A snap lockdown has been announced for the Hunter and Upper Hunter region of NSW from 5pm today.

The lockdown is due to lift at midnight on August 12 at this stage, with the region’s hotels hoping for short, sharp lockdown, rather than the extended lockdown being experienced by their Greater Sydney counterparts.

The state recorded 262 new infections and five deaths in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday, the highest daily number recorded in NSW to date.

A beach gathering on Friday night has been pinpointed as the source of the infection, and affected LGAs are Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton and Muswellbrook.

The AHA’s Newcastle Hunter president Rolly de With says a similar seven-day snap lockdown in Orange saw businesses re-opened after seven days – and he said he hoped that will be the case in the Hunter.

“While obviously this is not news any of us wanted to hear, the last thing we want to see in the Hunter is an extended lockdown like the Greater Sydney area is going through right now,” he said.

“Hunter hotels have led the way since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do the right thing, abiding by the health orders, but is important to realise any lockdown at all is devastating for our workforce of more than 15,000 staff as well as all associated industry operators and staff.”

Hunter region hotels had been doing it tough alongside the rest of the industry, de With noted.

“It is also important to remember the broader hotel industry has been operating under restricted trading conditions for 17 months now and counting – that has had a huge impact on Hunter hoteliers and our hardworking staff.”

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