NSW celebrates lifting of ‘lockdown’ restrictions

NSW celebrates lifting of ‘lockdown’ restrictions

New NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is declaring the Sydney reopening after 106 days in lockdown will be safe. Easing of restrictions was a major step forward but it also brought challenges, he said. But as lockdown ends for some, a “lockout” of the unvaccinated begins; only those fully vaccinated will be able to enjoy the new freedoms.

“I’m confident as Premier of the state, based on the advice that we’ve seen from the health team, that the easing of restrictions that we’re putting in today are measured and ensure that we can keep people safe,” Perrottet says.

"But I ask people to be patient today and over the course of the next few weeks as we move through it. Because there will be challenges, there will be difficulties."

"It's going to be a challenge but I have complete faith in the people of our state, over this period, that they will treat everyone with kindness and respect," Mr Perrottet added.

Sydney's more than five million residents have been subjected to a 106-day lockdown since June, designed to control the highly transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus. Since June, shops, schools, salons and offices have been closed for non-essential workers and there have been unprecedented restrictions on personal freedom.

Sydneysiders have rushed out of lockdown, with queues at major retailers, clubs and pubs in the early hours as 15 weeks of lockdown came to an end at midnight lastnight.

NSW has hit an incredible vaccination milestone with more than 90 per cent of people aged over 16 in the state have now had one dose and 73.5 per cent have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The rate of first doses in the state is now so high that only one nation, the United Arab Emirates has a higher percentage of people with at least one jab.

As restrictions across Greater Sydney ease, the state has recorded 496 new local COVID-19 cases and eight deaths in the past 24 hours.

For most of the pandemic, Australia successfully suppressed infections through border closures, lockdowns and aggressive testing and tracing. However  the Delta variant put paid to any dream of "Covid-zero", at least in the largest cities of Melbourne and Sydney which are now pivoting to "living with Covid".

From Monday, October 11, the following restrictions will ease for those who are fully vaccinated:

  • Home gatherings return with up to 10-visitors at any one time (excluding children aged 12 and under)
  • Outdoor gatherings and recreation returns with up to 30 people (a two-person limit for those not fully vaccinated)
  • Visitors to residents in aged care facilities and disability homes are permitted in line with their policies
  • Masks are required for all indoor settings, but no longer required in outdoor settings except for front-of-house hospitality staff
  • Gyms, indoor recreation and sporting facilities reopen with density limits and up to 20 people in classes. Indoor swimming pools also reopen for lessons, training and rehab activities
  • Non-critical retail reopens with density limits, as well as personal services such as hairdressers, spas, beauty and nail salons, tattoo and massage parlours for up to five clients
  • Hospitality reopens with density limits for up to 20 people per booking. Drinking indoors must be seated, but drinking outdoors may be seated or standing.
  • Major recreation facilities including stadiums, theme parks, and racecourses reopen with density limits for up to 5000 people
  • Entertainment facilities including cinemas and theatres reopen with density limits ot 75 per cent fixed seated capacity
  • Information and education facilities including art galleries, museums and libraries reopen with density limits.
  • Weddings ceremonies and funerals are permitted with density limits for up to 100 people (or a five-person limit for people who are not fully vaccinated), eating and drinking must be seated, and dancing is permitted.
  • Places of worship reopen with density limits, up to 10 fully vaccinated singers may perform
  • Restricted travel within LGAs and 5km radius removed
  • Travel holidays between regional local government areas are permitted
  • In regional NSW, staff can return to work on October 11 if they have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but must be fully vaccinated by November 1
  • All premises will operate at 1 person per 4sqm indoors and 1 person per 2sqm outdoors.

For the full list, visit the Department of Health website.