NSW has a path to follow out of the pandemic lockdowns, with a roadmap for easing restrictions at the 80 per cent double dose target revealed by the Premier today. However, the Central Coast will be treated with special travel restrictions due to the region’s high case numbers and lower vaccination rates.
From the Monday after NSW hits the 80 per cent (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 1 person per 4sqm indoors, and 1 person per 2sqm outdoors.
CENTRAL COAST TO BE TREATED DIFFERENTLY
However, the Deputy Premier John Barilaro set local heads spinning when he announced that the Central Coast will be treated differently to other regions.
When questioned by CCN about remarkable statements from the Deputy Premier on MMM radio on Monday afternoon Parliamentary Secretary Adam Crouch MP said:
“This is because the Central Coast’s daily COVID-19 case numbers are consistently too high. Our region is recording approximately 30 new COVID-19 cases per day. This is even higher than most local government areas across Sydney.
“Clearly, we are not out of the woods. NSW Health has identified the growing COVID-19 case numbers on the Central Coast and in the Illawarra as two of the most concerning areas in the State.
“If our case numbers decline and if vaccination rates continue to rise between now and 12 October, I will absolutely advocate for this Health decision to be reconsidered. There are currently 38,000 unvaccinated people on the Central Coast and I am urging these people to book an appointment as quickly as possible” said Mr Crouch.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the 80 per cent 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 per cent double dose and the freedoms that will provide, and today we are providing further certainty by announcing the 80 per cent 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 per cent roadmap. Regional travel will now not be allowed until 80 per cent (fully vaccinated only), and a booking cap has been introduced for hospitality venues of 20 people per booking.
The NSW Government is considering changes to incoming international arrival caps, so more people can return home for Christmas.
“The NSW Government’s 70 per cent roadmap lifts fully vaccinated people out of lockdown and when we reach 80 per cent, restrictions will ease even further,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The key continues to be vaccination rates, so please do not hesitate and book in for your free COVID-19 vaccine today so we can reach these targets as soon as possible.
“I must also clarify that travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW will only be permitted when the state reaches 80 per cent double dose. This change is necessary to give some regional areas the time they need to increase local vaccination rates.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the milestone marked a shift in gear for the State’s economic recovery.
“There’s a real sense of optimism returning to our community as our vaccination rates keep climbing and that’s giving businesses the confidence they need to reopen and for people to start returning to work and getting their lives back on track,” Mr Perrottet said.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard thanked the people of NSW for their sacrifices.
“Our health workers continue to rely on people to make smart choices, to keep a safe distance, not go to work when they are feeling unwell and to get tested when they show the slightest of symptoms.
“It’s that dedication which allows us to ease some of the restrictions again and to begin the process of opening up the state,” Mr Hazzard said.
The roadmap may be fine-tuned by NSW Health as we monitor the COVID-19 situation over the coming weeks.
From 1 December further changes will be introduced including all venues moving to the 2sqm rule, masks will not be required indoors at offices, indoor pools and nightclubs can reopen, and unvaccinated people will have greater freedoms.
Verified information source: Media release: NSW Premier’s Department. Media statement Adam Crouch MP, Sept 27, 2021