NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced an easing restrictions that is broadly in line with the policies of South Australia and Queensland, allowing restaurants and cafés to reopen with up to 10 patrons at a time.
Unlike in these two states however, NSW's next stage does not explicitly include pubs.
Following the National Cabinet's three-part reopening plan that serves as a roadmap for states and territories depending on their different circumstances, NSW will start winding back restrictions from Friday, 15 May.
"The changes will allow NSW to fire up the economy, while allowing more personal freedoms," says Berejiklian.
"Our community has demonstrated that by working together we can achieve positive results.
"We will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 rates, especially community transmissions, to guide us towards easing further restrictions."
In addition to measures already announced, including the Premier's call for retailers to reopen with caution, the following will be allowed in NSW as of Friday:
- Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people;
- Cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons at any one time;
- Up to 5 visitors to a household at any one time;
- Weddings up to 10 guests;
- Indoor funerals up to 20 mourners, outdoor funerals up to 30;
- Religious gatherings/places of worship up to 10 worshippers;
- Use of outdoor equipment with caution; and
- Outdoor pools open with restrictions.
It is too soon to allow for regional holidays and ease further restrictions but NSW will continue to work with business and communities during the path forward.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant says it is safe for NSW to ease further restrictions as the community as the community is vigilant with social distancing and hygiene.
"The chief health officers of the Commonwealth and States supported by experts have prepared advice on the way forward," says Chant.
"As we take this next step we need to continue to work together - governments, community, business and NGOs - with high rates of testing, social distancing and adherence to other public health measures like handwashing and staying at home if you show even slight symptoms."
Health Minister Brad Hazzard warns the COVID-19 fight is far from over.
"Without a vaccine we need to be vigilant, especially when restrictions lift," he says.
"There will inevitably be more cases, so social distancing will become even more crucial."
Berejiklian thanks the community as the State embarks on this important step that will allow more businesses to open up and more people to stay in work.
"NSW can only do this following the hard work and sacrifice of our communities," she says.
"NSW can only do this following the hard work and sacrifice of our communities."
Photo courtesy of 'Shot at Byron', via Wikimedia Commons.
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