The New South Wales premier has warned holidays will be different during the pandemic after confirming Australians will be able to travel within the state from next month.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday announced recreational regional travel within the state will be allowed again from June 1 – but warned those intending to travel they needed to book everything in advance.
The state will cautiously reopen pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes for 20 people to dine in – doubling the current patronage limits.
Art galleries, libraries and museums will also be permitted to start trading again in two weeks – almost 60 days after they were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under current NSW public health orders, regional travel for holidays is banned
Ms Berejiklian said that lifting the ban will be a unique tourism opportunity for NSW as Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland refuse to open their own borders.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned holidays won’t be what they once were as it’s announced residents will be able to travel within the state from June 1
‘Sydney will also be a major tourist attraction for people from all around Australia, we’ve got no restrictions, and they will have presumably no restrictions going back to their home state, they’ll have to prove to their authorities that they are from that state,’ she said.
However she warned that holidays would be different with coronavirus social distancing still in place.
‘Even though restrictions are being eased, the message is that the virus isn’t any less deadly or contagious, it just means we have to live with it,’ Ms Berejiklian told Wednesday morning’s Today Show.
‘Everything we do has to be about COVID safe. Until there is a vaccine or cure, we have to live with the deadly virus.
‘We have to book ahead. Please make sure you plan ahead. Book as many things as possible online and call ahead to the place you’re visiting to see what’s available and what options you have.’
Pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes in New South Wales will be permitted to sit 20 patrons from June 1, as the government eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Pictured: Last drinks at the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel in Sydney before bars closed on March 23
Regional travel within New South Wales will ease in just two weeks following a relaxation of coronavirus lockdown restrictions
It comes as NSW on Wednesday recorded four new COVID-19 cases from more than 7000 tests, with three people in intensive care. The new cases are from returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
Ms Berejiklian said that NSW will be open for people from other states, saying that’s ‘best for NSW and Australia’.
Queensland has flagged border closures with southern states could remain until at least September due to the coronavirus pandemic, prompting despair from tourism groups.
Western Australia and South Australia have also signalled borders could remain shut until the end of winter.
‘Even if some states don’t let us travel there we’ll invite the other states here,’ Berejiklian told the Daily Telegraph.
Ms Berejeklian went on to thank the state for their patience during the pandemic.
‘This is the day we’ve all been looking forward to since the COVID-19 travel restrictions were put in place earlier this year and I would like to thank everyone for their patience during the past few months of being cooped up at home,’ she said.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro described the changes as ‘Christmas come early’.
‘I said back in March that you weren’t welcome and we’ll see you around Christmas. Well, Christmas has come early and that first shout was on me,’ he said.
‘We welcome you to the regions, we are embracing the opportunity just before the June long weekend.’
Mr Barilaro said it’s an opportunity for regional communities to see a ‘tourism bump’.
The NSW Government is aiming to reopen pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes for 20 people to dine in within a month.
Under current restrictions, cafes and pubs are only allowed to seat up to 10 patrons at a time.
Ms Berejiklian also announced libraries, art galleries, and museums will also re-open on June 1.
She said there will be set times for the state’s most vulnerable to visit, and people will be required to leave a record of their visit so authorities can follow up if there is an infection linked to the facility.
The premier also flagged the number of people allowed in restaurants and cafes could also be doubled to 20 within the next month.
Art galleries, libraries and museums will also be permitted to start trading again in two weeks
‘That’s definitely on the cards,’ she told the Nine Network.
Speaking on Tuesday, Ms Berejiklian said they would be required to adhere to ‘strict new protocols’ – particularly for the duration of the pandemic.
‘NSW is home to some of Australia’s best art galleries and museums… I look forward to them reopening to the public,’ she said.
‘I would encourage museums, galleries and libraries to be innovative to ensure strict social distancing is adhered to and good hygiene measures are followed.’
The decision is an important economic boost for the struggling industry, which has barely stayed afloat since the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to close their doors on March 23
Residents in New South Wales will have plenty of options for travel, including the scenic coasts or Byron Bay
It comes as NSW Health on Wednesday confirmed the state recorded its 49th COVID-19 death, a 93-year-old female resident at Sydney’s Newmarch House nursing home.
Operators Anglicare reported the death on Tuesday. The elderly woman’s death is the 17th at the Anglicare-run facility and takes the national death toll to 100.
Meanwhile, NSW public school students will return to classrooms full time next Monday, two months after restrictions forced about 800,000 children to study remotely.
Some independent and Catholic schools will also return full-time on Monday, while others are working towards a June 1 return date.
Assemblies and excursions will remain off the table, non-essential school visitors will be banned and parents have been warned not to linger at the school gate.
The state government on Tuesday confirmed intrastate travel will be allowed from June 1
A spokeswoman for the Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney told Daily Mail Australia it was imperative that New South Wales allowed regional travel as soon as it was safe to do so