A taste of freedom but travel restricted

Hairdresser scissors are snipping, beers are chilling and cash registers are ringing after the first stage of COVID-19 restrictions were eased across NSW for the fully vaccinated from Monday, October 11.

Fully vaccinated people over the age of 16 and those who have medical exemption can enjoy hospitality venues, retail stores, hair salons, gyms, indoor and outdoor pools, stadiums and theatres, outdoor gatherings up to 30 people and 10 visitors to your home (not including children 12 and under).

NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, said it was just a taste of freedoms to come with the state on track to pass the 80 per cent double vaccination mark within weeks.

However, after 15 weeks of lockdown, Central Coast residents are still restricted to travel for holidays or recreation only within the bubble of Central Coast, Wollongong, Shellharbour, Blue Mountains and Greater Sydney until the 80 per cent vaccination rate is achieved, likely to be on October 25.

Visitors from the rest of NSW cannot come to those areas.

Central Coast residents will still be able to travel anywhere in NSW for essential reasons, such as for work and compassionate visits.

These travel rules only apply to fully vaccinated people.

Caravan parks and camp grounds are open, car-pooling is permitted, up to 100 people allowed at weddings and funerals, dancing is allowed, churches and places of worship are open (but no singing).

Schools are open on October 18 for Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12, with all other students returning on October 25 and HSC exams will start on November 9.

From now on people aged 16 and older should be prepared to show proof of vaccination or medical exemption when checking in to most businesses.

It won’t be until December 1 before NSW opens up completely to include those who are not fully vaccinated.

The latest statistics for the Central Coast show 93 per cent of residents (aged 16 and over) have received their first vaccination and 72.6 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Health authorities are warning that it is important to remain vigilant as there are still new cases of COVID in the community and new exposure sites being detected.

Since last Wednesday there has been 181 new cases, with 101 of those out in the community before being detected and 11 linked to known cases.

Anyone who has been at the following venues on the dates and times listed is a casual contact who much immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

Bateau Bay Square – North Home Décor, Oct 4,
2.15pm to 2.4pm.

McDonalds Lake Haven – Oct 3, 4.20pm to 8.25pm; Oct 4, 8.15am to 8.40am and 4.25pm to 10.15pm; Oct 5, 6.20pm to 10.25pm.

Coles Budgewoi – Oct 2, 3.15pm to 10pm.

Coles Chittaway Point – Oct 2, 9.05am to 10.05am.

Coles Northlakes shopping centre –Oct 3, 9.30pm to 10pm.

Coles Toukley – Oct 1, 6.40pm to 7.40pm.

Service NSW Tuggerah – Oct 5, 9.30am to 10.20am.

Bendigo Bank Wyong – Sep 30, 9.30am to 4pm; Oct 1, 9.30am to 4pm; Oct 5, 9.30am to 4pm; Oct 6, 9.30am to 2pm.

Coles Wadalba – Oct 4, 2.30pm to 3.15pm.

Woolworths Lake Munmorah – Oct 2, 9.50am to 10.25am; Oct 6, 12.40pm to 1.25pm.

Woolworths Wadalba – Oct 4, 5.30pm to 6pm.

Details about other sites at Woy Woy, Umina, Gosford West, Gosford, Ettalong Beach, Erina, Wyoming, Lisarow can be found on the NSW Health website.

Sue Murray