Holidays are BANNED until November 1 as Dominic Perrottet scraps critical new freedom due to lagging vaccination rates in regional NSW
- The NSW government decided in cabinet on Thursday to delay intrastate travel
- Travel between regions and Sydney was set to resume at 80 per cent jab rate
- The plan was changed due to an imbalance of vaccination rates across the state
- Premier Dominic Perrottet said it would give regions time to catch up to city rate
Sydneysiders will have to wait a little while longer for their next holiday as regional travel is delayed until November 1.
NSW deputy premier Paul Toole announced that intrastate travel will not restart for another two weeks because of low vaccination rates in regional NSW.
‘I know it’s frustrating,’ he told 2GB on Friday. ‘I know it’s a very difficult time because I know that people are wanting to pack their bags.’
‘They’re wanting to go to regional NSW, they want to go on a holiday, they want to go and catch up with family and their loved ones.’
Those in Greater Sydney had been holding out for NSW to hit the 80 per cent double dose vaccination target with the promise of more freedoms.
Sydneysiders desperate to leave the city after four months of lockdown face delayed holidays due to lower vaccination rates in regional NSW. Pictured: Byron Bay in Northern NSW
But those dreams were dashed on Thursday after it was decided in the NSW cabinet meeting that regional travel would be delayed, 9news reported.
The decision was made to allow regional areas more time to get their vaccination rates up as high as Sydney.
While NSW is expected hit the 80 per cent target by Monday, Mr Perrottet warned earlier this week intrastate travel may be pushed back amid concerns opening up could put residents in lower vaccination rate areas at risk.
‘It has come up because of the significant increase in the vaccination rate and that is a great thing,’ he said.
‘We want to open up as quickly and safely as possible. That is exactly what we are doing.’
Mr Perrottet said authorities anticipate that Covid numbers will climb across the state once travel restrictions are lifted.
There is speculation regional travel will not restart until October 25. Pictured: Huskisson on the NSW South Coast
‘We certainly believe, based on the advice we’ve received from (NSW) Health, that there will be naturally an increase in case numbers, in hospitalisations, as mobility increases across the state,’ he said previously.
At the forefront of concerns are popular travel destinations like Byron Bay and the Hunter Valley vineyards where jab rates are lagging.
While NSW has achieved 75 per cent coverage, the Byron Shire in Northern NSW sits at just 47 per cent.
In the town of Cessnock – gateway to the Hunter Valley’s stunning wine region – just 58.4 per cent of residents aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated.
Sydneysiders looking for a getaway will have to wait a little longer as regional travel is delayed (pictured: Surfers in Byron Bay)
Coffs Harbour and Kempsey on the north and mid-north coast are also at 58 per cent, while Inverell in the Northern Tablelands and Junee in the Riverina have only managed 57 per cent coverage.
The announcement comes as NSW recorded 406 new locally acquired cases of Covid on Thursday- down from 444 the previous day.
There were also six more deaths reported and 711 people are now in hospital with COVID, with 143 people in ICU.
More than 91 per cent of the eligible population have had their first vaccination and 76.5 per cent are now fully vaccinated.
The state now looks set to reach its 80 per cent double Covid-19 vaccination milestone by the weekend, which would be earlier than expected.