Millions of Australians to be forced to wear MASKS to sing Christmas carols as sweeping changes are made to coronavirus rules in time for the festive season - here's all the restrictions you need to know
New South Wales will ease further coronavirus restrictions on outdoor events and religious gatherings in time for the festive season.
The latest string of rules relaxed for Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations come as the state recorded a 12th straight day of zero locally acquired COVID-19 cases.
'Controlled' ticketed outdoor events such as Christmas carols have been given the green light to go ahead with attendances of up to 3,000.
One person per two square metres will apply at events with allocated seating, while a four-square-metre rule will apply to those sitting on picnic rugs.
From Monday, choirs of up to 30 will be able to sing outdoors but must a wear a mask if over the age of 12 while capacity at outdoor church services will increase to 500.
The mask rule also applies to events and religious services outdoors.
From December, 300 will be allowed at funerals to bring them in line with the capacity at weddings and corporate functions.
'2020 has been a tough year for everyone and we want people to be able to look forward to the festive season in a COVID-Safe way,' NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
She hinted the 20-person limit on visitors allowed in homes could be increased in the coming weeks to allow for large Christmas family celebrations.
'This can only work if all of us stick together and do the right thing,' Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Thursday.
'Even though we're easing these restrictions as one-offs, it doesn't reduce how contagious the virus is or how concerned we might be if suddenly an outbreak consumed a large number of people in a particular location,' she said.
The Premier also confirmed Sydney's famous New Year's Eve fireworks will go ahead but with restrictions.
The fireworks speculated with be shortened to seven minutes with premium harbourside viewing spots reserved for frontline workers as a thank you for keeping the state safe in 2020.
You will not be able to enter designated zones around Circular Quay, North Sydney and the CBD unless you have a Service NSW permit.
'New Year's Eve is the chance for Sydney and NSW to shine on the world stage. Despite being a smaller celebration to normal, this New Years demonstrates that we are open for business and NSW will bring in 2021 with confidence,' tourism minister Stuart Ayres said.
NSW Health recorded five COVID-19 cases on Thursday, who were all returned travellers in hotel quarantine.