NSW freedoms fast-tracked for vaccinated

·3-min read

Unlimited visitors, dancing in nightclubs and full stadiums are on the cards for most people in NSW next week as the state heads towards a "world leading" target of 95 per cent fully vaccinated.

But it's a case of double jeopardy for those resisting the jab.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said new freedoms will apply on Monday - three weeks earlier than anticipated - but the unvaccinated will have to wait even longer to join in on the fun.

The double jabbed can have as many visitors as they want and 1000 revellers will be able to gather outside before a COVID-safe plan is required.

Density limits and capacity limits at hospitality venues will also be lifted, with the one person per two square metre rule applicable in most indoor spaces.

Indoor swimming pools will reopen for all, while gyms and dance classes will remain capped at 20 people and dancing at nightclubs will be allowed.

Stadiums, racecourses, theme parks, zoos, and entertainment facilities such as cinemas, theatres and amusement centres can also operate at full capacity.

The fast-tracking of the roadmap out of lockdown was made possible by the state's impressive vaccination rates.

Now 93.6 per cent of people aged 16 and older have had one dose of a vaccine and 87.8 per cent are fully jabbed.

The unvaccinated - who were promised freedom on December 1 - will now have to wait at least until December 15 or until 95 per cent of eligible people are fully vaccinated.

"We believe that by moving that date back to the 15th of December it will incentivise and we are hopeful that we can get that right up to 95 per cent," Mr Perrottet told reporters on Tuesday.

"That will not just be nation-leading, it will be world-leading as well.

"That is the key to opening up in a way that keeps people in work, drives companies across the board and gets and keeps businesses alive."

Mask rules will remain in place until the state reaches the 95 per cent double vaccination target, or December 15.

The Australian Medical Association said it was the right move.

"Delaying freedoms for unvaccinated residents may be the push some people need to get their first jab - and that's really important," AMA NSW President Danielle McMullen said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the expedited freedoms came on the back of people heeding the call to get vaccinated and the rollout of the booster program.

"This really is a giant step for all of us in NSW," he said.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said it was critical that everyone who got their second COVID vaccination at least six months ago now gets a booster shot.

"We know the evidence is very strong that there is some degree of waning immunity and having that vaccine at six months will really enable you to have the greatest protection.

"That is critical as we anticipate the COVID case numbers will increase in coming weeks to months," she said.

NSW Health has started rolling out a booster program at its clinics for adults who received their second vaccine dose six months or more ago.

Restrictions will also be modified in schools next week with assemblies and presentations allowed in cohorts outdoors, dancing and excursions are back and music can be played if students can wear a mask.

The state reported 173 new local cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday - an increase of 38.

The Hunter New England region continues to be a hotspot with 64 new cases - more than a third of the state's daily tally.

There are 333 patients in NSW hospitals and 72 are in ICU.

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