Fully vaccinated NSW residents will be able to go to hospitality venues, shops and hairdressers from the first Monday after the state hits its 70 per cent fully vaccinated milestone, the state government revealed on Thursday.
This is expected to occur around the middle of October, however the state government has not named a specific date. It comes as NSW records 1,405 locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.
Retail stores, hairdressers and nail salons will also be able to reopen, with all of these venues following the one person per 4 square metre inside rule.
Hairdressers and nail salons are capped at a total of five clients per premises at any one time and masks will be mandatory inside these venues for both workers and visitors older than 12 years old.
Hospitality venues can have one person per every 2 square metres outside, and one person per every 4 square metres inside. Diners will not need to wear masks at hospitality venues.
Additionally, gyms and indoor recreation facilities can offer classes for up to 20 people, provided they’re following the 4 square metre rule.
Workers in these businesses must also be fully vaccinated to work onsite, and across the state, employees must continue to allow workers to work from home if the employee is able to.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to get vaccinated – if you have not had both doses of the vaccine by the time we hit the 70 per cent milestone, you will not be able to take advantage of these freedoms,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Stadiums, zoos and theme parks will also be able to reopen with capacity capped at 5,000, provided the 4 square metre rule is being met, while up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.
Indoor recreation like cinemas, galleries, museums and theatres can reopen to 75 per cent capacity, as long as there is no more than one person per 4 square metres.
For all rules, the new freedoms will only apply to fully vaccinated residents and children younger than vaccine eligibility.
People who have not received both COVID-19 doses will still be able to access essential retail like supermarkets and health services.
‘Green light’ vaccine app for shoppers
Questioned about how retail businesses will police the double-vaccination rule, Berejiklian said retail and hospitality outlets can rely on the Service NSW QR code program.
She said shoppers who are heading into non-essential retail stores will need to use their QR code reader to scan in. Then, fully-vaccinated people will receive a “green-light” confirming they are vaccinated and allowed inside the shop.
People who have not been fully-vaccinated will not be able to prove their vaccination, and as such won’t be allowed into those non-essential settings, Berejiklian said.
However, there will be reasonable considerations for people who are unable to get vaccinated due to health conditions.
Rescue package to be announced in early October
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said businesses need some certainty in when they can reopen, and the conditions of reopening.
However, he added that it’s too early to provide a specific reopening date, and will need to provide more information as the state nears its 70 per cent vaccination goal.
“I know it can be difficult when we look overseas and see the activity and fact that there are greater freedoms in certain countries around the world but it should fill us with hope that that is the pathway that NSW is on,” he said on Thursday.
“We know it has been a very tough period of time, many businesses have had to close, many people out of work. But we will get through this.”
He said the roadmap had been devised in consultation with business and community leaders across Western and South-West Sydney, and the local government areas (LGAs) of concern will be able to enjoy the same freedoms as the rest of the state, provided there are no further major outbreaks.
The state will also announce a bigger recovery plan for NSW in early October, with Perrottet hoping this recovery package will lead a strong bounce back.
Perrottet said businesses can still access support through Service NSW and acknowledged the major delays businesses experienced in receiving support earlier in the lockdown.