the best discounts.
Things did take a turn toward the afternoon as more people flocked to the city to see what bargain they can get their hands on.
Huge crowds of shoppers were spotted at Parramatta Westfields as people tried to get their hands on bargain or two (pictured)
A retail worker is seen waiting outside to welcome shoppers on Boxing Day in Sydney
Shoppers are seen around empty crowd control barriers at Pitt Street Mall on Boxing Day
Security are seen around empty crowd control barriers at Pitt Street Mall on Boxing Day
Eager shoppers usually get to the doors as early as 6am to take part in the marathon shopping event but there were only a handful of people waiting outside retailer David Jones on Saturday morning.
Social distancing markers had been placed around stores to ensure a steady stream of customers were separated but most were not being used.
Ms Berejiklian on Christmas issued a stern warning to those thinking about heading to the Boxing Day sales.
‘We’d prefer it if people did not go to the CBD tomorrow because then you have people from all over Sydney coming to the one location and it only takes one or two cases for it to then spread everywhere else – and we don’t want to see that happen.
‘I cannot stress enough how urgent the people to reduce their mobility, not to undertake any activity unless they absolutely have to and please avoid the CBD where you can.
‘If you must go to the CBD and you must go shopping, make sure you’re wearing a mask and are socially distancing.’
It seemed most residents followed her advice and although the crowds picked up as the day went on, it was a stark contrast to last year’s turnout.
Many shoppers were also seen without masks despite the government repeatedly suggesting they should be worn at all shopping centres.
Security guards are seen waiting outside a Myer in Sydney’s Westfield on Boxing Day
One eager shopper managed to get his hands on several Nike items during Boxing Day’s huge sales in Sydney
A young woman is seen leaving a store on Saturday. Nine new cases were recorded across Sydney
Covid-marshalls as well as police officers were also seen patrolling the shops on Saturday morning as the crowds began to grow
One couple are seen shopping in Sydney on Saturday during the massive Boxing Day sales
Few shoppers were seen heading into David Jones in Sydney’s CBD on Saturday. Premier Gladys Berejiklian had warned residents to avoid the CBD
The Australian Retailers Association had earlier predicted Australians would spend $19.5billion from Boxing Day to January 15.
But while the stores may have been empty, customers are still expected to indulge in online shopping over the holiday break with most brands offering digital sales.
Covid marshalls as well as police officers were patrolling the shops on Saturday morning as the crowds began to grow.
The hesitation to go shopping came after it was announced nine new cases had been recorded on Saturday – including a child – after almost 40,000 people were tested for the virus on Christmas Day.
Ms Berejiklian said eight of the nine new infections reported were linked to the Avalon cluster on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The ninth infection could be a false positive, she said.
Six of the eight cases on the Northern Beaches were in the same household and the other two had been identified as close contacts after the virus was previously transmitted in Paddington and at the Avalon Bowling Club.
This year’s Boxing Day sales were a stark contrast to the turnout at 2019 (pictured) with shops flooded with eager customers
Pictured: Barricades are used to block streets around Pitt Street Mall, George Street and Elizabeth Streets during the Boxing Day sales last year
Pictured: Shoppers line up during Boxing Day sales in Pitt St Mall in Sydney in 2019
A store employee is seen giving a customer a temperature check during this year’s Boxing Day sales
Pitt Street Mall was eerily quiet this year with coronavirus cases prompting many Sydney-siders to stay at home
Masked shoppers are seen walking through the CBD in Sydney on Saturday ahead of Boxing Day sales
The premier said the Northern Beaches would revert back to the pre-Christmas stay-at-home orders from December 27, with some slight changes.
Outdoor gatherings of five people on the northern end of the Northern Beaches will be permissible from Sunday.
On the southern end of the Northern Beaches, in suburbs such as Manly, outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed.
The health orders will be revised on December 30.
Photos from last year’s sales in Sydney tell a different story with Pitt Street and Elizabeth Street packed with eager shoppers.
The sales were so big that the retail association had estimated Australians would spend $2.62billion on December 26 alone.
Some dedicated customers even camped out the night before to ensure they wouldn’t miss out on the best deals.