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Sydney crowds get ready to count down to 2022



At least 17,000 people are expected to pack the harbour for tonight’s fireworks with five of City of Sydney’s six designated vantage points already sold out.Anissa Baiquni and her partner Jamie Bryant were among those who nabbed an early spot at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.She said they weren’t deterred after the state reported 21,151 new Covid cases earlier on Friday.“We got here to find a spot about 12.30pm,” Anissa said.“There’s a lot of space between people so it’s quite nice and we’re outdoors, so we’re not worried.”Sydney’s fireworks vantage points are ticketed this year for the first time ever, in an effort to manage capacity and social distancing.But police are still preparing for a crowd, with mounted officers, PolAir and the marine command already on patrol.Tonight’s 9pm city fireworks will be a celebration of indigenous culture, while the midnight display is themed ‘see Sydney shine’.Fortunato Foti, creative director at the family-run Foti Fireworks, said the show involved 12 months of planning, three months of production at their factory and 10 days of installation.“The most challenging part this time around was the weather and Covid,” Mr Foti said. “We ended up with a few of the team positive but we had testing on site and we managed, we got through that rain before Christmas and got it set up.“This was our 25th year doing Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks and we were just as excited as we were the first time.”The world will watch on as six tonnes of fireworks, 25,000 shooting effects, 9000 aerial shells and 80,000 pyrotechnic effects explode into the sky.Not all partygoers will be harbourside though with many preparing celebrate from restaurants and bars across the city.NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said QR codes, masks and social distancing should be used, and revellers should take a rapid antigen test before going out if possible.She said the safest way to ring in the New Year was outdoors.“It’s important to remember that Covid-19 is active in our communities and people are at an increased risk of contracting Covid-19, particularly in indoor environments,” Dr Chant said. “We’re urging people to avoid mingling in large groups where possible and hold your events outside if you can. “If you’re inside, keep your gathering small and make sure the area is well ventilated by opening doors and windows.”NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres urged those attending the fireworks or other events across the city to practise “personal responsibility”.“When you feel it’s required, don’t be afraid to put a mask on, we know it makes a difference,” Mr Ayres said.“It’s a fantastic thing that we’re able to put on the fireworks … but we want to make sure we do it in a safe way.”Local fireworks displays across Greater Sydney are also expected to see a strong turnout despite the Covid outbreak, with events planned at Liverpool, Parramatta, Randwick and the Northern Beaches. Got a news tip? Email – Stay Informed – Social Media

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