Following Tamworth, Armidale, and Byron Bay earlier in the week, Canberra and the Dubbo region have entered into lockdown in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 on Australia’s east coast.

With 390 new COVID cases announced today — and 345 new cases announced yesterday — concerns are growing about the regional spread of the virus, with 25 of the day’s figures being recorded in Dubbo. Two new cases were announced in Canberra today, following four yesterday.

There were no new cases recorded in Tamworth, Armidale and the Northern Rivers (Byron Bay) regions. 

The parts of Australia under lockdown (beyond Greater Sydney), with associated restrictions applying to the on-premise sale of food and alcohol, now spread from Melbourne in the country’s south, to the nation’s capital Canberra, to regional centres in western and northern NSW.

Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the government has begun talks with hospitality industry “heavyweights” to discuss opening pubs and bars in the harbour city to fully vaccinated staff and patrons as early as September. 

AHA NSW CEO John Whelan, Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes and Laundy Hotels’ Craig Laundy are reported to be “heading the charge” to open venues “as soon as it is safe”. 

In the off-premise, retailers are also being urged to ensure they are complying with all the latest public health orders, with SafeWork NSW inspectors set to be out in force to check compliance this weekend.

As reported by National Liquor News, SafeWork NSW inspectors will be targeting retailers from Saturday, with businesses found to be breaking the rules potentially subject to fines or closure.

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