TWO restaurants have been added to Newcastle's growing list of exposure sites as health authorities race to track COVID's movement in the region.
Hunter New England Health late on Sunday night announced anyone who attended Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant at The Junction any time from Saturday July 31 to August 5 or Mr Rice Takeaway on Darby Street from 3pm to 3.20pm on August 4 is considered a close contact.
That means they must get tested, isolate for 14 days and await further advice from NSW Health.
Two Tamworth venues, the Inland Cafe and Tudor Hotel, were also added to the list for windows on August 5: the former between 9.15am and 10am, the latter between 11am and 11.40am.
Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery said NSW Health had also advised her that anyone who attended Coles Medowie from 6.15pm to 6.45pm on Wednesday August 4 was a casual contact.
Anyone who visited Aldi Raymond Terrace between 4.05am and 4.30am also fell in that category, she said.
Casual contacts must get tested and isolate until they return a negative result.
"If your date of exposure at this venue occurred in last four days, you must get another test on day five from the date of exposure," Ms Hornery said.
"Wear a mask around others and limit your movements until you get another negative result. You should continue to monitor for symptoms and if any symptoms occur, get tested again."
While not included in the latest Hunter New England Health list, positive customers had also shopped at Coles at Wallsend and Toronto according to the supermarket giant.
On its website the company said a positive case visited Wallsend between 4.45pm and 5.15pm on August 2, making anyone in the store at that time a casual contact.
At Toronto, the customer who tested positive attended between 5.20pm and 5.35pm the same day.
"Frequent cleaning and sanitisation has occurred in the time since the customer was last on site," Coles said in a statement.
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Hunter business groups have also expressed concern at the region's rising case numbers potentially extending the tight lockdown imposed on the Hunter until at least Thursday.
"Case numbers are nearing 20 in the Hunter which puts us at risk of extended lockdowns beyond 12 August. This is not a situation we want to be in. It will have a devastating impact on communities and businesses, so we urge people to take this seriously," Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes said.
"We're dealing with a week of business shutdowns on the back of an incident that occurred in breach of health orders - this should never have happened six weeks after Greater Sydney was locked down.
"It's troubling that we're still hearing media of reports of selfish acts in clear defiance of the health orders. It's not on and we should be loathe as a community to allow a difficult situation to get worse."
Mr Hawes said the two sectors bearing the brunt of lockdown, accommodation and food service as well as arts and recreation, employ about 26,860 people in the Hunter.
They provide about $21.7 million in weekly wages and generate $80.6 million in average weekly output, he said.
"The economic contribution by these sectors has been devastated", Mr Hawes said.
"I can't imagine these sectors sustaining extended lockdowns knowing the activity here in the Hunter was already struggling when Sydney first went into restrictions.
"We should heed the pleas of the government and health officials. If people continue to bend the rules, we're looking at continual shutdowns.
"Any business currently on a knife's edge will then surely be at risk of closure. What does that look like for employment and business confidence in the future?
"When you consider the weight of the economic and health costs, it is arguable the sanctions for breaches are not going far enough - they are clearly not a deterrent for some people.
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