The State’s rapid rate of second dose vaccinations means that next Monday, 18 October is firming as the day that the Reopening NSW Roadmap’s 80 per cent settings will come into effect for those who are fully vaccinated.
Community sport will resume, more friends and family will be reunited, and there will no longer be a cap on guests at weddings and funerals. Masks will also no longer be required in offices, and drinking while standing and dancing will be permitted indoors and outdoors at hospitality venues.
From 1 November bookings for hospitality venues will no longer be capped.
Also from 1 November, the NSW Government will remove quarantine requirements and caps for overseas arrivals who the Commonwealth Government recognises as fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine, helping Australians stranded abroad get home before the end of the year. Further advice about testing requirements for arrivals will be provided in the coming days.
Fully vaccinated travellers already in quarantine will also complete their quarantine requirements on November 1, even if it is less than 14-days.
Overseas arrivals who are not fully vaccinated will be capped at 210 people per week, and will be required to undergo mandatory 14-days hotel quarantine.
Travel between Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Shellharbour and the Central Coast) and Regional NSW will also be permitted from 1 November, to allow people in the regions more time to receive their second vaccine.
To support regional businesses likely to be impacted by this change the NSW Government will defer the second taper of the JobSaver program until October 31. Eligible regional businesses will receive 30 per cent of weekly payroll, before tapering payments to the scheduled 15 per cent from November 1.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the easing of restrictions and return of overseas travellers would help reunite families and be a significant boost for the economy.
“We have reached this vaccination milestone quicker than anyone thought we could, and that is a testament to the hard work of people across the State turning out to get vaccinated,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Welcoming back fully vaccinated travellers will not only mean families and friends can be home in time for Christmas, it will also give our economy a major boost.”
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the tough decision had been made to delay travel between Regional NSW and Greater Sydney, with the NSW Government extending the JobSaver program for regional businesses. By 1 November, it’s expected more than 77 per cent of regional LGAs will be fully vaccinated.
“Everyone has done a brilliant job of getting vaccinated and rates are rising fast; however we have looked at the health modelling and listened to feedback from regional communities who want more time to get their double dose vaccination rates up as high as possible before they welcome back visitors,” Mr Toole said.
“We know businesses in regional NSW were getting ready to welcome people back, but it’s important we get this right so that we can have greater confidence the vaccines will do their job – and that when we re-open travel to the regions, they can remain open and that businesses have continued support in the meantime. We thank people for their patience.”
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres welcomed the 80 per cent reopening and recognised it as an important step on the road to recovery.
“We are opening up locally and we are opening up to the world. Now is a time for people to come together in safe way whether it be returning home from overseas or enjoying your favourite local venue,” Mr Ayres said.
All premises continue to operate at one person per 4sqm indoors and one person per 2sqm outdoors.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the NSW community had done an extraordinary job to reach the 80 per cent double dose vaccination target and was leading Australia out of the pandemic.
“The people of NSW have pulled together to achieve this fantastic outcome and bring us closer to life as we knew it before the pandemic, but we’re not there yet,” Mr Hazzard said.
“We can’t forget that COVID is still circulating amongst us in NSW and we need to keep getting vaccinated to push the double dose rates even higher. We want to get as close to 100 per cent double vaccination as possible to keep everyone safe.”
NSW residents will still need to comply with COVID-Safe check-ins and provide proof of vaccination to staff in most settings.
More restrictions will be relaxed on 1 December, as previously announced in the Reopening NSW Roadmap.