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NSW given first glimpse of freedom after months of lockdown

James Mitchell
28 September 2021 2 minute readShare
NSW given first glimpse of freedom after months of lockdown

The NSW government has announced its much-anticipated plan to reopen the state after almost 100 days in lockdown.

From the Monday after NSW hits the 80% (aged 16 and over) double-dose vaccination target, eased restrictions will allow those who are fully vaccinated to have up to 10 people visit their home, participate in community sport, and access hospitality venues (where drinking while standing up will be allowed indoors). All premises will operate at one person per 4 sq m indoors and one person per 2 sq m outdoors.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the 80% roadmap will also remove the limit of fully vaccinated guests for weddings and funerals and remove customer caps for personal services such as hairdressers.

“I know people are counting down the minutes until we reach 70% double dose and the freedoms that will provide, and today we are providing further certainty by announcing the 80% roadmap and future settings,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Vaccination remains our ticket to freedom, so we need to work even harder to get jabs in arms, to help stop the spread, minimise outbreaks and ensure people are protected when we open up.”

Given updated health advice, adjustments have been made to the 70% roadmap. Regional travel will now not be allowed until 80% (fully vaccinated only), and a booking cap has been introduced for hospitality venues of 20 people per booking.

Retail stores will be able to operate at one person per 4 sq m. Those who are not fully vaccinated will continue to only have access to non-critical retail via click and collect.

Personal services such as hairdressers, spa, nail, beauty, waxing, tattoo and massage will also operate with one person per 4 sq m.

Hospitality venues can operate with one person per 4 sq m inside and one person per 2 sq m outside, with the requirement to be seated while drinking indoors removed. Group bookings will be limited to 20 people. Those who are not fully vaccinated can only access hospitality settings for takeaway.

Gyms and indoor recreation facilities (excluding indoor pools) can operate with one person per 4 sq m, capped at 20 people per class.

“It’s been an uncertain time for many businesses with lots of confusion about which businesses will be able to open and under what rules,” Business NSW chief executive Daniel Hunter said.

“The release of the Public Health Orders in coming days will reconfirm that the onus will be on individuals to do the right thing and abide by the rules.

“Business owners can’t be expected to also act as security guards, so long as they have a COVIDSafe plan and appropriate registration in place at their entry, they can get on with the business of being in business.”

The Premier has confirmed that 11 October is the day we will likely reopen at 70% double vaccination rate. Mr Hunter said Business Australia is calling this #backtobusiness day, because it will be a real celebration of being able to visit our favourite businesses again and to celebrate what we’ve missed over the past 95 days.

“A number of greater freedoms will come into place at the 80% double vaccination rate, which on current trends could be as soon as 25 October,” he said.

“That day will also see a number of major milestones, including the option of returning to the office for those who’ve been fully vaccinated.”

The roadmap may be fine-tuned by NSW Health as the state government monitors the COVID-19 situation over the coming weeks.

From 1 December, further changes will be introduced including all venues moving to the 2 sq m rule, masks will not be required indoors at offices, indoor pools and nightclubs can reopen, and unvaccinated people will have greater freedoms.

NSW given first glimpse of freedom after months of lockdown
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James Mitchell

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