The NSW and Victorian governments released details around greater freedoms for vaccinated residents over the weekend, with further announcements expected on Monday.
On Sunday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state’s residents can begin planning trips as the state opens up, along with a return to full capacity for the construction sector.
The state’s first restrictions are set to ease for the fully vaccinated on October 11, when NSW is predicted to hit the 70% double-dose milestone for vaccinations.
“In NSW it is definitely safe to book for Christmas, to think ahead for the future but also to definitely look at November as a month where you can start planning,” Berejiklian said.
However the entire state may not immediately be open for travel, as some regional areas lag behind in vaccinations.
“We are considering all of Greater Sydney opening up at the same time, so we don’t want to leave any areas behind,” Berejiklian said.
“We don’t want to leave any doubt as to rates of vaccination in the regions. Some areas are doing as well as some parts of Western Sydney, in other areas not so much.”
Recent data shows Dubbo in east-central NSW has fully vaccinated 60-69% of its eligible population. 40-49% have had two doses in Albury, in the state’s north, with Wollongong in the Illawarra region recording the same numbers.
However Berejiklian would not confirm that regional travel would definitely happen at 80%, saying that a roadmap for what life will look like at that milestone would most likely be announced this week, along with the types of activities allowed for those that are unvaccinated.
The premier also restated that reaching “COVID-normal” would be a gradual process and added that there would not be a ‘Freedom Day’ for the state.
“Our reopening and finding COVID-normal will be a step-by-step process, it will not happen in a day, it will take a couple of weeks or months,” Berejiklian said.
Additionally the rule limiting construction sites to 50% capacity if they have any unvaccinated workers has been dropped, with the sector now able to return to 100% capacity.
Now all construction sites will be able to have one person per four square metres, even if unvaccinated workers are present, but workers from the 12 local government areas (LGAs) of concern will still only be allowed to leave their area for work if they are vaccinated.
The Victorian government also released details of its reopening plans, announcing that six regional areas will trial a vaccination economy in October.
The state announced that up to 20 vaccinated economy trials will test systems and support in the fortnight before Victoria is expected to reach its 70% full vaccination mark on October 26, which will trigger greater freedoms for vaccinated people.
Scheduled to start from October 11, the trials will cover hospitality, hairdressing, beauty services and tourism businesses, and events such as community celebrations and concerts, and will allow higher patron numbers with all attendees confirmed as being fully vaccinated.
As both states navigate a potential two-tier economy, with different rules and freedoms for vaccinated residents, reports have emerged that NSW may restrict unvaccinated residents from sporting events, pubs and restaurants until 90% of the population has received both jabs.
The state government is finalising its road map for 80% which is expected to be revealed this week, but reports suggest the state’s ministers are still divided over when unvaccinated residents should get freedoms.
NSW is set to reach its 60% double dose vaccination target on Monday.