Sydney’s NYE fireworks to be scaled down

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Sydney, Nov 10: Sydney’s upcoming New Year’s Eve firework display will be scaled down by several minutes and spectators will be banned from harbour-side vantage points in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

On Monday, Berejiklian revealed that people would need a dedicated booking at a pub, restaurant or bar in order to gain access to the city centre on December 31.

“So long as you have a dedicated ticket and somewhere to go, you will be allowed into the CBD (Central Business District),” Berejiklian said.

Due to its time zone, Sydney usually hosts the first major New Year’s Eve celebrations of the globe, centering on the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, in a display which attracts thousands of people to the harbour and surrounding area.

Berejiklian revealed that a 9 p.m., family-friendly fireworks display had been cancelled, and that the midnight display would only last for a couple of minutes.

“In terms of the public spaces where normally thousands and thousands congregate that won’t be happening this year,” she said.

However as an acknowledgement for all their hard work, several sites will be specifically set aside for frontline health workers and firefighters to watch the display, recognising their significant contribution to the country over the difficult past year.

“The vast majority of us will be enjoying celebrating New Year’s Eve from home this year … and I think that is the best way. It’s enjoying welcoming in the New Year in a COVID-safe way,” Berejiklian added.

Of Australia’s overall Covid-19 caseload of 27,668, NSW accounts for 4,469 infections, while 53 fatalities in the state contribute to the country’s death toll of 907.

The worst-hit state Victoria has so far reported 20,345 cases and 819 deaths.

(IANS)