Thousands of cooped-up Sydneysiders braved the rain and chilly conditions across the city on Monday as they partied for the first time in 106 days.
New South Wales was finally released from its gruelling Covid-19 lockdown after the state shattered its 70 per cent vaccination target last week, triggering the return of pubs, restaurants, cafes, retails shops, gyms and personal services like hairdressers.
And after almost four months of being trapped inside their homes cut off from friends and family, some couldn’t wait another moment longer to head down to the pub and catch up with their mates at long last.
Crowds ditched their lockdown tracksuits for the occasion, with many seen spilling out of the city’s pubs late into the night, likely leading to some sore heads on Tuesday morning.
But officials have warned it will be two more weeks until regional travel, large house parties and nightclubs make a return, with newly-appointed premier Dominic Perrottet confirming he was unlikely to move the goalposts for reopening when the 80 per cent fully-vaccinated milestone is reached.
While the target is likely to be met on Monday October 11, with many having earmarked this date for further restrictions to ease, roadmap rules stipulate more changes can’t take place until the following Monday, which is October 25.
Lockdown trackies were ditched for glamorous outfits on Freedom Day as rain poured down two women looking to enjoy their first night out in months (pictured)
One Sydneysider may have had a little too much freedom when bars flung open their doors on Monday
Revellers at The Royal Hotel in Sydney’s Paddington line up outside with big smiles as they flash their vaccination status at the door
Thousands of cooped-up revellers braved the rain and chilly conditions across Sydney on Monday as they partied for the first time in 106 days (pictured, pub-goers at The Marlborough in Sydney’s Newtown)
Pub-goers flocked to the city’s drinking holes on Monday night (pictured outside The Royal in Sydney’s Paddington) with lockdown finally over
A brief moment of clear blue sky see day-drinkers head to the beer garden at the The Marlborough in Sydney’s Newtown (pictured)
Despite many Covid restrictions remaining, the weekday in October felt more like a wild New Years Eve celebration as Sydneysiders ditched their at-home activewear and glammed themselves up for the momentous occasion.
Venues started filling out before lunchtime as more and more partygoers piled in later in the evening.
Not even the persistent rain and chilly 13C weather could dampen the spirits of the newly-freed residents who proudly flashed their digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate as they entered venues.
Under the new rules, any customer entering a non-essential business must prove their vaccination status.
Those who aren’t able to verify that they’ve received the jab are refused entry.
Pubs are allowed to operated under the one person per four sqm rule after the state hit its 70 per cent vaccination target (pictured, The Marlborough in Sydney’s Newtown)
A rugged-up man braves the cold and is captured sipping a red wine at a newly opened Sydney bar on Freedom Day
Bartenders are busy mixing drinks inside a Sydney pub on Monday, as Sydney ended its nearly four-month-long Covid lockdown
But it wasn’t just pubgoers having the time of their lives.
Gym junkies could once again hit the weight rack after almost four months of Netflix and UberEats.
Members of the famed City Gym in Sydney’s Darlinghurst were pictured breaking a sweat with up to 20 people now permitted train at a time.
Haircuts were also in high demand on the first day out of lockdown.
The ban on hairdressers was one of the most hated rules of the prolonged stay-at-home orders – even with the 5km travel bubble in place, curfews in parts of the Sydney’s west and no weddings allowed.
Fashionistas jumped at the chance to get their locks chopped with barbers and hair salons now allowed to tend to up to five customers at a time.
Gym junkies could once again hit the weight rack after almost four months cooped up in their homes (pictured, Sydney’s City Gym on Monday)
A woman at City Gym in Sydney’s Darlinghurst is pictured throwing a left hook after the gym reopened on Monday
Haircuts were also in high demand on the first day out of lockdown. Pictured: A woman gets her hair cut at a salon near the Sydney Harbour Bridge on October 11, 2021
The ban on hairdressers was one of the most hated rules of the prolonged stay-at-home orders. Pictured: Barber Amy Drewes cuts Dom Lotter’s hair at Men’s Biz Barber and Shop
Fashionistas jumped at the chance to get their locks chopped with barbers and hair salons now allowed to serve up to five people at a time. Pictured: Senior stylist Esther of Adom Beauty and Braiding Salon braids a clients hair on October 11, 2021 in Sydney, Australia
Stylist Pille Mardimae colours a clients hair at the Wild Life Hair Sogo salon in Surry Hills on October 11, 2021 in Sydney, Australia
WHAT CAN I DO NOW LOCKDOWN IS OVER?
If you’ve had both shots of the vaccine you can now travel beyond the 5km bubble.
Sydneysiders can now move about anywhere across the Harbour City as far as the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, or Shellharbour.
Those living in regional areas are free to travel throughout the state.
But intrastate travel between Sydney and regional areas is still a no-go.
DRINKING AND GOING OUT:
Double-dosed residents can now head back to the pub with the one person per sq/m rule in place.
Dancing and standing up indoors is still banned, with nightclubs keeping their doors shut
SEEING FRIENDS AND FAMILY:
You can also have up to 10 friends inside their home or gather with 30 outdoors.
Your are now free to get a table at your favourite café or restaurant with the one person per sq/m rule also in place.
Again, only the fully-vaccinated are allowed
Gyms are now open to the fully vaccinated with up to 20 people allowed to workout indoors or in a class.
You can once again browse your favourite shops with retail stores allowed to operate under the one person per sq/m rule.
Catch a movie at the cinema with all indoor entertainment facilities allowed to trade at 75 per cent capacity.
This means theatres are also open, as are museums.
BEAUTY AND HAIR:
Personal services like haircuts are also permitted with five people allowed in the salon.
Nail salons, barbers and massage parlours will also be open.
As part of the reopening face masks are no longer mandatory outdoors, with the exception of hospitality workers actively serving customers.
Face coverings however still must be worn inside except when eating or drinking.
Double-jabbed residents are now be able to venture more than 5km from their home with Sydneysiders able to travel and even holiday anywhere across the Harbour City and even as far as the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, or Shellharbour.
Those outside of Sydney are also free to move about but intrastate travel is still off the cards between regional areas and Sydney until the state reaches the 80 per cent fully-vaccinated rate.
The eased restrictions also allow ten double-dosed visitors in the home with 30 permitted to gather outdoors.
Ousted state leader Gladys Berejiklian’s original roadmap had previously set the cap at five indoors and 20 outside, however just 24 hours after being sworn into office Mr Perrottet made the call to increase the capacity limits.
He also doubled the number of vaccinated guests permitted to attend weddings, funerals and religious services with 100 people able to take part in the ceremony, but they must remain seated when eating and drinking.
Gyms, cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars, non-essential retail, libraries and churches can operate under the one person per 4sqm rule but nightclubs will remain closed.
Hairdressers and beauticians can also welcome back vaccinated clients but are restricted to a maximum of five in the premises at one time.
Gyms can open with up to 20 clients per class, while stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can have up to 5,000 visitors.
Indoor entertainment facilities such as cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.
Further restrictions will be eased later this month once NSW hits 80 per cent vaccination, before freedoms open up to the unvaccinated from December 1.
With 73.97 per cent of the population over 16 now fully vaccinated and 90.44 per cent already receiving their first dose, it’s expected the state may reach its 80 per cent target before the end of this week.
The milestone will trigger even more freedoms in the state with regional holidays back on the agenda for the fully vaccinated and increased capacity at hospitality venues, personal service businesses and events.
Once the threshold is reached religious services will be permitted to welcome unvaccinated worshippers and nightclubs will be able to throw open their doors as long as there is no dancing.
The marker would also mean the return of house parties and the great Aussie barbeque for the fully vaccinated with 50 allowed to gather outdoors and 20 inside the home.
It was originally predicted that the 80 per cent target would kick in before Monday October 11, but it’s now likely October 25 will be the date.
Rumour had been swirling that Mr Perrottet would consider bringing the scheduled easing of restrictions forward a week, but the premier was quick to shut down the speculation when asked about the possible change to the roadmap.
‘I won’t make policy on the run. We’ll do things in a considered way,’ Mr Perrottet said on Monday.
The newly-appointed premier was previously the state’s treasurer, and had taken a firmly pro-business stance during cabinet discussions about lockdown.
He replaced long-serving leader Gladys Berejiklian, who had worked closely with Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant throughout the pandemic, last week after she was revealed to be subject to an ICAC inquiry.
People enjoy their drinks at a pub on October 11, 2021, as Sydney ended their lockdown against the Covid-19 coronavirus after 106 days and restaurants began throwing open their doors to anyone who could prove they were vaccinated
A bartender pours beer for his customers at a pub on October 11, 2021, as Sydney ended their gruelling lockdown
Patrons of the Lord Roberts Hotel in Darlinghurst are seen drinking outside on October 11, 2021 in Sydney, Australia
Shoppers wear face masks as they line up to enter the Gucci store in Sydney’s CBD, despite the heavy weather
Eager shoppers flooded back to Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall on Freedom Day despite chilly weather and persistent rain
Retail staff at Sydney’s Pitt St Mall ensure shoppers have checked into their store using QR code and shown their vaccination status
Revised roadmap to freedom: All the changes for fully vaccinated NSW residents after hitting 70% jab target
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s revised freedom plan will kick off on Monday, October 11
Gatherings in the home and public spaces
· Up to ten visitors will be allowed in a home where all adults are vaccinated (not including children 12 and under).
· Up to 30 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.
· Indoor swimming pools open for lessons, squad training, lap swimming and rehab activities only
Weddings, funerals and places of worship
· Up to 100 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.
· Up to 100 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.
· For those not fully vaccinated lower caps of 5 and ten apply for weddings and funerals.
· Churches and places of worship to open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with performers exempt from ban on singing.
· Ten person cap on choirs in places of worship and at religious services, with all performers to be fully vaccinated
· The 5km radius will be dropped but Sydneysiders can only travel within greater Sydney – including the Central Coast, Wollongong and Blue Mountains.
· 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.