Wollongong and Shellharbour will remain under lockdown beyond Friday, despite pleas to ease restrictions in at least the latter of the local government areas.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Wednesday that the stay-at-home orders would continue for another four weeks, until August 28, as another 177 locally acquired COVID-19 cases were recorded in NSW - the highest daily total since this outbreak began in June.
There had been hope some parts of the Greater Sydney area, like Shellharbour and the Central Coast, would be released.
The decision to continue the lockdown in Shellharbour was met with anger and frustration from some Illawarra politicians, including Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson and Kiama MP Gareth Ward.
"If I thought there was a good reason for it, if the premier or the minister could provide me with a good reason for it, then I could accept that, as could the community," Ms Watson said.
"But there is no good reason for it."
Ms Watson said she had sought answers for weeks from the NSW government as to why Shellharbour was subject to the stay-at-home orders, but had received no satisfactory answers.
Ms Berejiklian left the door open for potential changes to restrictions in some areas in the future.
"If we find, in the next few weeks for example, that parts of metropolitan Sydney like the Central Coast, Wollongong or Shellharbour are doing better and don't have any virus, we can also take decisions as we did in Orange... to allow those communities to live more freely," Ms Berejiklian said.
But Ms Watson said Shellharbour had already achieved that.
"We've been in lockdown since the 26th of June with no COVID cases," she said.
Mr Ward, another a vocal opponent of Shellharbour's lockdown, released a joint statement with Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba criticising the city's inclusion in the extension.
"If COVID was rife throughout the Illawarra and there were no cases in Sydney, I daresay Sydney wouldn't be in lockdown in solidarity with the Illawarra," Mr Ward said.
Ryan Park, the Member for Keira and Labor health spokesperson, said the health advice needed to be followed, but more information and clarity around how long lockdown would last where rates of transmission remained low was wanted.
"I know that the community and small business and workers are really frustrated, but we will continue to raise the concerns directly with the chief health officer and the minister," Mr Park said.
Wollongong MP Paul Scully also acknowledged the disappointment of residents, but said it was what the public health advice suggested.
"I cannot help but think in part that has something to do with the protest rally that was held last weekend locally," Mr Scully said.
He said the additional financial support announced on Wednesday was an acknowledgement that the first round was inadequate.
The JobSaver program and disaster relief payments are being expanded.
"It'll be a question of how quickly that gets into the pockets of the people and the businesses in Wollongong who have been doing it tough, and doing it really tough, over the last few weeks," Mr Scully said.
"It's got to move out quickly, and it's got to get into pockets quickly to try to help them through an incredibly difficult period."
A resident of the Wollongong local government area was among the 177 new cases reported on Wednesday.
They are isolating at home and investigations into the source of their infection are ongoing.
There have been 15 COVID-19 cases among Wollongong residents during this outbreak, eight of which have been detected within the past 10 days.
While lockdown continues, construction at non-occupied sites can resume from Saturday.
People living alone will be permitted to have a nominated person visit them for companionship.
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