NSW gyms forced to host ‘COVIDSafe marshals’ as Queensland shuts border to Sydney

COVIDSafe marshals

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Source: AAP/Dan Himbrechts.

Gyms in NSW will be required to host ‘COVIDSafe marshals’ under a new state government effort to stem the tide of coronavirus cases across the state.

From midnight Saturday, all gyms and fitness centres across Australia’s most populous state will be required to comply with the new restrictions after NSW recorded another 19 coronavirus cases overnight.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said the state could not afford to be complacent with persistent case numbers as a second wave of infections engulfs Victoria.

“Businesses must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of COVID transmission or risk facing a fine or closure,” he told reporters.

The marshals, which are already required for large pubs in NSW, ensure social distancing, cleaning and other hygiene measures mandated under the state’s COVIDSafe business plans are adhered to.

Last week, NSW Premier Gladys Berijiklian moved to make COVIDSafe business plans mandatory for businesses across the state, after authorities realised many businesses weren’t following the rules.

But the Premier has thus far been remiss to return to tougher trading restrictions, like those currently in effect across metropolitan Melbourne, despite clusters of coronavirus cases popping up across Sydney in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declared the entirety of greater Sydney a coronavirus hotspot and closed the state’s border to NSW, effective from 1am on Saturday.

The toughening of border restrictions, which comes after more than a month of discussions about easing movement rules, is a set back for the tourism and hospitality industries, but Palaszczuk maintains the safety of Queenslanders comes first.

“We do not want a second wave here.

“We do not want widespread community transmission,” the Qld Premier said.

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