New freedoms could come early - but with one big omission

·News Reporter
·3-min read

NSW could have further restrictions eased as early as Monday as the state continues to smash its Covid-19 vaccine target - but there could be one key omission from the road map.

Restrictions were eased this week for the fully vaccinated, which saw people turn up to non-essential retail in droves, build up a sweat at the gym and enjoy a drink or two at their local watering hole.

On Wednesday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the state is “going to lead the nation out of this pandemic ... and there's so many things to do in that space”.

Patrons are seen dining in The Rocks in Sydney, Australia.
People dine at The Rocks as restrictions ease. Source: Getty Images

"That is the sole focus of the government," Mr Perrottet told AAP.

"We need to get through this as well as we can.”

What is the major omission?

Unfortunately, regional travel could be omitted at 80 per cent. This will be discussed on Thursday at the government’s Covid-19 and economic recovery committee amid concerns regional communities need better vaccine coverage.

"There have been issues raised. We haven't made any decisions yet," Mr Perrottet told reporters.

"We don't make decisions on a knee jerk reaction. We make decisions in consultation with our health and economic teams. We will consider those issues tomorrow."

NSW could reach 80 per cent vaxxed on Sunday

According to NSW Health’s vaccination stats, some parts of regional NSW still have below half of their population fully vaccinated. This includes Captains Flat, Alma Park, Yanco, Singleton Milpo, Airly, Capertree, Glen Davis, Bredbo, Bumbalong and Colinton.

There are also a number of areas near the state border with Queensland which have low vaccination rates including Byron Bay.

A map of NSW showing vaccination rates.
Yellow and cream coloured areas on this map show areas with lower vaccine coverage in NSW. Source: NSW Health

The health department recorded 444 new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases on Tuesday with four more deaths.

NSW has more than 75 per cent of its residents fully vaccinated against coronavirus while more than 90 per cent have had one dose. It is possible NSW could reach 80 per cent fully vaccinated as early as Sunday, which would see restrictions ease on Monday.

If they do ease next week, it would come earlier than expected. NSW also was ahead of schedule in reaching 70 per cent.

So, what changes at 80 per cent?

Patrons take in the work of artist Richard Bell at the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art Australia) in Sydney, Australia.
People enjoy the Museum of Contemporary Art. Source: Getty Images

NSW restrictions at 80 per cent vaccination coverage

Currently, residents are allowed 10 fully vaccinated guests in their home. Children under 12 are not included in the rule though. At 80 per cent, 20 vaccinated guests will be allowed in a home.

Outdoor gatherings can increase to 50 vaccinated people.

A drink at the pub at the moment has to be enjoyed sitting down. At 80 per cent, you can drink standing up. Dancing will also be allowed.

Wedding sizes won’t have restrictions as long as the venue is big enough. This will be the same for funerals.

Carpooling will also be permitted.

Those looking to sign up for social netball or a game of touch footy will be able to hit the courts and fields again with community sport given the green light.

Meanwhile, Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello says the Service NSW app's vaccination passport function could be rolled out statewide before Monday.

He said the regional pilots for the function are progressing well, while the app's security settings will be boosted - including the removal of dates of birth from vaccination passports.

with AAP

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