NSW unveils freedom roadmap for vaccinated, some regional areas to leave lockdown

NSW unveils freedom roadmap for vaccinated, some regional areas to leave lockdown

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian

New South Wales is today making strides toward freedom for the state’s vaccinated population after unveiling a roadmap, while also announcing some regional areas are set to exit lockdown from Saturday.

The roadmap details how stay-at-home orders for adults who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be lifted from the Monday after NSW passes the 70 per cent double vaccination target.

While no date has been given for when that freedom day will be reached, the state is anticipating it will be around the 25th of October 2021.

The State's Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new post-lockdown restrictions will be policed by incorporating a vaccine passport into the state's QR check-in system.

"It's really easy to police venues because all retail outlets and other places of hospitality require QR codes, and that is why we have been speaking about the vaccine passport," Berejiklian said.

"If you want to go and buy something which is regarded as a non-essential shop, you will put up your QR code and if it's not a green light saying you've been vaccinated you won't be welcomed inside.

"So we're giving venues plenty of notice and businesses plenty of notice so they can prepare."

Under the roadmap, only fully vaccinated people and those with medical exemptions will have access to the freedoms which include:

Gatherings in the home and public spaces:

  • Up to five visitors will be allowed in a home where all adults are vaccinated (not including children 12 and under).
  • Up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings. 

Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms:

  • Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
  • Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule (unvaccinated people will continue to only be able to access critical retail). 
  • Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4sqm, capped at five clients per premises. 
  • Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people. 
  • Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen.

Stadiums, theatres and major outdoor recreation facilities:

  • Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000 people. 
  • Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.
  • Indoor entertainment and information facilities including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity. 

Weddings, funerals and places of worship: 

  • Up to 50 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.
  • Up to 50 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.
  • Churches and places of worship to open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with no singing. 

Travel

  • Domestic travel, including trips to regional NSW, will be permitted.
  • Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.
  • Carpooling will be permitted.

Non-vaccinated young people aged under 16 will be able to access all outdoor settings but will only be able to visit indoor venues with members of their household.

In terms of masks, they will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes and at airports.

Meanwhile, the state says students will return to school on 25 October - the date it is expected 70 per cent of people will be fully vaccinated by.

“It’s really important for school communities, for students and teachers to have a fixed date they open to provide absolute certainty,” Berejiklian said.

The Premier said the state is on its way to hitting the 70 per cent double dose target, but mentioned rates of vaccination have been falling recently.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to get vaccinated – if you have not had both doses of the vaccine by the time we hit the 70 per cent milestone, you will not be able to take advantage of these freedoms,” Berejiklian said.

“However, we are seeing that rate slightly decline and we really need to call upon anybody who hasn’t had any doses to come forward and get the first dose.”

When NSW hits the 80 per cent double dose target, the government intends to open up further freedoms around international travel, community sport, major events and other areas.

A representative from Business NSW Daniel Hunter has welcomed the new roadmap.

“This roadmap is what the business community has been crying out for and I thank the NSW Government for providing the path forward,” Hunter said.

“Some certainty for businesses will be a massive boost. 

“Businesses can start planning their re-opening right now, they can order stock, engage staff and re-engage with their loyal customers."

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO Paul Zahra said the roadmap follows significant industry collaboration and is a huge relief for retailers.

“As well all know, the NSW lockdown is taking a significant toll on peoples financial, emotional and mental health, which is clearly not sustainable. At last, people and businesses have hope for the future and a clearer idea of what life will look like after lockdown. Importantly, some regional NSW businesses will have an immediate reprieve from lockdown restrictions,” Zahra said.

“The timing for reopening is incredibly important as we head into the busy Christmas shopping season, when most discretionary retailers make up to two-thirds of their profits for the year.

“Domestic travel to regional NSW will also be allowed under the reopening plan, which will provide a much-needed boost to regional businesses and tourism operators who’ve been severely impacted by the stay-at-home orders in Greater Sydney that have been in place for nearly three months."

The announcement comes as NSW reported 1,405 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 today, while six people lost their lives to the coronavirus.

Lockdown to lift in some regional NSW areas

Parts of regional NSW currently deemed low risk and which have seen zero cases of COVID-19 for at least 14 days will emerge from lockdown at 12.01 am Saturday 11 September, but will continue to operate under some restrictions.

The following freedoms will be available to all people in regional LGAs where stay-at-home orders have lifted:

Gatherings In the home and public spaces:

  • Up to five visitors will be allowed in a home (not including children 12 and under).
  • Up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings.

Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms:

  • Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person
  • per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
  • Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule.
  • Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4sqm, capped at five clients per premises.
  • Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.
  • Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen.

Schools:

  • Schools will reopen with Level 3 COVIDSafe measures in place.

Stadiums, theatres and major outdoor recreation facilities:

  • Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000 people.
  • Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.
  • Indoor entertainment and information facilities including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.

Weddings, funerals and places of worship:

  • Up to 50 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.
  • Up to 50 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.
  • Churches and places of worship to open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with no singing.

Travel:

  • Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.
  • Carpooling will be permitted.

Masks:

  • Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes and at airports.
  • Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask when outdoors.
  • Children aged under 12 will not need to wear a mask indoors.

“While unfortunately many regional LGAs will remain in lockdown due to COVID case numbers, for other parts of the state, stay-at-home orders will be lifted allowing more freedoms for those communities," NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said.

"This decision is based on NSW Health advice, and the LGAs which remain in lockdown will continue to be monitored and we will update those communities on a regular basis.

"My strong advice to everyone in regional NSW is to get vaccinated as soon as you can. Our communities need to continue to get vaccinated so that when NSW reaches 70 and 80 per cent, restrictions can ease significantly.”

The regional LGAs where lockdowns will remain in place are:

  • Bathurst
  • Bega
  • Blayney
  • Bogan
  • Bourke
  • Brewarrina
  • Broken Hill
  • Cabonne
  • Central Coast
  • Central Darling
  • Cessnock
  • Dubbo
  • Dungog
  • Eurobodalla
  • Forbes
  • Gilgandra
  • Goulburn Mulwarre
  • Snowy Monaro
  • Upper Hunter
  • Kiama
  • Lake Macquarie
  • Lithgow
  • Maitland
  • Mid-Coast
  • Mid-Western
  • Muswellbrook
  • Narrabri
  • Narromine
  • Newcastle
  • Orange
  • Parkes
  • Port Stephens
  • Queanbeyan-Palerang
  • Shellharbour
  • Shoalhaven
  • Singleton
  • Walgett
  • Wingecarribee

Updated at 11.37am AEST on 9 September 2021.

This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.

Click here to go to Employment Hero’s Covid-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic. 


 

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