After reaching its first vaccination milestone, NSW is about to reap the rewards – with bonuses.
The NSW Government is lifting a raft of restrictions on October 11 – the Monday after NSW reached its double-dose vaccination target of 70 per cent this week.
And under new Premier Dominic Perrottet, the restrictions come with a wider scope.
Changes to freedoms
From October 11, fully vaccinated people can have up to 10 visitors in their home (not including children aged 12 and under). Under former Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s ‘Roadmap to Freedom’, this was capped at five visitors.
More people can also gather outdoors in public spaces. While previously the limit was set at 20, now 30 people can assemble in the great outdoors.
The amount of people who can attend funerals and weddings has doubled from 50 to 100.
Swimming lessons are also coming back two months earlier. From October 11, indoor pools will re-open for lessons, lap swimming and other activities.
And in places of worship, choirs of up to 10 fully vaccinated people can perform.
“Vaccinations are the key to life returning to normal and the changes today will help family and friends reconnect, get kids back to school and get businesses back up and running sooner,” Mr Perrottet said.
“NSW is putting in the hard yards and it’s important people continue to turn out in droves to be vaccinated.”
“NSW is putting in the hard yards and it’s important people continue to turn out in droves to be vaccinated,” – NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet
Back to school
Mr Perrottet has also announced that school will return one week earlier.
Kindy, Year 1 and Year 12 students will still return on October 18. But all other years are now returning on October 25 (previously, some grades were returning on November 1).
“The return remains safe and sensible with enough time for schools to prepare for a faster return of students over two weeks instead of three,” Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said.
“Principals have received detailed guidance and checklists of everything required to ensure COVID-safe settings in their school. Parents and carers will also receive a detailed guide today and more specific information from their school in the coming days.”
More freedoms at the next milestone
On the Monday after NSW reaches 80 per cent vaccination, more restrictions will be relaxed for those double-jabbed.
The home visitor cap will jump to 20 people (excluding children 12 and under) and up to 50 people will be allowed to gather outdoors.
At that milestone, nightclubs will also reopen for seated drinking (no dancing).
And up to 3000 people will be allowed to attend ticketed outdoor events (this was previously limited to 500 people).
Masks will no longer be required in office buildings.
At 80 per cent double vaccination in NSW, masks will no longer be required in office buildings.
“Getting to 70 per cent double dose is a badge of honour for every fully vaccinated NSW citizen to wear proudly but we can do so much more and 90 per cent is within our grasp,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
“NSW residents 12-years-old and over have led the charge to get vaccinated and ensure NSW is among the safest places in the world.”
“Pump the Brakes”
Not everyone is celebrating the changes.
The NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) preferred the original roadmap under the Berejiklian Government, reports News Corp Australia.
“We all want to get to ‘Covid-normal’ but going too fast too soon undoes the work and sacrifices NSW residents have made to get to this point,” AMA NSW President Dr Danielle McMullen said.
“What we don’t want is to open up and be forced to go back into lockdown for Christmas. The State Government has a strong record of making decisions based on health advice and would like to see that continue.
“We urge the Premier to get this right, go carefully, and pump the brakes.”