NSW will take its first steps towards reopening as the State passes the 70 per cent double vaccination target.
With the first vaccination milestone being reached, the NSW Government is also easing a number of restrictions as part of the Reopening NSW roadmap, which will allow fully vaccinated adults to enjoy more freedoms from next Monday, October 11.
The changes to the 70 per cent roadmap will allow up to 10 visitors (not counting children 12 and under) to a home (previously five), lift the cap on outdoor gatherings to 30 people (previously 20), and increase the cap for weddings and funerals to 100 people (previously 50).
Indoor pools will also be re-opened for swimming lessons, squad training, lap swimming, and rehab activities.
On the Monday after the State clears the 80 per cent double vaccination hurdle further restrictions will be relaxed, with people able to have up to 20 visitors (excluding children 12 and under) to a home (previously 10), and up to 50 people will be allowed to gather outdoors (previously 20).
Up to 3,000 people will be allowed to attend controlled and ticketed outdoor events (previously 500), nightclubs will be permitted to reopen for seated drinking only (no dancing), and masks will no longer be required in office buildings. All roadmap freedoms at 70 and 80 per cent will continue to be for fully vaccinated people only.
All school students will also now return to on site learning with a range of COVID-safe measures in place by October 25, with the second and third stages of the return to school plan now combined. Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12 students will still return to face-to-face learning on October 18, with all other years now returning one week later on October 25.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the common-sense changes would help life return to normal as soon as possible.
“Vaccinations are the key to life returning to normal and the changes today will help family and friends reconnect, get kids back to school and get businesses back up and running sooner,” Mr Perrottet said.
“NSW is putting in the hard yards and it’s important people continue to turn out in droves to be vaccinated.”
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said workers in regional areas who have received one vaccination dose will be permitted to return to their workplace from October 11 and will be given a grace period until November 1 to receive their second dose.
Regional areas are those outside Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Shellharbour and the Central Coast.
“This move ensures we get businesses in the regions re-open and local economies buzzing again. It’s about ensuring we make this a roadmap that works for everyone,” Mr Toole said.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said these changes would help get more people back into work, especially in Western Sydney.
“We’re on the road back to normal and most importantly reaching these vaccination targets means people can reunite with family and friends, celebrate key moments in their lives and businesses can open their doors and get back to work in a safe way,” Mr Ayres said.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said NSW residents 12-years-old and over have led the charge to get vaccinated and ensure NSW is among the safest places in the world.
“Getting to 70 per cent double dose is a badge of honour for every fully vaccinated NSW citizen to wear proudly but we can do so much more and 90 per cent is within our grasp,” Mr Hazzard said.
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said schools were ready to welcome students back.
“The return remains safe and sensible with enough time for schools to prepare for a faster return of students over two weeks instead of three,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Principals have received detailed guidance and checklists of everything required to ensure COVID-safe settings in their school. Parents and carers will also receive a detailed guide today and more specific information from their school in the coming days.”
If you are not booked in for a COVID-19 vaccine, please book an appointment as soon possible.
Note also that as the stay-at-home orders will be lifted next Monday and replaced by the roadmap settings, the list of Local Government Areas of concern will cease to exist.