Premier flags exemptions to Covid rules for Christmas - but with a warning

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is determined to provide a bit of festive cheer after what has proven to be a year to forget for many across the state.

She has revealed plans to allow companies to host their annual Christmas parties as a “one-off exemption” to current coronavirus restrictions.

However, the temporary easing of restrictions comes with a warning, with the premier reminding NSW residents of the dangers the coronavirus poses moving into summer.

"We're always looking at opportunities to make life easier for our citizens, but we need to be mindful that with additional gatherings during the summer period, it is a riskier environment," Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

"We are also looking to provide one-off exemptions for a lot of organisations who might be doing their annual event or some type of commemorative, religious or Christmas event."

Gladys Berejiklian says there will be exemptions to restrictions for Christmas events. Source: AAP
Gladys Berejiklian says there will be exemptions to restrictions for Christmas events. Source: AAP

She once again reiterated the dangers of the family home when it came to transmission of the virus, and urged people to consider hosting their Christmas dinners at a hospitality venue where preventative measures could be enforced.

"I'll say to families who are preparing for Christmas and New Year's - please assume that the current health orders are in place - anything beyond this is a bonus," she said.

"For those of us with large extended families, 20 doesn't cut it, but all of us have to adjust because of Covid and that's a sacrifice all of us make to keep each other safe and keep jobs going."

Hospitality venues can accomodate groups of up to 30 under current restrictions.

Tuesday marked the third consecutive day NSW – and the nation – recorded zero new coronavirus cases in the community.

Businesses are set to be allowed to host annual Christmas events. Source: Getty
Businesses are set to be allowed to host annual Christmas events. Source: Getty

It comes after a flare-up of cases in southwest Sydney which appeared to have spread into the Southern Highlands after cases were detected in Moss Vale last week.

On Tuesday, there was a global breakthrough in terms of a vaccine for COVID-19 after drugmaker Pfizer announced late-stage trials had proven 90 per cent successful.

But Ms Berejiklian hosed down expectations of a widespread rollout of a potential vaccine.

"The health advice I received is quite optimistic about a potential vaccine in the early part of next year, but it will be limited in the number of people who can receive it," she said.

"We're actually drawing up a plan now in NSW to ensure those most vulnerable and of course our health workers and those dealing directly with COVID patients manage to have that vaccine," she said.

Millions of doses of potential coronavirus vaccinations are already being produced in Australia subject to final clinical trials, with hopes vaccination could begin in March.

with AAP

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