Confirmed: NSW to exit lockdown on 11 October

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard. File photo.

By DAMIEN NOVAK

NSW will start coming out of lockdown on Monday, 11 October, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has confirmed.

Speaking at today’s 11am press conference, Mr Hazzard said the state would hit the 70 per cent vaccination milestone this week, and that restrictions would start to lift for fully vaccinated people on the following Monday (11 October), as widely predicted in recent days. 

“We will … reach the 70 per cent double dose vaccinations by probably mid this week. That means the following Monday is the date that we have our first removal of the restrictions,” Mr Hazzard said. 

“That is a really big day for all of us who have lived through the agony of this pandemic.”

The announcement was made as NSW recorded its lowest daily Covid-19 case numbers since 19 August, with 667 new cases reported in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. 

“It’s quite a dramatic drop,” the Health Minister said.

“All the hard work that we have done … to have gone from 1,599 cases just three weeks ago to 667 cases today has taken a lot of hard work.

“Please don’t ruin that, please don’t let this side down. This is a game that we all must win.”

Mr Hazzard acknowledged Covid case numbers were expected to rise after restrictions ease on 11 October, although rising vaccination levels are expected to result in a smaller proportion of severe Covid cases.

The Sentinel has compiled a comprehensive list of restrictions which will ease for fully vaccinated people from 11 October.

Family and friends

The lifting of restrictions will include the ability to visit family and friends, with up to five visitors allowed in private homes at any one time (visitor limits do not apply for children under the age of 12).

Outdoor gatherings and recreation will be permitted with up to 20 people, although the limit will be two people for those who are not fully vaccinated. 

Visitors to aged care and disability homes will be allowed at the discretion and rules of said facilities. 

Funerals

Funerals will be permitted, with density limits, for up to 50 people. A 10-person limit will apply for those who are not fully vaccinated. Any eating and drinking must be seated.

Large events and entertainment venues

Major recreation facilities – including stadiums and theme parks – will reopen, with density limits, for up to 5,000 people or by exemption.

Other ticketed and seated outdoor public gatherings will be permitted for up to 500 people with density limits.

Cinemas and theatres will reopen with density limits or at 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.

Art galleries, museums and libraries will reopen with density limits.

Nightclubs will remain closed until the 80 per cent vaccination target is reached – expected to occur in several weeks’ time. 

Masks and QR codes

Masks will no longer required in outdoor settings except for front-of-house hospitality staff.

With the exception of children under 12, masks will continue to be required for all staff and customers in indoor settings including in shops, hospitality venues (except while eating and drinking), on public transport, in planes and in airports.

QR code check-ins and proof of vaccination will be required for staff and customers in all settings. 

Religious services

Places of worship will reopen with density limits. 

Singing is not permitted.

Renovations and construction

Occupied renovations and construction (including cleaning, maintenance, renovations to buildings and other indoor trade works) will recommence.

Construction sites returned to maximum daily workforce numbers on 27 September.

Restaurants and hospitality

Restaurants and hospitality venues will reopen, with up to 20 fully vaccinated people permitted per booking, although all drinkers and diners must be seated if indoors. A density limit of one person per four square metres will apply. 

Dancing and singing will not be permitted indoors but will be allowed outdoors. Density limits will also apply outdoors but on a more generous basis than indoors – one person per two square metres. 

Service will be offered on a takeaway only basis for those who are not fully vaccinated. 

Retail

Non-essential retail will reopen for the fully vaccinated under density limits. People who are not fully vaccinated will only be able to access non-essential retail through Click & Collect. 

Hairdressers, spas, beauty services, nail salons, tattoo shops and massage parlours will also reopen for the fully vaccinated under density limits but with a maximum of five clients on the premises at any one time. 

Sport and exercise

Gyms and indoor recreation and sporting facilities (excluding indoor swimming pools) will reopen with density limits for the fully vaccinated, and up to 20 people in classes.

Outdoor public pools are already open –  the facilities reopened on 27 September. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated may attend.  Density limits apply. 

Schools

Schools will reopen under Level 3 Covid-19 safety measures. For more information, visit https://education.nsw.gov.au.

Tourism, transport and travel

Caravan parks and camping grounds will reopen – including for people who are not fully vaccinated.

Carpooling will be permitted – although for people who are not fully vaccinated, you must only car pool with members of your household.

People in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong) can travel for holidays within their local government area only.

Travel between regional LGAs will be permitted (the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong not permitted).

Masks and QR code check-ins remain compulsory on all public transport services, including on airlines, except while eating and drinking, on transport services where the consumption of food and drink is allowed.

Weddings

Wedding ceremonies will be permitted, with density limits, for up to 50 people (a five-person limit will be in place for people who are not fully vaccinated).

Wedding receptions will be allowed with density limits for up to 50 people. All attendees must be fully vaccinated.  Dancing is permitted. All eating and drinking must occur while seated.

Work

Employers are encouraged to continue to allow staff to work from home, if possible.  

Employers must require staff who are not fully vaccinated to work from home, where reasonably practicable.

How will the rules be enforced?

After days of conflicting reports, Mr Hazzard finally clarified this morning that NSW Police would play a role in enforcing bans on unvaccinated residents from entering businesses.

“The police role will be, if someone has come into, for example, a retail outlet or a hotel and are not presenting evidence as is required of their vaccination, then of course the business proprietor or person on behalf of the business will call the police,” he said.

The next milestone: 80 per cent

Once 80 per cent of all people in NSW aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated, further freedoms will kick in. 

At current vaccination rates, this is expected to occur in late October.

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