In the most significant ease in restrictions that New South Wales has yet seen since the outbreak of the pandemic, the state government yesterday announced a new set of rules to take effect from 12.01am on Monday 29 March.
Under the new regulations, venues across the state will be able to move back to 2sqm per person, which will only be applicable once the capacity reaches 25 people.
All caps on music and dancing will be lifted, with no restrictions on either of those activities anywhere.
Entertainment venues across the state, such as stadiums and theatres, will move back to 100 per cent capacity, the cap on people allowed at personal outdoor gatherings will increase to 200, and there will no longer be a cap on visitors allowed in the home (although if there are over 100, there must be a Covid Safety Plan in place, with visitors required to electronically sign in).
For venues, this easing of restrictions resembles a return to normal operations pre-Covid. The most significant rule that will remain in place is that venues are still required to enforce electronic sign-in from patrons, so that any Covid outbreak will be traceable.
“That is the key to our success,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in yesterday’s press conference.
“If there is an outbreak and we can’t identify all the people in a particular venue, we will be having to go backwards again and I don’t want to see that happen.
“We are doing really well. And the way that we will continue to do well is a couple of things, firstly it is registering.”
The lifting of restrictions in New South Wales coincides with the rollout of the vaccine across the state. At this stage, all hotel quarantine workers have now had at least the first jab, with many now receiving their second shot.
The government is currently moving to vaccinate the families of quarantine workers in addition to frontline health workers.
Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant said that the fact there was no community transmission in New South Wales significantly reduced the potential for another outbreak. The only two cases that have been recorded in the state in the past month have been directly linked to the hotel quarantine program.
“The risk of having significant unrecognised transmission is very reduced,” she said.
“But these settings … do allow transmission so what we need to do is get the community used to taking practical steps where it’s reasonable.
“If you’ve got plenty of space, don’t crowd within 1.5 metres of a person. But if you’re with a group of friends or family that’s not really necessary.
“And for heaven’s’ sake, do not go night clubbing, to church, to a hospital, to an aged care facility if you have respiratory symptoms.”