NSW Covid restrictions: reopening rules for Sydney, regional NSW, freedoms for vaccinated people – explained | New South Wales

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On Monday 18 October, New South Wales entered the second stage of its staggered reopening plan, with new freedoms for the fully vaccinated and more social and cultural institutions open to the public.

It came just a week after a significant easing of restrictions when the state hit its first target of 70% double dose vaccinations.

Travel restrictions between greater Sydney and regional NSW, as well as the end of quarantine for international arrivals, were also eased from the beginning of November.

Remaining gathering and recreation rules that were set to be further eased from the beginning of December will now be relaxed from Monday 8 November, however the date that unvaccinated residents can rejoin society has been pushed back further.

Here is everything you need to know about the plan.

What is allowed now NSW has achieved 80% vaccination?

The second stage of reopening builds on the freedoms from the first stage.

Now that 80% vaccination coverage has been reached, the following freedoms apply to fully vaccinated people over 16 and those with medical exemptions:

Gatherings in the home and outdoor public spaces

  • Up to 20 visitors are allowed in a home (not including children 12 and under).

  • Up to 50 people can continue to gather in unregulated outdoor settings.

  • Up to 200 people can attend Covid-safe events.

  • Up to 3,000 people can attend controlled (ticketed and seated) events with density limits in place.

  • Community sport is permitted.

  • Those who are not fully vaccinated may only gather outdoors in groups of two people.

Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms

  • Retail stores can operate at one person per 4 sq metres (those who are not fully vaccinated will continue to only have access to non-critical retail via click-and-collect).

  • Personal services such as hairdressers, spa, nail, beauty, waxing, tattoo and massage can operate with one person per 4 sq m (uncapped), and sex service premises will reopen.

  • Hospitality venues can operate with one person per 4 sq m inside and one person per 2 sq m outside, with the requirement to be seated while drinking indoors removed. Dancing will be allowed indoors and outdoors, except, paradoxically, at nightclubs. Group bookings will be limited to 20 people. Those who are not fully vaccinated can only access hospitality settings for takeaway.

  • Gyms and indoor recreation facilities (including indoor pools) can operate with one person per 4 sq m, capped at 20 people per class.

Major outdoor recreation facilities

  • Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can operate with one person per 4 sq m, capped at 5,000 people (or by exemption).

Entertainment, information and education facilities

  • Entertainment facilities (including cinemas, theatres and music halls) can operate with one person per 4 sq m or 75% fixed seated capacity (whichever is larger).

  • Information and education facilities (including libraries, galleries and museums) can operate with one person per 4 sq m.

  • Nightclubs and strip clubs can reopen with seated drinking allowed, but no dancing.

Working from home

  • Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home, if reasonably practicable.

  • Employers must require employees who are not fully vaccinated to work from home, if reasonably practicable.

  • Mask wearing will not be required in offices, provided the worker is vaccinated.

Education

Weddings, funerals and places of worship

  • Weddings are allowed with no person limits for vaccinated adults, and a five person cap for unvaccinated adults.

  • Wedding receptions are also allowed with no caps, provided adults are fully vaccinated. Eating and drinking while standing and dancing is allowed.

  • Funerals are allowed with no caps for vaccinated adults and a 10 person cap for the unvaccinated, with eating and drinking standing permitted.

  • Places of worship will reopen for the unvaccinated. Up to 10 fully vaccinated singers can perform in places of worship and at religious services.

  • Density limits still apply to all of the above

Travel

  • Unrestricted trips between greater Sydney and regional NSW allowed from 1 November.

  • Caravan parks and camping grounds can operate, including for those who are not fully vaccinated

  • Carpooling is permitted. Those who are not fully vaccinated can only carpool with their household.

Masks

  • Masks are still required in all indoor settings including public transport and shops. But you don’t have to wear a mask outdoors or in office buildings, provided you’re fully vaccinated.

  • Front-of-house hospitality staff still have to wear a mask if they’re working outdoors.

  • The rules apply to anyone over 12.

What changed on 1 November?

From 1 November, caps on bookings for hospitality venues were lifted.

Travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW also resumed. Intrastate travel was initially slated for 80% vaccination targets, but was delayed to allow time for regional NSW vaccination rates to increase.

Quarantine requirements were also removed as well as caps for overseas arrivals, provided they are fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved, Commonwealth recognised vaccine and receive a Covid-19 test prior to flying.

Overseas arrivals who are not fully vaccinated are capped at 210 people per week, and will be required to complete 14 days quarantine.

What will change from 8 November for the final stage of reopening?

On Monday 8 November, the following settings will apply to fully vaccinated residents.

Gatherings in the home and outdoor public spaces

  • No limit on the number of visitors to a home.

  • Density will shift to one person per 2 sq m for indoor and outdoor settings.

  • No limit on the number of people who can attend informal outdoor gatherings.

  • Covid-safe plan required for outdoor events with more than 1,000 people.

  • Community sport permitted for all people.

Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms

  • Retail stores can operate at one person per 2 sq m.

  • Personal services such as hairdressers, spa, nail, beauty, waxing, tattoo and massage can operate with one person per 2 sq m.

  • Hospitality venues can operate with one person per 2 sq m inside and outside, with no seating required for eating and drinking.

  • Gyms and indoor recreation facilities, including indoor pools, can operate with one person per 2 sq m (uncapped).

  • Intimate services can open with one person per 4 sq m.

Major outdoor recreation facilities

  • Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can operate with one person per 2 sq m.

Entertainment, information and education facilities

  • Entertainment facilities (including cinemas, theatres, music halls) can operate with one person per 2 sq m.

  • Information and education facilities (including libraries, museums and galleries) can operate with one person per 2 sq m.

  • Amusement centres and nightclubs can open with one person per 4 sq m.

Working from home

Education

Weddings, funerals and places of worship

  • One person per 2 sqm for weddings with dancing permitted and eating and drinking allowed while standing.

  • One person per 2 sq m for funerals.

  • Churches and places of worship can operate with one person per 2 sq m, with singing permitted.

Travel

  • Domestic travel, including trips between greater Sydney and regional NSW.

  • International travel is permitted, with fully vaccinated travellers able to enter Sydney without quarantining provided they complete Covid-19 tests.

  • Caravan parks and camping grounds can operate.

  • Carpooling is permitted.
    Quarantine settings for vaccinated arrivals will be altered. A cap on unvaccinated travellers may remain.

Masks

  • Mask-wearing will be mandatory while travelling on public transport, on planes and at airports, and for front-of-house hospitality workers.

  • Mask wearing is not required when outdoors.

What about unvaccinated people in NSW?

Unvaccinated residents will still be under stay-at-home orders and excluded from the above settings until 15 December, or when the state reaches 95% double-dose vaccination coverage – whichever occurs first.

At this point, the mask mandate will be scrapped.

Will overseas travel and quarantine change?

Quarantine for vaccinated arrivals was lifted from 1 November. Caps were also be lifted for vaccinated travellers.

Unvaccinated international arrivals still have to complete 14 days quarantine.

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  • Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.




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