Stay-at-home orders will be lifted for those who have been vaccinated once the community achieves the 70% vaccination goal, hopefully in October. And in welcome news for our regions, lockdowns for those Local Government Areas at low risk for COVID transmission will also be partially lifted from as early as this Saturday, 11 September.
While this is positive news, reaching the re-opening goal is very much dependent on the community continuing the vaccination push and the success in keeping the level of disease and transmission at manageable levels.
In the past month, I have attended many online business forums where small businesses have asked questions about financial support and assistance. These sessions have also been valuable for hearing suggestions from small businesses and conveying the experience of businesses across the State. I want to thank those businesses who shared their circumstances with us and hope they found it valuable.
A common theme throughout these sessions is that some businesses may be missing out on critical financial support because they are not aware of the full breadth and detail of what is on offer. I understand that small businesspeople often don’t have the time to properly assess these programs (and the rules can be complex), which is why I urge you to speak to a team member at Service NSW or the Commission before “self-assessing” your eligibility and ruling your business out of assistance. If you want to avoid waiting on hold for Service NSW (13 77 88), remember they offer a callback service.
COVID-19 restrictions will begin to be lifted for the vaccinated once the 70% target is reached. The NSW Government has announced that stay-at-home orders for adults who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be lifted from the first Monday after NSW passes the 70 per cent double vaccination target.
Capacity restrictions will, however, be in place for many events and venues.
The Government also cautioned that the roadmap is subject to further fine-tuning and health advice if circumstances change drastically or if cases within a designated area remain too high.
Only fully vaccinated people and those with medical exemptions will be able to take advantage of the end of stay-at-home orders and the loosening of restrictions when the 70% vaccination target is reached. The new rules will be:
Gatherings in the home and public spaces:
- Up to five visitors will be allowed in a home where all adults are vaccinated (not including children 12 and under).
- Up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings.
Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms:
- Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
- Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule (unvaccinated people will continue to only be able to access critical retail).
- Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4sqm, capped at five clients per premises.
- Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.
- Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen.
Stadiums, theatres and major outdoor recreation facilities:
- Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000 people.
- Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.
- Indoor entertainment and information facilities including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.
Weddings, funerals and places of worship:
- Up to 50 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.
- Up to 50 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.
- Churches and places of worship to open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with no singing.
- Domestic travel, including trips to regional NSW, will be permitted.
- Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.
- Carpooling will be permitted.
Non-vaccinated young people aged under 16 will be able to access all outdoor settings but will only be able to visit indoor venues with members of their household.
Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so.
There will be revised guidance on isolation for close and casual contacts who are fully vaccinated, with details to be provided closer to the reopening date.
- Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes and at airports.
- Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask when outdoors.
- Children aged under 12 will not need to wear a mask indoors.