NSW has announced a raft of new freedoms for when 80% of the population is vaccinated. Here’s what you need to know.

NSW has announced a raft of new freedoms for when 80% of the population is vaccinated. Here’s what you need to know.
The NSW Government has unveiled its roadmap out of lockdown based on 80% and 90% vaccination targets. (James D. Morgan, Getty Images)
  • The state government has announced what restrictions will change when New South Wales hits its 80% vaccination target.
  • Expecting to reach that target in “late October”, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said travel within the state will be permitted, while caps on household and outdoor gatherings will be raised.
  • Retail and businesses will be able to recommence trade under the four person per square metre rule, but unvaccinated people will continue to face harsher restrictions until December.
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The Berejiklian government unveiled the state’s latest roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, as it anticipates reaching its 80% vaccination target within weeks.

Addressing media, the Premier said restrictions, which begin to ease from October 11, would be loosened further for fully vaccinated residents when the goal is reached.

“At 80% double dose vaccination we can confirm that is when you will be able to travel freely throughout New South Wales,” the Premier said. “We envisage that to be by the end of October.”

“You will be able to stand up and have a drink at a pub, you will be able to consider international travel and other things at that number.”

Businesses from hairdressers to retailers will still be required to enforce the one person per four square metres rule, with that increased to two square metres for outdoor spaces in hospitality venues.

Fully vaccinated residents will be able to gather in households in groups of 10 and outside in groups of 20. Up to 200 people will be permitted to attend events that meet COVID-19 safety requirements, while up to 500 can attend ticketed and seated events. Community sport will also be allowed to recommence.

Guests at weddings and funerals will have caps lifted on them as long as the four-square-metre requirement is respected.

Employers must allow staff to continue to work from home if reasonable, while masks will remain mandatory indoors for anyone aged over 12.

Unvaccinated people meanwhile will be given far more limited freedoms. They will only be allowed to attend weddings of up to 5 people and funerals of up to 10. Unlike their vaccinated neighbours, they will be prohibited from attending church or religious services and will only be able to gather outdoors in pairs.

Looking further ahead, Berejiklian said further freedoms would be provided ahead of Christmas.

“The third stage of reopening will happen on 1 December. That is at least four or five weeks after we hit the 80% double dose. We envisage we will have at least 90% of our adult population vaccinated by then. That is when the two square metre rule kicks in as well.”

Under that third stage, most state restrictions are scheduled to end. Caps will be removed entirely for gatherings at home or outdoors, while the two-square metre rule will replace any caps on attendance at nearly all businesses and events including at stadiums, racecourses, gyms, pools, cinemas, pubs and clubs.

That will also be the only restriction on weddings and funerals, where drinking will again be allowed while standing up.

All domestic travel within the state will be permitted, schools will return to normal, and WFH arrangements will again be at an employer’s discretion.

Masks will only be required on public transport, in airports and on planes as well as for front of house hospitality staff.

Unvaccinated people are also said to receive “greater freedoms”.

“I think they assumed when we hit 80% double dose they will have certain freedoms, but they will have to wait five or six weeks after others,” Berejiklian said.

On Monday, more than 85% of the state had received their first dose of a vaccine, while more than 60% were fully vaccinates, well ahead of the national average.