NSW Sets December Date For ‘COVID-Normal’ | Liverpool City Champion
Life in NSW will return to near normal levels in December for the vaccinated and unvaccinated as part of the state’s roadmap to end COVID-19 restrictions.
However, the unvaccinated will have almost no freedom until then, while the fully re-immersed people will re-integrate into society from October.
And while the state prepares to open, Cowra in the midwest will remain stranded for a week due to the continued risk of COVID-19 transmissions.
Home orders for Yass Valley will be released from midnight as scheduled.
NSW reported 787 new local cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths within 24 hours at 8 p.m. on Sunday as the government revealed its plan for double-dose vaccination coverage of 80% and beyond.
These plans are based on the freedoms to be restored for residents fully vaccinated at 70% coverage, including small indoor gatherings and access to reception areas and hairdressers.
These freedoms will almost certainly be triggered on October 11.
With 80% coverage, expected around October 25, travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW will be permitted again.
Gathering caps will increase to 10 fully vaccinated visitors in homes, 20 people outdoors, a maximum of 200 people for COVID-safe events, and up to 500 people at paid and seated events.
Entertainment venues such as cinemas and theaters can operate at 75% capacity, libraries and museums can reopen, and community sport will resume. The discos will remain closed.
The caps will be lifted for retail stores, personal services such as hairdressers and hospitality venues, but group bookings are limited to 20 people.
Gathering limits will also be lifted for weddings, funerals and religious services, while masks will remain mandatory indoors.
A plan for care facilities for the elderly is not yet completed.
From December 1, unvaccinated people will be able to reenter society when the “four square meters” social distancing rule drops to two square meters.
Almost all remaining restrictions will be relaxed at this point, including on all gatherings, business, office, hospitality and entertainment venues, and all weddings, funerals and religious services.
Overwhelmingly, NSW companies hailed the freedoms expected from October and the end of uncertainty.
Business Council CEO Jennifer Westacott said orders, rosters and more staff for the busy Christmas season can now be planned ahead.
“By designating December 1 as the date for the state to fully reopen, NSW is ending the stop-start mindset that undermines confidence, kills jobs and is holding back our recovery,” she said.
All face-to-face schools will return to NSW, caps on international arrivals vaccinated at Sydney Airport will likely be removed, and masks will only be mandatory on public transport or airplanes.
The date is the start of the “COVID-normal” era and almost certainly the end of state or region-wide lockdowns.
But Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian pleaded with residents to remain disciplined until October 11 to keep virus transmission and hospitalizations low.
“I don’t want to be the party poo, but let’s not consider this a Freedom Day, let’s see it as a reopening in stages to get back to normal,” Ms. Berejiklian told reporters.
“But there is no doubt that for those of us who are fully vaccinated, 70% of life on a double dose will feel so much better.
“Fingers crossed, at the time of this third stage of reopening on December 1, we expect that 92% or 93% of our adult population will be fully vaccinated. “
After raising the possibility of an international trip on Sunday, Ms Berejiklian said on Monday she hoped NSW and Victoria could soon present a “unity ticket” on reopening the borders.
However, the Prime Minister admitted that it would depend on the resumption of flights to Sydney Airport by airlines once restrictions are lifted.
Meanwhile, outdoor pools have been allowed to reopen across NSW from Monday and construction sites may return to full capacity.
There are currently 1,155 COVID-19 patients at NSW Hospital, including 214 in intensive care units and 115 on ventilators.
Associated Australian Press