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First look at NSW vaccine passports as venues told to prepare

·3-min read
Victor Dominello takes selfie with Service NSW check in app and vaccine passport, deserted Sydney Opera house.
(Images: Victor Dominello Instagram, Getty)

Fully vaccinated NSW residents could be back in restaurants within weeks as the government prepares to trial its Service NSW app as a vaccine passport.

Digital Minister Victor Dominello said the government is in the process of finishing upgrades to the app so that it can display a user’s vaccine status upon checking into hospitality venues.

“As promised - this is what your vaccination status could look like through the QR check-in on the ServiceNSW app,” Dominello said while sharing an image on Instagram of the vaccine passport prototype.

“Aiming to undertake testing later this month and some pilots in the first half of next month.”

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“Industry has been calling for this feature in the ServiceNSW app and we should be working with them at every opportunity to make opening up as easy and as COVID safe as possible,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The state government has been developing the app with the Federal Government to allow Service NSW to integrate data from the Australian Immunisation Register to show vaccine status.

It comes after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian flagged NSW would return to a “much more normal” lifestyle around mid-October, as the state is tipped to hit its 70 per cent fully vaccinated rate.

“Whether it is attending a public event or having a drink, if you are fully vaccinated and the state has hit its 70 per cent double dose target, please expect to do all of those things we have been missing for too long,” Berejiklian said on Wednesday 1 September.

Pubs, hairdressers, restaurants and stadiums are expected to be among the venues and services allowed to resume.

“Obviously NSW always takes a responsible approach, but the national plan does say at 70 per cent double-dose vaccination that you can expect to go out and have a meal, you can expect to attend a public event, you can expect to go and get services that you can’t expect now,” she said.

However, home visits will likely be off the table for some time due to the high-risk nature of those gatherings.

“But outside of that... there are many, many things we can’t do now we should expect to be able to do them when we have 70 per cent of the adult population vaccinated. That’s what the national plan says,” she said.

Businesses will be required to adhere to their COVID-safe plans and potentially stricter density requirements, while masks will still be required in some settings.

However, as NSW prepares venues to reopen, it also eyes growing COVID-19 cases.

The state recorded 1,281 new cases on Monday, and modelling shows cases will peak with a seven-day average of 1,500 in September. More than 550 COVID-19 patients will also require a bed in intensive care, the Burnett Institute modelling found.

From 13 September, gatherings of up to five fully vaccinated people will be allowed outside.

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