NSW will loosen limits on gatherings from Friday – but masks will still be required on public transport

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
  • Attendance limits for gatherings will be boosted in New South Wales from midnight Friday, with residents allowed 30 visitors indoors and 50 outdoors.
  • But mask-wearing will remain mandatory on public transport and in some other settings, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Wednesday.
  • Those tweaks to COVID-19 guidelines come on the state’s tenth consecutive day without a new coronavirus case confirmed in the community.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

New South Wales will again ease its restrictions on gathering limits, with residents in the state permitted to welcome 30 people into their home from 12.01am Friday.

But masks will remain mandatory in some circumstances, owing to the lingering threat of potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

Speaking in Sydney on Wednesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said changes to the state’s coronavirus guidelines will see the limit on outdoor gatherings rise to 50.

Weddings and funerals will also be cleared to hold 300 attendees, so long as those venues ensure there is four square metres of floorspace for each guest.

There’s also positive news for hospitality venues, private businesses, and places of worship, which won’t have their attendances capped — so long as they also comply with the four-square-metre rule.

“We don’t know when the pandemic is going to end,” Berejiklian said.

“But what we do know is that we have to live with it and New South Wales has always taken a very balanced approach of making sure we keep the virus under control, but that we also make sure that we keep our economy as open as possible.”

While some social distancing rules have been altered, others will remain in place. That includes the 20-person limit on dancing at weddings, and the 5-person cap on indoors singing.

“Unfortunately, dancing, singing, is amongst the most dangerous things you can do with this rather evil virus,” NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said, adding that those rules are for “the safety of the people who are attending the wedding.”

Mask-wearing will also remain mandatory on public transport. Worshippers, front of house staff in hospitality venues, and anyone attending a gaming room, hairdresser, or beautician will need to bring a mask, too.

The amendments do not represent a return to the rules in force before December’s COVID-19 flare-up, but Berejiklian said the new rules are commensurate to the threat of new and highly virulent coronavirus strains detected worldwide.

“We need to mitigate against superspreading events until we understand what they are doing,” she said.

NSW today recorded its tenth consecutive day of no COVID-19 cases detected in the community.