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COVID safety during the festive season

Christmas is coming and, as with last year, COVID cases are on the rise again with a 15 per cent increase during the latest reporting period.

While regulations and self-isolation rules are not as strict as they were last Christmas, we all still want to stay safe and do our best to prevent the spread.

Christmas is the time of the year when families, friends and colleagues come together and celebrate. Such gatherings may also increase your risk of getting infected with COVID or spreading the disease to others.

Even if most of us are fully vaccinated and received their booster(s) – it is still advisable to follow basic infection prevention measures to minimize the risk of spreading COVID.


Remember to stay up to date with your vaccinations, including any recommended boosters. While the vaccine might not protect you from getting infected, it will reduce your symptoms and the risk of passing the virus on to others. Vaccination is the most effective measure to protect you from developing severe disease and needing hospital care, especially if you have underlying conditions and a high-risk profile.

For more information on COVID vaccines and booster eligibility, please visit:


Apply general infection prevention measures such as covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing and remember to practise good hand hygiene.


Wear a mask in crowded indoor places, including on public transport, or where you can’t socially distance.


If you are meeting your loved ones indoors, make sure that the place is well ventilated. This reduces the risk of COVID spread.


If you experience respiratory symptoms or feel unwell it is advisable to take a Rapid Antigen Test, and if this test turns out negative but symptoms persist, consider booking a PCR test to rule out COVID before meeting your loved ones.

Testing clinics can be found here: COVID-19 testing clinics | NSW Government


If you test positive for COVID19 please stay at home. This is recommended for at least 7 days after testing positive and until your symptoms have resolved or have considerably improved.

For more information on how to manage COVID safely, please visit:

Ideas for a Virtual Christmas

Discuss other options for meeting your loved ones during the holiday season such as video calls or rescheduling family gatherings if possible. Ideas for a Virtual Christmas could involve singing Carols together on a video call, looking at family photos and sharing them on the screen, reading out Christmas tales or cooking together e.g., on FaceTime or Zoom. Dropping off food at COVID positive loved one’s houses is also an option, as long as you can avoid contact.

It may also help to proactively discuss this with your family before Christmas (“What will we do if someone in our family tests positive or develops symptoms before we all come together”) to be prepared and have a plan.

After hours and holiday GP services

Christmas and New Year - General Practice Opening Hours

The PHN is developing a comprehensive guide with general practice opening hours for the 2022-23 Christmas and New Year period.

The guide will be published on the PHN website prior to the Christmas shutdown period in pdf format for ease of viewing and printing.

Practices can advise of their Christmas & New Year opening hours by completing this form: Christmas and New Year Opening Hours

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