NSW is another step closer to eased restrictions as the state recorded 1035 new coronavirus cases and five deaths.
The state remains on track to hit its 70 per cent double jab target in the first week of October with 54.2 per cent of eligible residents now fully vaccinated.
A quarter of NSW students aged 12-15 have now received at least one jab as they prepare to return to the classroom within weeks.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian assured the vaccine passport will be ready to be rolled out when the state reopens as discussions continue about what life will looks when the state hits the 80 per cent double dose target.
‘When we hit 70 per cent double dose, irrespective of when it is, (we’ll be) ready to roll out that vaccine passport,’ she said.
NSW is on track to hit its 70 per cent double jab target earlier than estimated
‘I want to assure the business community that the NSW will have a similar compliance regime to before the Delta outbreak.’
‘It won’t be different to what it was beforehand but we’ll remind everybody was expectations to ensure that’s the case.’
‘The government is also busily working on our 80 per cent road map which we expect to start implementing excitingly somewhere mid-October and we’ll know, obviously, closer to that time.’
She also warned unvaccinated residents will miss out on new freedoms even after the state hits 80 per cent double dose.
‘At 80 per cent additional freedoms will be for those who are fully vaccinated,’ the Premier added.
The five fatalities take the death toll from the current NSW outbreak to 260.
They include a woman her 50s who died at home in western Sydney and tested positive after her death.
The other victims included an unvaccinated woman in her 50s who died at RPA, a person in their 60s, a person in their 70s and a fully vaccinated woman in her 80s from the Wollongong who had underlying health conditions.
Around 1232 patients cases are being treated in hospital with 242 in ICU.
The Sydney suburbs of Greenacre, Guildford, Bankstown, Revesby, Merrylands, Fairfield, Liverpool, Condell Park, Auburn and Blacktown remain areas of concern for health officials.
More than 300 cases were from South Western Sydney Local Health District, followed by Western Sydney with 211, 126 are from the city’s east, 100 from Sydney LHD, while 62 were from Illawarra Shoalhaven region.
The Byron, Tweed and Kempsey regions were plunged into into a snap seven day lockdown on Tuesday after a Covid-19 positive essential worker flew from Sydney to Ballina on Saturday and was active in the community.
Stay at home orders apply to anyone who has been in Kempsey on the mid north coast since September 14 and Byron or Tweed in the far north since September 18.
Queensland responded to the lockdown announcement by reinstating Tweed and Byron shires as ‘restricted’ LGAs from 1am on Wednesday, September 22.
Border zone residents who have been to Byron and Tweed LGAs will only be allowed into Queensland for limited essential purposes, while Queensland residents can only return to the state if they entered a restricted area for limited essential purposes.
People entering Queensland from a non-restricted LGA who need to transit through a restricted LGA can do so if they travel in private transport, without stopping, for no more than two hours.
The vast majority of Sydney’s frustrated construction workers are set to get the green light to return to work from next Monday.
NSW Health is set to update its rules and restrictions for construction workers, allowing ‘all construction work to take place’, with the only remaining limits being on unvaccinated workers from the 12 Local Government Areas of concern.
The state government also announced a friends bubble for under-18s, where kids can visit each other in groups of three.
Health minister Brad Hazzard conceded concerns remain about the potential for unvaccinated children to transmit the virus but said the decision came down to a need for a balancing act.
‘The strict epidemiological view would be we all should stay somewhere away from everybody else forever, but the mental health issues and other socialisation issues and the fact that we’re human beings means there has to be a balance,’ he said on Tuesday.
Sydneysiders could soon be able to visit loved ones in aged care if vaccination rates continue
Vaccinated Sydneysiders can now gather outdoors in groups of five or less
The NSW government is also looking at restrictions surrounding other visitations such as loved ones in aged care.
‘I think the aged care is a huge issue for us and all of us want to visit, there would be few of us who wouldn’t have somebody in an aged care facility that we wouldn’t want to visit,’ Mr Hazzard said.
‘There obviously has to some safeguards in that regard. It comes down largely to the advice given to the aged care facilities to keep the virus out.’
The resumption of community sport is also currently being discussed.
Sydneysiders flocked to Kyeemagh Beach on Monday as more restrictions were each
Australia’s biggest state was hoping to reach the critical vaccination milestone in the middle of next month, and open up the following Monday.
In an interview with the Today Show on Tuesday, Deputy Premier John Barilaro confirmed ‘Freedom Day’ may be as early as October 11.
‘At this stage, it does look like it (the 70 per cent target) will happen just in the first week of October,’ Mr Barilaro told the program.
‘We said it’d be the Monday following. So, look, it’s very possible that it’s the 11th of October.
‘But definitely in the first or second week of October we’ll get the state open.’
The news is welcome relief to millions of residents in Sydney and surrounding regions desperate to be released from three months of 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
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.