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Covid-19 Australia: Dominic Perrottet celebrates Freedom Day saying Gladys is ‘with us in spirit’

Dominic Perrottet has marked Freedom Day by saying that Gladys Berejiklian is ‘with us in spirit’ after the former NSW premier resigned just days before reaching the massive milestone. 

Mr Perrottet made the touching remark while signalling the end to stay-at-home orders by pouring a couple of beers at Watson’s Pub in Moore Park on Monday. 

He referred to the former premier as ‘Glad’ saying it was disappointing she was not present to mark an end to the 106 days of lockdown. 

‘Glad, as you know, has led us through this pandemic,’ Mr Perrottet said. ‘And it’s a great day for the state.’ 

‘I’m sure we’re all disappointed that she’s not here to celebrate this great moment with the people of New South Wales.

‘It’s been a very, very difficult time on government, on her, as the leader. But I know she’s here in spirit and you never know, Glad may go out and have a beer herself tonight.’ 

Dominic Perrottet has marked Freedom Day by saying that Gladys Berejiklian is ‘with us in spirit’ after the former NSW premier resigned just days before reaching the massive milestone

Mr Perrottet made the touching remark while marking the end to lockdown and pouring a couple of beers at Watson's Pub in Moore Park on Monday

Mr Perrottet made the touching remark while marking the end to lockdown and pouring a couple of beers at Watson’s Pub in Moore Park on Monday

The premier called for patience as tens of thousands of residents are expected to hit retail stores, pubs and restaurants to celebrate the first day of eased restrictions.  

‘It has been a difficult 100 days but the efforts that people have made right across the state to go out and get vaccinated has enabled this great day to occur,’ Mr Perrottet said.

‘There is no doubt there will be teething issues and there will be many young people pulling beers today, serving tables at restaurants in cafes, who will be doing this for the first time and adjusting to a new system, so please be patient and look out for them as we move through this period of time.’ 

Having surpassed a 70 per cent double-dose vaccination milestone early last week, gyms, cafes, restaurants, pools, shops, hairdressers and beauticians will reopen and people will be allowed to travel more than five kilometres from home.

NSW deputy premier Paul Toole announced the state was officially ‘open’.

‘Today, I know there’s a lot of hope, there’s a lot of optimism out there in our communities,’ he said.

‘And this is the day we’ve been all waiting for.’ 

Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter added: ‘It’s a very exciting day for us. What is exciting about it, it’s more than just bricks and mortar. 

‘We’re talking about people and people’s lives. It’s time for us to heal, to get back to some better financial wellbeing, and honestly the mental health and wellbeing of people, business owners, and staff.’

But as the lockdown ends for most, a ‘lockout’ of the unvaccinated is in place with only those who have had both jabs able to enjoy the new freedoms.

Business owners and hospitality staff are nervous the risk of transmission is still high, and the risk of abuse from customers is even higher.

Mr Perrottet urged the state’s residents to show patience, kindness and respect.

Premier Dominic Perrottet has called for patience as the state emerges from lockdown, amid concerns customer-facing staff could be at risk of abuse from unvaccinated people denied entry to venues

Premier Dominic Perrottet has called for patience as the state emerges from lockdown, amid concerns customer-facing staff could be at risk of abuse from unvaccinated people denied entry to venues

Business owners and hospitality staff are nervous the risk of transmission is still high, and the risk of abuse from customers is even higher

Business owners and hospitality staff are nervous the risk of transmission is still high, and the risk of abuse from customers is even higher

Having surpassed a 70 per cent double-dose vaccination milestone early last week, gyms, cafes, restaurants, pools, shops, hairdressers and beauticians will reopen and people will be allowed to travel more than five kilometres from home

Having surpassed a 70 per cent double-dose vaccination milestone early last week, gyms, cafes, restaurants, pools, shops, hairdressers and beauticians will reopen and people will be allowed to travel more than five kilometres from home

‘We’re the first state in the country that’s put these plans in place,’ he said.

‘There will be challenges and difficulties as we go through this … but we certainly don’t want to be having police moving through cafes and restaurants.

‘That’s just not the state that I love and know.’

He rejected concerns business owners have been left out on a limb when it comes to dealing with angry people denied entry and in-venue service.

Clear guidelines have been issued in terms of training staff and signage, he added.

‘If an individual feels unsafe, if a business owner … feels unsafe, then yes, it’s important that they do contact police,’ Mr Perrottet said.

‘But that’ll be the same today as it will be tomorrow.’

Sydney bartender Lucy is one of those anxious about being on the frontline when stay-at-home orders cease and people flood the pubs.

The venue where the 34-year-old works will not be hiring a security guard, after going months without income, so staff will be responsible for checking a patron’s vaccination status and making sure they follow safety measures.

‘A lot of people are angry about having to get vaccinated and I worry they will try to make a point at the door,’ Lucy said.

Thousands of retail workers will return to the work for the first time since late June on Monday (pictured a florist in Maroubra)

Thousands of retail workers will return to the work for the first time since late June on Monday (pictured a florist in Maroubra)

From Monday, indoor and outdoor gatherings will also be permitted, with caps increased to 10 and 30 people respectively

From Monday, indoor and outdoor gatherings will also be permitted, with caps increased to 10 and 30 people respectively

While she’s keen to return to work after being stood down during the latest lockdown, Lucy also feels exposed as the Delta variant continues to circulate throughout Greater Sydney.

‘I definitely feel at risk,’ she said.

‘I worry a lot of the pubs will be environments where the virus can spread pretty easily.’

The United Workers Union, which represents essential frontline and public-facing workers, is concerned staff checking a person’s vaccination status could face unsafe situations and is calling for clearer, binding rules for bosses to protect staff as well as penalties for non-compliance.

From Monday, indoor and outdoor gatherings will also be permitted, with caps increased to 10 and 30 people respectively.

However, people who are unvaccinated – or have not had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine – effectively remain locked down until December.

‘It’s been 100 days of blood, sweat and no beers but we’re back in action,’ Mr Perrottet said on Sunday.

‘NSW is leading the country out of this pandemic.’

NSW on Saturday reached 90.3 per cent first-dose vaccination coverage for the eligible population, while 73.5 per cent are now fully jabbed.

On the final day of the lockdown on Sunday, the state reported 477 new local COVID-19 cases and six deaths.

None of those who died – all men – were fully vaccinated.

There are 794 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, with 159 in intensive care units and 76 on ventilators.

The lockdown began in late June.

More to come 

WHAT CAN I DO TODAY IN NSW? 

TRAVEL:

If you’ve had both shots of the vaccine you can now travel beyond the 5km bubble.

Sydneysiders can now move about anywhere across the Harbour City as far as the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, or Shellharbour.

Those living in regional areas are free to travel throughout the state.

But intrastate travel between Sydney and regional areas is still a no-go. 

DRINKING AND GOING OUT: 

Double-dosed residents can now head back to the pub with the one person per sq/m rule in place. 

Dancing and standing up indoors is still banned, with nightclubs keeping their doors shut 

SEEING FRIENDS AND FAMILY: 

You can also have up to 10 friends inside their home or gather with 30 outdoors.

DINING: 

Your are now free to get a table at your favourite café or restaurant with the one person per sqm rule also in place. 

Again, only the fully-vaccinated are allowed 

GYMS:

 Gyms are now open to the fully vaccinated with up to 20 people allowed to workout indoors or in a class.

SHOPS: 

You can once again browse your favourite shops with retail stores allowed to operate under the one person per sqm rule. 

ENTERTAINMENT: 

Catch a movie at the cinema with all  indoor entertainment facilities allowed to trade at 75 per cent capacity.

This means theatres are also open, as are museums. 

BEAUTY AND HAIR: 

Personal services like haircuts are also permitted with five people allowed in the salon. 

Nail salons, barbers and massage parlours will also be open.

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