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Dom Perrottet reopens indoor pools, pubs, nightclubs as NSW hits 70% vaccination target

Nightclubs could be back open within weeks, with kids swimming lessons given the green light from Monday in changes to New South Wales’ roadmap out of lockdown made by new premier Dominic Perrottet. 

On his first full day on the job, the premier made the announcement his predecessor Gladys Berejiklian had long-awaited – that the state had reached the 70 per cent fully-vaccinated milestone.

This means hard fought for freedoms will finally be triggered on Monday October 11, including the reopening of pubs, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and retail stores.

With capacity limits in place, the fully-vaccinated will be allowed to abandon lockdown restrictions that millions have endured since June 26.

Since the outbreak’s first case was reported in Bondi ten days earlier, there have been 60,596 locally-acquired cases and 395 Covid-related deaths. 

There are 959 Covid-infected patients in NSW hospitals, with 188 in ICU and 93 breathing through a ventilator – all numbers expected to rise in coming weeks.

But with millions itching to get back to a sense of normality and fears for the mental health of a generation, Mr Perrottet is looking to go further with the easing of restrictions as his fresh-faced leadership focuses on the state’s economic recovery.

On his first full day on the job Dominic Perrottet (pictured with Chris Hemsworth) has already started tinkering with NSW roadmap out of Covid lockdown allowing kid’s swimming lessons at indoors pools to go ahead from Monday

Mr Perrottet is gunning behind the scenes to have nightclubs reopened before December (pictured, a Sydney nightclub)

Mr Perrottet is gunning behind the scenes to have nightclubs reopened before December (pictured, a Sydney nightclub)

This could mean nightclubs and amusement parks, originally slated to reopen in December, could instead open within weeks when the jab rate is set to surpass 80 per cent.

At Wednesday’s crisis cabinet meeting – which has now been rebranded as the Covid and Economic Recovery Committee – Mr Perrottet was also gunning for the mandate which requires all indoor workers to wear face masks to be dropped ahead of the December 1 cut-off. 

Another significant change is the scrapping of the stalwart 11am press conferences, with Covid numbers now set to be released at 9am each morning by NSW Health. 

It has been a gruelling time for NSW residents and particularly Sydneysiders, who’ve been living under harsh stay-at-home measures for 15 weeks following June’s outbreak, which began with an infected airport driver.

At the height of the Delta outbreak in August there were almost 1,600 daily infections, but that figure has now fallen to below 600 in October as vaccinations rates have skyrocketed.

Newly-appointed NSW premier Dominic Perrottet broke the long-awaited news the state had reached its vaccination target on social media

Newly-appointed NSW premier Dominic Perrottet broke the long-awaited news the state had reached its vaccination target on social media

CHANGES TO THE ROADMAP: WHAT WE KNOW 

Children’s swimming lessons in indoor pools will be back from Monday October 11 – previously set for when NSW hits the 80 per cent double-jabbed rate

Nightclubs and amusement centres could also be reopened early, likely when the 80 per cent milestone is reached – originally they were to open in December

Mandatory masks in offices until December 1 may also be abandoned early

11am Covid press conferences are gone – to be replaced by 9am announcements from next week 

‘As we hit the key 70 per cent and 80 per cent vaccination targets in coming days, we need to ensure that our focus remains on keeping people safe and continuing to strive for above 90 per cent vaccination rates,’ Mr Perrottet said.

‘Alongside this, we must have a sharp focus on how we support businesses and ensure people return to work and give the NSW economy the best chance of bouncing back.

‘As we head into December and over the summer period as businesses open… we’re going to have a very bright summer.’

The easing of restrictions around children’s swimming lessons at indoor pools will also extend to injury rehabilitation sessions and sports training.

From next week wedding, funeral and religious services will be able to go ahead with up to 50 guests, but they must remain seated to eat or drink and no singing is allowed.

Millions of people across New South Wales have rolled their sleeves up to get vaccinated - rocketing the state to the 70 per cent double-dosed milestone (pictured, a nurse gives a Pfizer vaccine in Belmore)

Millions of people across New South Wales have rolled their sleeves up to get vaccinated – rocketing the state to the 70 per cent double-dosed milestone (pictured, a nurse gives a Pfizer vaccine in Belmore)

Dominic Perrottet (pictured) said the 70 per cent milestone has signalled a big step towards a full reopening and a proper summer

Dominic Perrottet (pictured) said the 70 per cent milestone has signalled a big step towards a full reopening and a proper summer

Pubs, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and retail stores all set to throw open their doors from next week with some capacity limits (pictured, customers at Sydney Opera House before lockdown)

Pubs, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and retail stores all set to throw open their doors from next week with some capacity limits (pictured, customers at Sydney Opera House before lockdown)

Outdoor recreation facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen under the one person per 4sqm with a cap of 5,000 people.

Concert venues outside can also go ahead with a cap with up to 500 people, who must remain seated.

But anyone heading to these events or to pubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms, retails stores and personal services like hairdressers, will need to prove their vaccination status by scanning in with QR code.

Vaccine passports have been a hot political topic in Australia and throughout the world, but Down Under the business community has been a major driver behind the idea, seeing it as a ticket to freedom and an answer to the relentless cycle of lockdowns that have crippled their establishments.

Under the NSW system, anyone who has received both jabs is issued with a commonwealth-assigned vaccination certificate through Medicare.

It has been a gruelling time for NSW residents and particularly Sydneysiders who've been living under harsh stay-at-home measures for 15 weeks following June's Bondi cluster (pictured, Sydney's Coogee Bay Hotel before lockdown)

It has been a gruelling time for NSW residents and particularly Sydneysiders who’ve been living under harsh stay-at-home measures for 15 weeks following June’s Bondi cluster (pictured, Sydney’s Coogee Bay Hotel before lockdown)

Masks will still be mandatory when restrictions ease on Monday, but non-essential retail stores will finally be allowed to reopen to the fully-vaccinated (pictured, a Bankstown grocery store during lockdown)

Masks will still be mandatory when restrictions ease on Monday, but non-essential retail stores will finally be allowed to reopen to the fully-vaccinated (pictured, a Bankstown grocery store during lockdown)

Roadmap to freedom: All the changes for fully vaccinated NSW residents after hitting 70% jab target

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's freedom plan will kick off after the state hits 70 per cent of adults double dosed

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s freedom plan will kick off after the state hits 70 per cent of adults double dosed 

Gatherings in the home and public spaces

· Up to five visitors will be allowed in a home where all adults are vaccinated (not including children 12 and under).

· Up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings.

Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms

· Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.

· Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule (unvaccinated people will continue to only be able to access critical retail).

· Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4sqm, capped at five clients per premises.

· Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.

· Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen.

Stadiums, theatres and major outdoor recreation facilities

· Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000 people.

· Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.

· Indoor entertainment and information facilities including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.

Weddings, funerals and places of worship

· Up to 50 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.

· Up to 50 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.

· Churches and places of worship to open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with no singing.

Travel

· Domestic travel, including trips to regional NSW, will be permitted.

· Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.

· Carpooling will be permitted.

Non-vaccinated young people aged under 16 will be able to access all outdoor settings but will only be able to visit indoor venues with members of their household.

Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so.

There will be revised guidance on isolation for close and casual contacts who are fully vaccinated, with details to be provided closer to the reopening date.

Masks

· Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes and at airports.

· Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask when outdoors.

· Children aged under 12 will not need to wear a mask indoors.  

In order to enter a venue, a person would simply flash the certificate or scan in with a QR code to prove they’ve had the jab.

Anyone who doesn’t get a green tick will be refused entry and will not be able to enter any venues until December 1. Mr Perrottet reiterated on Wednesday there would be no change to this rule.

While things are looking up, it’s going to be a baptism of fire for the devout Catholic father-of-six.

The state’s youngest-ever leader at 39 has a long list of political challenges ahead in in the lead up to Christmas – with many from within his own party.

His predecessor Ms Berejiklian will be raked over the coals later this month after becoming the centre of a corruption probe.

When the state's pubs reopen on Monday they will operate under the four person per sqm rule (pictured, NYE revellers in Sydney last year)

When the state’s pubs reopen on Monday they will operate under the four person per sqm rule (pictured, NYE revellers in Sydney last year)

Mr Perrottet's predecessor Gladys Berejiklian (pictured together) will be raked over the coals later this month after becoming the centre of a corruption probe

Mr Perrottet’s predecessor Gladys Berejiklian (pictured together) will be raked over the coals later this month after becoming the centre of a corruption probe

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating if she tried to help her disgraced ex-lover Darly Maguire in his efforts to obtain $5.5million in public grants while they were both in office.

The state Liberal Party has now seen three recent premiers forced to resign over corruption allegations. 

Mr Perrottet along with other ministers may even be called on to give evidence at the hearing.

In a move that will further destabilise the party, three by-elections are set to go ahead before Christmas with Ms Berejiklian’s seat of Willoughby, outgoing Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s seat of Bega and deputy premier John Barilaro’s seat of Monaro all up for grabs.

Although they are all safe Coalition districts, with such a razor thin majority in the house a shock loss or two could spell disaster and may mean they have to rely on cross-bench support if there are any more surprises before the March 2023 election.

Mr Perrottet has rebranded the crisis cabinet meetings to the Covid and Economic Recovery Committee (pictured, a nearly empty George Street in Sydney on Wednesday)

Mr Perrottet has rebranded the crisis cabinet meetings to the Covid and Economic Recovery Committee (pictured, a nearly empty George Street in Sydney on Wednesday)

While things are looking up, it's going to be a baptism of fire for the devout Catholic father-of-six (pictured with two of his children)

While things are looking up, it’s going to be a baptism of fire for the devout Catholic father-of-six (pictured with two of his children) 

Mr Perrottet also faces other challenges within his own party with supporters of the sensitive Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation fearful the deeply religious leader may stymie the proposed bill which has passed in the majority of states across Australia.

He’s then going to be under immense pressure from colleagues when a cabinet reshuffle arises over the Summer, particularly when there are just two Liberal women in the cabinet and a vast number of his underlings vying for a spot on the frontbench.

But most of all, if the state’s Covid case numbers start to spiral out of control, crippling the hospital system, the premier’s honeymoon period will come to a quick stop as he may be forced to plunge the state back into lockdown – a move which already occurred in Israel and Singapore despite their high vaccination rates.

While the challenges are daunting, Mr Perrettot remains unfazed.

‘I know it’s been a difficult time. But I have complete hope and optimism that our state’s future is incredibly bright,’ he said.

Crowds of up to 5000 people at sporting events will be permitted to go ahead from Monday (pictured, crowds in Brisbane)

Crowds of up to 5000 people at sporting events will be permitted to go ahead from Monday (pictured, crowds in Brisbane) 

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