Dominic Perrottet has wasted no time settling into his new role as NSW premier meeting with health officials just moments after being sworn in to re-examine the state’s roadmap out of lockdown.
‘Freedom Day’ for the fully-vaccinated is still set for Monday October 11, but the Liberal Party leader is looking at getting children back in the classroom sooner than planned and allowing more visitors to homes.
A father-of-six and Catholic, he is also considering restarting religious services ahead of schedule.
As treasurer under Gladys Berejiklian, he often spoke out against the state’s stringent Covid lockdown measures vocally opposing some of the harsher restrictions which limited movement and impacted the economy.
But the new state leader is reportedly unlikely to bring forward the scheduled end of lockdown to this Friday because businesses and venues wouldn’t have enough time to prepare for the return of eager customers.
Dominic Perrottet (pictured) has wasted no time settling into his new role as premier meeting with health officials just moments after being sworn in to re-examine the state’s roadmap out of lockdown
The Liberal Party leader is looking at getting children back in the classroom sooner than planned on October 18 (stock image)
The newly sworm in premier is also hoping religious services can proceed ahead of schedule (pictured, a service in Burwood before lockdown)
One of his first orders of business, after his predecessor was forced to step down from office amid a corruption probe, is to reshape the state’s crisis cabinet to focus more on the financial recovery.
Ms Berejiklian had convened the group in 2020 with the key lens placed squarely on the massive health risks to the state under the Covid-19 crisis.
But case number have since dropped from more than 1,500 daily infections during the height of the Delta outbreak to about 600, as vaccination rates have soared.
With the next closed-door meeting set to go ahead under his leadership on Wednesday for the first time, Premier Perrottet is set to instruct policymakers and health experts to emphasise the importance of ‘economic recovery and community wellbeing’.
‘We had a very constructive discussion around all the elements of the road map – the road map is a very good plan,’ Mr Perrottet told The Australian.
‘But we discussed areas of it and went through it line by line.’
He is reportedly aiming to loosen some of the restrictions around household gathering, which could open up the door to more guests – with five currently scheduled to get the green light on October 11.
There is also the possibility schools may return before October 18 and that religious services may also be granted greater freedoms.
But NSW Health will still need to sign off on any such changes.
The newly sworn in NSW premier Dominic Perrottet is pictured with his wife Helen and their children
Freedom Day is still set for next Monday, October 11, although Dominic Perrottet is re-examining the timetable
NSW COVID-19 VACCINATION RATE:
SINGLE DOSE: 88.5% of state’s population aged 16 have received a first dose
FULLY VACCINATED: 67.5% per cent of state’s population aged 16 are double-jabbed.
Source: NSW Health on Tuesday, October 5.
‘What I commit to doing is this afternoon, after the swearing-in, I will sit down with (Health Minister Brad Hazzard) and the health team, alongside Minister Ayres and members of the Crisis Cabinet, to have a discussion in relation to the roadmap,’ he said on Tuesday.
‘But obviously, this is early days and we have done so well and my intention at this stage is that that day will remain on Monday for next week, but there are a number of issues that need to be looked at, and obviously, help is our number one priority right now.’
NSW is expected to pass the threshold of 70 per cent of the eligible population being double vaccinated this week, triggering the restoration of many freedoms that had been foregone during a four-month lockdown next Monday.
These include the reopening of hospitality venues, retail, hairdressers and nail salons and other personal care services with strict limits on capacity.
The vaccine milestone will also trigger the resumption of gyms, sporting facilities, stadiums, theatres and indoor recreation.
Weddings, funerals and places of worship will also be allowed to take place for up to 50 vaccinated guests allowed to attend services.
NSW is expected to pass the threshold of 70 per cent of the eligible population being double vaccinated this week, triggering the restoration of many freedoms that had been foregone during a four-month lockdown next Monday (pictured: Coogee Beach in Sydney)
Before he took over from the recently resigned Gladys Berejiklian, Mr Perrottet’s public statements had revealed a less patient approach to re-opening the the state.
He’d been careful not to publicly disagree with the plan to restore many freedoms to the state’s residents when the 70 and 80 per cent double vaccination thresholds were passed, but had previously expressed frustration at the prospect of Australia becoming ‘a hermit kingdom’.
After the state was plunged into lockdown, there were claims Mr Perrottet had stridently opposed extending restrictions during a crisis cabinet meeting in July.
In response, Mr Perrottet told 2GB’s Ben Fordham: ‘My job is to advocate for businesses and keeping people in jobs and that’s what I do, what I don’t do is speak about the individual positions that ministers take in relation to those discussions.’
Mr Perrottet is understood to have stridently opposed extending Greater Sydney’s lockdown during a crisis cabinet meeting in July
In a recent interview with Daily Mail Australia, Mr Perrottet predicted a ‘glorious summer’ ahead for NSW as life began to return to normal.
‘Now as Australians, and particularly in NSW, we’ve got restrictions in place and you look overseas and we see the US Open packed, the Premier League with packed crowds and we go ”we want to have that”, and that’s what we’re going to have here in NSW as we open up in a safe way,’ he said.
He was particularly keen for nightclubs to re-open and community sport to resume.
‘Your early years at university and college are the best years of your life and we want to get the pubs and clubs open again and we want to bring fun back to our state,’ he said.
Premier Perrottet has said is particularly keen for nightclubs to re-open and community sport to resume (pictured, locked down Sydneysiders in Chatswood)
Mr Perrottet also said he hoped to see an end to lockdowns once the 70 and 80 per cent targets were hit.
‘From time to time, there may be the need for targeted restrictions. But ultimately, we’ve got to learn to live alongside this virus, and vaccination has been the key to doing it,’ the father-of-six said.
Mr Perrottet, 39, was named as premier on Tuesday following a meeting of Liberal MPs to elect a replacement for Ms Berejiklian, who suddenly resigned on Friday after being named as a person of interest in investigations being run by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
He defeated Planning Minister Rob Stokes in a party room vote for the leadership at 10am on Tuesday AEDT.
NSW recorded 608 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, including seven more deaths.
Religious services will be allowed to reconvene from Monday with 50 worshippers (pictured, The Lebanese Muslim Association in Sydney’s Lakemba)
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
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.
· 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 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.