What’s Open (And Still Closed) in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & the Hunter

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Our region is starting to reopen due to successful efforts to flatten the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, please continue to practice social and physical distancing efforts as well as download the COVIDSafe contact tracking app. Below is a list of what is open and closed in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter area. We will continue to monitor for new information around the region and will update and add to this list accordingly. Keep in mind that this list is accumulated from MANY sources and although we do our best to be accurate, there may be errors or a delay in updating. If you find a mistake, please contact us.

UPCOMING CHANGES FROM 1 JULY

  • Kids’ sport and community sports competitions for those aged 18 years and under.
  • Adult community sport.
  • The number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the one person per 4 square metre rule, with no upper limit. This includes function centres. All activity must be seated only.
  • Cultural and sporting events at outdoor venues with a maximum capacity of 40,000 will be allowed up to 25% of their normal capacity. Events must be ticketed and seated and follow strict guidelines.

PREVIOUS UPDATE SATURDAY 13 JUNE

  • Fitness, gyms, pilates, yoga and dance studios can reopen with up to 10 people per class and 100 people in an indoor venue.
  • Community centres, including their recreational facilities can reopen.
  • Tattoo and massage parlours can reopen with up to 10 clients.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: The NSW government has announced that lockdown rules will be modified. Now:

  • pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants can have up to 50 customers.
  • Pubs, clubs, small bars, cellar doors, micro-breweries, small distilleries and casinos may open with restrictions.
  • Visits to museums, galleries and libraries permitted
  • Regional travel within NSW permitted as of 1 June 2020.
  • Salons offering nail, waxing, tanning and beauty services may open with restrictions.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: 18 May: The NSW government has announced that lockdown rules will be modified.

  • NSW public school students will return to the classroom on a full-time basis starting Monday 25 May 2020

PREVIOUS UPDATE: 10 May: The NSW government has announced that social distancing rules will be relaxed slightly from Friday 15 May.

  • Cafes and restaurants can have up to 10 patrons at any one time
  • Playgrounds will be reopening
  • Residents can have outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
  • Up to 5 visitors to a household at any one time
  • Outdoor gym equipment in parks reopening
  • Outdoor pools to be reopened. However, no change rooms and a cap of 10 people using the pool
  • Places of worship can have up to 10 people
  • Weddings can have up to 10 guests

While outdoor facilities will be open from Friday morning, the community is encouraged to follow social distancing rules of 1.5 metres, limit their outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people, and continue to practice safe hygiene and wash hands regularly.

For all the latest details about the current COVID-19 restrictions in NSW, visit NSW State Website

Parks, Playgrounds, Trails & Outdoor Spaces

With the 10 May announcement of the relaxation of social distancing rules, we know that playgrounds and outdoor exercise should be reopening on Friday 15 May. However, individual councils will need to confirm what else is reopening in our communities such as skateparks, off-leash dog parks and shelters. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more in the next few days. In the meantime, the NSW Government’s Public Health Order No.65 (gazetted 30 March 2020) remains in effect.

City of Newcastle

  • Blackbutt Reserve – Playgrounds, walking trails, open spaces, shelters and barbecues at Blackbutt Reserve are open. The Boardwalk is now open to the public with strict one-way flow of foot traffic and social distancing measures in place at the animal exhibits. This follows advice of the NSW Government and the easing of restrictions around outdoor gatherings and use of outdoor equipment. The kiosk with remain closed to public access, to ensure physical distancing measures continue.  Public programs, including animal feedings, remain suspended until further notice.  OPEN
  • Playgrounds – OPEN
  • BBQs and shelters – OPEN
  • Fenced off-leash dog parks – OPEN
  • Skateparks – OPEN
  • Exercise equipment – OPEN
  • For more information, visit City of Newcastle COVID-19 Updates

Lake Macquarie City Council

  • Playgrounds – OPEN
  • BBQs and shelters – OPEN
  • Fenced off-leash dog parks – Open – Leash free areas are open for the purposes of exercise. Speers Point fenced dog exercise area is closed while maintenance works are undertaken
  • Skateparks – OPEN
  • Exercise equipment – OPEN
  • For more information, visit Lake Macquarie City Council COVID-19 Updates

Maitland City Council

  • Playgrounds – OPEN
  • BBQs and shelters – OPEN
  • Fenced off-leash dog parks – CLOSED
  • Skateparks – OPEN – While skate parks can now be used with caution, a maximum of ten people will be permitted into the spaces at any one time and social distancing must be adhered to
  • BMX Track at Tenambit – Tenambit BMX Track will reopen from Monday 25 May with restrictions. REOPENING
  • Tennis courts – will reopen from Monday 25 May with restrictions. REOPENING
  • Exercise equipment – OPEN
  • For more information, visit Maitland City Council COVID-19 Updates

Cessnock City Council

  • Playgrounds – OPEN
  • BBQs and shelters OPEN
  • Fenced off-leash dog parks – CLOSED
  • Skateparks – CLOSED
  • Exercise equipment – No confirmation yet that areas will be reopening from Friday 15 May
  • For more information, visit Cessnock City Council COVID-19 Updates

Port Stephens City Council

  • Playgrounds – OPEN. PS Council advises to use with caution. Wash your hands before and after use. Assume the person who used the equipment before you has the virus.
  • BBQs and shelters – OPEN
  • Fenced off-leash dog parks – OPEN
  • Skate and BMX parks – OPEN
  • Exercise equipment – OPEN. PS Council advises to use with caution. Wash your hands before and after use. Assume the person who used the equipment before you has the virus.
  • Boat ramps – boat ramps are open to essential users and local residents only.
  • For more information, visit Port Stephens Council COVID-19 Updates

Libraries

Lake Macquarie Libraries

All library branches at Belmont, Cardiff, Charlestown, Edgeworth, Morisset, Redhead, Speers Point, Swansea and Toronto are closed bLake Mac Libraries will reopen to the public from Monday 1 June. Customers must be a Lake Mac Libraries member to enter the facility. If they aren’t a member they will be required to sign up to become one when entering the facility to assist with contact tracing. Customers will be encouraged to limit their visits to under 20 minutes. A range of strict health protocols will be implemented at each branch to ensure the safety of everyone in the community. This includes limiting the number of people inside facilities, implementing social distancing measures across all venues and ensuring appropriate sanitation procedures are followed. For more information and to access Lake Mac Libraries online services visit library.lakemac.com.auREOPENING 1 JUNE

Newcastle Libraries

Newcastle Libraries branches at Newcastle (City) and Wallsend libraries will be open for member access from 15 June. The service initially available on an ‘express’ basis from 9am-6.30pm – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 9.30am-1.30pm – Saturdays. he first hour of opening on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays will be reserved for access by vulnerable members only. Please limit your visit to 30 minutes or less. Branch operations are temporarily suspended at Adamstown, Beresfield, Hamilton, Lambton, Mayfield, New Lambton and Stockton.

Maitland Library

Maitland Library branches reopening from Monday 1 June for reduced hours of 9.00am until 5.00pm on weekdays and 9.00am until 1.00pm on Saturdays Maitland, East Maitland, Rutherford and Thornton branches. REOPENING 1 JUNE

Cessnock Library

Cessnock Library is offering digital services only as front-facing services and branch operations are temporarily suspended at Cessnock and Kurri Kurri libraries. CLOSED

Port Stephens Libraries

All library branches at Raymond Terrace, Tilligerry and Tomaree are closed. However, you can still access their Homebound Delivery and Call and Collect services, as well as eLibrary servicesCLOSED

Museums, Art Galleries & Venues

  • Cessnock Performing Arts CentreCLOSED
  • Civic Theatre NewcastleCLOSED
  • Fort ScratchleyCLOSED
  • The Lockup – CLOSED
  • Maitland Gaol – Maitland Gaol will reopen on Thursday 4 June for self guided audio tours only, with visitors to bring their own device. Guided tours of Maitland Gaol remain suspended. REOPENING 4 JUNE
  • Maitland Regional Art Gallery – MRAG will reopen from Thursday 4 June.  As part of the Government’s health guidelines, MRAG is opening under reduced services with some restrictions in place to keep everybody safe. This includes the introduction of an online (free) ticket for your visit. This is a restriction put in place while they remain responsive and adaptive to the COVID-19 guidelines. It enables them to maintain reduced numbers in the Gallery. MRAG tours, programs and events remain suspended. Seraphine Café remains closed during refurbishment. REOPENING 4 JUNE
  • Morpeth Museum – CLOSED
  • Museum of Art and Culture in Booragul – The Museum of Art and Culture will re-open from Tuesday 2 June. The hugely popular First Class 19 and Guan Wei exhibitions have both been extended and will be available for public viewing. The Sculpture Cafe will also be open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-2pm with takeaway food and coffee available, plus daily specials. A range of MAC’s programs, activities and resources are available online. REOPENING 2 JUNE
  • Newcastle Art Gallery will re-open on Tuesday 2 June with social distancing in place, reduced hours and a temporary online booking system. REOPENING 2 JUNE
  • Newcastle MuseumCLOSED
  • Swansea Centre – CLOSED

Schools & Universities

Primary & High Schools

NSW public school students will return to the classroom on a full-time basis starting Monday 25 May 2020. Catholic students returning to classroom on Monday 1 June.

University of Newcastle

Most classes at the University of Newcastle transitioned to remote learning and teaching from 23 March 2020. Their intention is to return to face-to-face teaching for the majority of classes on campus from Semester 2 and Trimester 3.

TAFE NSW

TAFE NSW has recommenced most training and educational programs through connected and blended delivery options. This may include modified face to face delivery where necessary and where adequate social distancing measures can be implemented. Campuses and libraries are open.

Beaches, Pools & Ocean Baths

With the 10 May announcement of the relaxation of social distancing rules, we know that outdoor pools will reopen with restrictions. However, individual councils will need to confirm what else is reopening in our communities such as beaches, etc. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more in the next few days. In the meantime, the NSW Government’s Public Health Order No.65 (gazetted 30 March 2020) remains in effect. Exercise is permitted as long as done in accordance with the NSW Government’s Public Health Order No. 65. This includes limiting gatherings to no more than two people, and being outdoors for the purpose of exercise. Swimming is a form of exercise. However, as beaches are closed, please be aware that swimming is at your own risk as red and yellow flags are not displayed.

City of Newcastle

  • Beaches at Stockton, Nobbys, Newcastle, Bar Beach, Dixon Park and Merewether – CLOSED
  • Ocean Baths including changerooms at Merewether Ocean Baths and Newcastle Ocean Baths – Merewether and Newcastle Ocean Baths are open, subject to the regular maintenance and cleaning schedule. The amenities at these facilities are limited to 5 people in line with physical distancing measures, but changerooms will remain closed under the NSW Public Health Order. Social distancing and the Public Health Order guidelines must always be adhered to when using the Ocean Baths.
  • Swim Centres (Lambton, Mayfield, Stockton, Wallsend and Beresfield) – CLOSED

Lake Macquarie City Council

  • Beaches at Redhead, Catherine Hill Bay, Caves and Blacksmiths – Patrols at Lake Macquarie Beaches (Redhead, Catherine Hill Bay, Caves and Blacksmiths) have concluded for the season. Beaches can be used for exercise purposes only, and users are reminded to practice social distancing.
  • Boat ramps and jetties – OPEN
  • Swim Centres (Toronto, Swansea, Morisset and West Wallsend) – CLOSED
  • Charlestown Swim Centre – OPEN reopening to the community for lap swimming from Friday 15 May with swimmers required to pre-book a session to attend the pool. For more information, visit Lake Macquarie Charlestown Swim Centre website.
  • Speers Point Swim Centre – Charlestown Swim Centre – REOPENING reopening to the community for lap swimming from Monday 25 May with swimmers required to pre-book a session to attend the pool. For more information, visit Lake Macquarie Charlestown Swim Centre website.
  • Swimming baths including Belmont Baths and Grannies Pool – Reopening from Friday 15 May

Maitland City Council

Cessnock City Council

Port Stephens City Council

  • Beaches — all beaches are closed for public gatherings. Lifeguard services have been modified at Birubi, Fingal and One Mile beaches, with no flagged swimming areas – CLOSED
  • All camping and beach driving at Samurai Beach and the Worimi Conservation Lands is currently closed. CLOSED
  • Aquatic and leisure centres at Tomaree and Tilligerry – CLOSED

Local Activities & Attractions

Cafes & Restaurants

  • Restaurants and cafes limited to takeaway and/or home delivery. Takeaway food must be consumed off the premises. Starting Friday 15 May, cafes and restaurants can have up to 10 patrons at any one time. Starting 1 June pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants can have up to 50 customers. OPEN BUT RESTRICTED

Retail

You may leave your home to shop for groceries and essentials. You may also assist vulnerable people by shopping for them.

  • Markets: food markets are open
  • Retail stores: 4 square metre rule applies in the store and you must comply with the gatherings rule and only travel to and enter the store with one other person or with members of your household

Gyms & Fitness Centres

  • Gyms and fitness centres are closed.Check directly with your gym for updates. CLOSED

Hair Salons & Barbers

  • Restricted services. 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies in the premises. Check with your local hair salon or barber to see if they are operating. OPEN

Caravan Parks & Camping Grounds

  • Regional travel for any reason within NSW will be permitted from 1 June 2020. Caravan parks and campgrounds are due to open on or after that date. OPENING 1 June 2020
  • Lake Mac Holiday Parks – A range of measures will be implemented including increased cleaning, strict hygiene, social distancing and contactless check-in procedures. REOPENING 1 JUNE
  • Port Stephens Holiday Parks – Holiday Parks will reopen in line with the easing of travel restrictions. REOPENING 1 JUNE
  • Stockton Holiday Park – REOPENING 1 JUNE

Travel Restrictions

Regional travel for any reason within NSW will be permitted from 1 June 2020.

A ban on overseas travel for all Australians came into effect on 25 March 2020. All visitors to Australia will have to self-isolate for 14 days from midnight Sunday 15 March. This includes Australians returning from holidays, business trips or other travel.

Local Events & Performances

The coronavirus outbreak has seen events being postponed or cancelled in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

  • City of Newcastle Park and Ride services – CANCELLED
  • Parkrun is cancelled until further notice. CANCELLED
  • Tocal Field Days scheduled for May 1 to 3 – CANCELLED
  • A Little Bit of Italy in Broke scheduled for May 1 to 3 – POSTPONED
  • Groovin’ The Moo scheduled for May 9 in Maitland – CANCELLED
  • You’re Kidding Me Family Expo presented by Lake Macquarie City Council scheduled for Friday 15 May – CANCELLED
  • Lovedale Long Lunch scheduled for the weekend of May 16 and 17 – SUSPENDED TICKET SALES
  • Disney’s Alice in Wonderland JR by Hunter Drama – POSTPONED
  • Star Struck scheduled for June 12 and 13 and Newcastle Entertainment Centre – CANCELLED
  • Newcastle Music Festival scheduled for August – CANCELLED

Local Sport

  • Local junior and professional sport to be recommencing soon.

Health Resources

For accurate information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, visit healthdirect, a federal government health website. For the latest alerts on coronavirus in Australia, visit the Department of Health website. The Australian Government has also set up a Coronavirus Health Information Line (1800 020 080). Call this line if you are seeking general information on novel coronavirus. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NSW Health has set up a website with specific information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Feeling Unwell?

NSW Health have public COVID-19 Clinics up and running across NSW. The Australian Government has also established free COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics in NSW.Testing is recommended if you have a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath and meet the current testing criteria.

To find out about testing please:

COVID-19 CLINICS

  • John Hunter Hospital Emergency Department in New Lambton Heights (02 4921 3000). A COVID-19 Flu clinic has been established at John Hunter Hospital. It’s open from 8am-10.30pm, 7 days a week.
  • Calvary Mater Hospital, ​Edith & Platt St, Waratah, NSW 2298 (02 4921 1211). Open ​12pm-4pm, Monday-Friday
  • Maitland Hospital, 50 High Street, Maitland (02 4939 2000). Open from ​10am-4pm, Monday to Friday
  • Belmont Hospital – This is a drive-through clinic where people are screened via phone before presenting. Please call 4923 2211 between 8am – 4pm, seven days a week for the clinic.
  • Raymond Terrace Respiratory Clinic – Entry is at rear of health centre on Swan Street, corner of Jacaranda Avenue. Phone clinic on (02) 4983 0900 when you have arrived, and remain in car until further instruction.
  • Scone Hospital – This is a drive-through clinic from 1:30pm – 3:30pm, Monday to Friday
  • Singleton Hospital – This is a drive-through clinic where people are screened via phone before presenting. Please call (02) 6571 9248 between 1:30pm – 3:30pm, Monday to Friday

For those residents who live in the southern end of Lake Macquarie, there is also a COVID-19 Flu clinic at Wyong Hospital open from 8:30am to 5pm, 7 days a week. Also a COVID-19 Flu Clinic at Gosford Hospital. It’s open from 9am-6pm, Monday-Friday and 10am-4pm, Saturday-Sunday.

After-Hours Chemists around Newcastle

We’ve compiled a list of late-night chemists in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter for those who need medications or supplies. Unfortunately, there’s no 24-hour chemist like in Sydney but some of these chemists are open after 6pm on weeknights and on weekends. Phone first to confirm that they are open.

Local City Councils (COVID-19) Response

Our local city councils have responded to COVID-19 as it began to spread locally in the communities.

Photo credit: Lake Macquarie City Council


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