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NSW announces 80% covid-19 vaccination rate freedoms

Unvaccinated NSW residents will still be banned from the pub when 80 per cent of the state is double-jabbed.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the difference in freedom for the vaccinated will be ‘stark’ when the rules are announced today.

‘I think you’ll be surprised at what will be announced. If you want the freedoms we are talking about right across the board you’re going to have to be vaccinated,’ he told 2GB radio on Monday morning. 

‘No one’s going to choose to be unvaccinated.’

The 80 per cent rate will bring back community sport and is expected to relax capacity requirements for venues

Unvaccinated Sydneysiders could be banned from entering pubs, visiting friends and attending sporting events until the state hits 90 per cent vaccination rates (pictured, a group of women enjoying a meal in Bondi)

Unvaccinated Sydneysiders could be banned from entering pubs, visiting friends and attending sporting events until the state hits 90 per cent vaccination rates (pictured, a group of women enjoying a meal in Bondi)

The comments contrasted with his words on September 13 when he said businesses would be able to let in unvaccinated patrons once the 80 per cent jab rate was hit.

‘It will only be a three to four weeks of short inconvenience,’ he told same radio station two weeks ago – before Premier Gladys Berejiklian overruled him and said unvaccinated people will still have their freedoms curtailed.

NSW is expected to reach the 70 per cent jab rate on October 6 and 80 per cent on October 15, according to data tracking site Covidlive.

The 70 per cent target will see pubs and restaurants re-open with a four-square-metre rule and allow five visitors to homes. 

Regional travel is supposed to restart at 70 per cent but this may be pushed back to the 80 per cent mark because several regional areas have lower vaccination rates than Sydney

Regional travel is supposed to restart at 70 per cent but this may be pushed back to the 80 per cent mark because several regional areas have lower vaccination rates than Sydney

Several state ministers said those who don't opt for a jab could be left banned from pubs until the state hits at least 90 per cent. Pictured: Bondi Beach

Several state ministers said those who don’t opt for a jab could be left banned from pubs until the state hits at least 90 per cent. Pictured: Bondi Beach

The 80 per cent rate will bring back community sport and is expected to relax capacity requirements for venues.

Regional travel is supposed to restart at 70 per cent but this may be pushed back to the 80 per cent mark because several regional areas have lower vaccination rates than Sydney. 

‘We’ve got a couple of outbreaks in regional, rural NSW, and we’ve been monitoring,’ Mr Barilaro said on Monday.

‘We always said that we want to see regional travel back at 70 per cent but we will monitor that as we get close to the date, and we have done that so we’ll have more to say about that.’  

The easing of restrictions - expected on October 11 - will only apply to those fully vaccinated (pictured, spectators during an NRL game in Brisbane in September)

The easing of restrictions – expected on October 11 – will only apply to those fully vaccinated (pictured, spectators during an NRL game in Brisbane in September)

It comes as swimming pools, hardware stores and garden centres re-opened in Sydney on Monday, including to the unvaccinated. 

Swimmers will be faced with two-hour maximum time slots, while changing rooms will remain closed with only outdoor showers and accessible toilets in use.

Groups of five fully-vaccinated people are allowed in, while the un-vaccinated will be only permitted in groups of two – with a ‘swim and go’ policy meaning no one is allowed to stay and sunbake.

Sydneysiders swimming at Icebergs (pictured) in Bondi in mid-2021 just before the Delta variant outbreak swept through the city. Bondi Icebergs is still closed as bosses draw up Covid-safe plans

Sydneysiders swimming at Icebergs (pictured) in Bondi in mid-2021 just before the Delta variant outbreak swept through the city. Bondi Icebergs is still closed as bosses draw up Covid-safe plans

Several state ministers said those who don’t opt for a jab could be left out in the cold until the state hits at least 90 per cent. 

Those who have not received two jabs will not be able to enter restaurants, go to shops and pubs and could miss out on sporting events and travel. 

One minister warned that even after reaching the target of 80 per cent of eligible adults fully vaccinated, 1.6 million people would still be vulnerable to Covid-19. 

They questioned if the unvaccinated should be allowed to mingle at weddings and said regional and interstate travel would be limited. 

‘The other states aren’t going to let people in if they’re not vaccinated. You might be able to catch a Manly ferry, but that’s about all,’ one minister told the Sydney Morning Herald.  

Current predictions have revealed NSW is set to hit the 70 per cent vaccination target in just over two weeks on October 11 (pictured, bar staff making drinks in Sydney in May 2020)

Current predictions have revealed NSW is set to hit the 70 per cent vaccination target in just over two weeks on October 11 (pictured, bar staff making drinks in Sydney in May 2020)

Premier Gladys Berejiklian discouraged people from thinking of the state’s reopening next month as ‘Freedom Day’. 

NSW was ‘almost gallop(ing) to the finish line’ of 70 per cent full vaccination among its eligible population, she said on Friday.  

‘I’m always wary of using terms like Freedom Day because when we start to open up it must be step-by-step, it has to be done cautiously,’ she told reporters.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said he does not want a ‘two-tiered society’ in NSW, arguing the state should ‘open up for everyone’ once the vaccine has been accessible to the entire eligible population. 

However Opposition Leader Chris Minns suggested the comment could undermine public health messaging.

‘It’s really important the NSW government is singing from the same song sheet and continues to encourage people to get vaccinated,’ he said. 

NSW residents who haven't rolled up their sleeves may be banned from attending weddings (pictured, a wedding held in Sydney in September)

NSW residents who haven’t rolled up their sleeves may be banned from attending weddings (pictured, a wedding held in Sydney in September)

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said he would only advise the scrapping of QR codes and vaccine passports once the state hit ‘saturation levels’. 

Mr Dominello said these vaccination rates of 90 to 96 per cent are likely to be hit by Christmas, in welcome news for lockdown-weary Sydneysiders.  

‘Notwithstanding that these are my babies, I will be the first to turn them off,’ he said.

‘The reality is, until we get to that high point, there will be a place for them. But they are only to be used in pandemic situations.’ 

Vaccine passports are expected to be in the hands of NSW residents by mid-October, a week after the state’s propositioned ‘Freedom Day’ on October 11. 

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

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. 

 

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