Freedom’s just another word for…

Some Central Coast barbers and hair dressers had extended hours to meet demand.

If you’re confused by the latest COVID rules and you’re discovering the word ‘freedom’ means different things to different people – don’t feel alone.

CCN has looked at an array of interpretations of what Freedom Day, October 11, means for residents here on the Central Coast and this is what we’ve discovered.

CCN’s video report

According to NSW Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, today after a 15-week lockdown, restrictions have eased for Greater Sydney which includes the Central Coast.

Wait a minute – didn’t we get reclassified as ‘regional’ just last month?

It is easy to lose track of days and even the news when you’re confined to barracks but surely we’re not part of Greater Sydney …again!

Well, yes we are, due to our high case numbers (stuck around 30 a day) – the technical classification is now known as ‘outer metropolitan’.

In essence, the lifting of COVID-19 measures is limited to those who are fully vaccinated.

Those who have received two doses of an available COVID vaccine are the most emancipated but there are still limits, even on their re-discovered freedom.

From October 11 fully vaccinated people over the age of 16 and those who have a medical exemption can enter hospitality venues, retail stores, hair salons, gyms, indoor pools, stadiums and theatres, outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people and can have up to 10 visitors in their home (not including children 12 and under), although each visitor over the age of 16 must be fully vaccinated.

Tesch said she was already enjoying everything the community has to offer: “First thing this morning I wasted no time and went to get a much needed hair cut”.

Fully vaccinated residents from the Central Coast will be allowed to travel anywhere within Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains and Wollongong.

However, Central Coast residents, even if fully-vaccinated, will still not be able to travel regionally, including to Newcastle.

Face masks are still compulsory in a range of settings – all people over the age of 12 must wear a face mask in indoor areas (while shopping, when at a library), in indoor areas of common property of apartment buildings, at a public transport waiting area, while on public transport, if you are working at a hospitality venue and dealing directly with members of the public, on an aircraft when the aircraft is flying above NSW and in the airport.

Exemptions are available. Learn more about face mask rules.

We also have to keep checking in – “occupiers of premises” (guessing businesses and venue operators) are required to continue to take reasonable steps to ensure people can check-in or provide their contact details when entering said premises.

If you are entering a premises where check-in is required, you must check in with the Service.NSW app and provide your details to the occupier of the premises.

We are required to produce evidence that we are fully vaccinated in the form of an online immunisation history statement, a COVID-19 digital certificate from the Australian Immunisation Register or a medical exemption (contraindication certificate or medical clearance form).

The Service NSW app is not currently able to provide access to vaccination evidence but it’s working on it!

A person who is required to be fully vaccinated to enter premises must: carry their vaccination evidence and produce it if requested by a police officer or authorised officer.

If you are required to be fully vaccinated to enter a premises, you may be asked to produce your vaccination evidence by the occupier and NSW Health says “We encourage you to comply with an occupier’s request.

“You do not have to produce your vaccination evidence to the occupier, however, the occupier may refuse entry to you if you do not produce your vaccination evidence.

For more information on the restrictions head to https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules.

Jackie Pearson

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