Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Reopening begins

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The roadmap to reopening is big news to many in Sydney, however in the regions where life has been relatively normal since the lockdown lifted, a more obvious change came into affect yesterday — a vaccinatio­n mandate to enter non-essential businesses and workplaces.

Those who are not double vaccinated in NSW lost certain freedoms from yesterday, including the use of non-essential retail, sporting and gym facilities, and hairdresse­rs, social gatherings, and hospitalit­y venues.

Those services are now required, by law, to ask for proof of full vaccinatio­n against COVID-19 or a valid exemption.

Workers in regional areas who have received one vaccinatio­n dose will be permitted to return to their workplace from October 11, but will be required to have their second dose by November 1.

Edward River Council announced its public services, which closed at the beginning of the Deniliquin outbreak two weeks ago, will remain closed until October 15 to give its staff time to prepare for the new rules.

Businesses in the area are asking shoppers to voluntaril­y show their proof of vaccinatio­n and to respect staff if entry is declined.

As the new Premier of NSW swept into office last week, he also announced a cluster of changes to the state’s COVID-19 roadmap to reopening at the 70 per cent mark.

In a statement on Thursday, Premier Dominic Perrottet provided the new, less cautious steps to opening up, which hinge on the state continuing its efforts to get vaccinated.

‘‘Vaccinatio­ns are the key to life returning to normal and the changes today will help family and friends reconnect, get kids back to school and get businesses back up and running sooner,” Mr Perrottet said.

The changes to the 70 per cent roadmap will allow up to 10 visitors (not counting children 12 and under) to a home (previously five), lift the cap on outdoor (public) gatherings to 30 people (previously 20), and increase the cap for weddings and funerals to 100 people (previously 50).

From the first Monday after the NSW population reaches 80 per cent double dose, estimated for October 25, further restrictio­ns will be eased.

When 80 per cent is reached, up to 20 visitors (excluding children 12 and under) will be allowed in a home (previously 10), and up to 50 people will be allowed to gather publicly outdoors (previously 20).

Up to 3000 people will be allowed to attend controlled and ticketed non-seated outdoor events (previously 500), nightclubs will be permitted to reopen for seated drinking only (no dancing), and masks will be optional in office buildings.

All freedoms given at these thresholds will continue to be for fully vaccinated people only.

Fully vaccinated people from Sydney and the greater metropolit­an area will only be allowed to travel to regional NSW once at 80 per cent, rather than the previous 70 per cent.

Travel to Sydney from regional areas is also not permitted at 70 per cent.

Edward River Mayor Norm Brennan continues to implore residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible against the virus, to avoid further spread in the council area.

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