NSW eases restrictions, with more to come

27 January, 2021 by Andy Young

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has outlined a number of restrictions that will be easing in the state from midnight on Friday, and said she hopes further easing will follow in two weeks.

Changes are happening to the number of people allowed in hospitality venues, as well as at indoor and outdoor gatherings and weddings and funerals.

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Speaking at a press conference earlier today, the Premier said: “Given the place we are in NSW in our response to the pandemic I am pleased to say that following the receipt of health advice today and every day since we had the outbreak of the Avalon cluster, that NSW will be easing restrictions from midnight on Friday. So from 12.01 from this Friday morning NSW will be easing restrictions.

“For all hospitality venues it will be one person per four square metres without any maximum cap.”

In regards to mask wearing, the Premier said: “You will need to wear a mask if you are a frontline hospitality worker, facing the public. But in relation to retail staff and in relation to the public we recommend a mask when you can’t guarantee social distancing but it will not be compulsory.

“Mask wearing is also compulsory in places like gaming rooms, generally speaking as far as the public is concerned the strong recommendation is you should wear a mask.”

Looking ahead to further easing she added: “I also want to stress that the health advice that has been provided is that in all likelihood if we continue the current trends, if we continue to see zero to low case numbers and reasonable rates of testing that in two weeks’ time all the settings that we have currently described as being subjected to the four square metre rule will revert to the two square metre rule. That includes hospitality venues.

“The reason for this is that while we have had two fourteen day cycles of the Northern Beaches not having any community transmission in South West and Western Sydney we have gone through one cycle of no community transmission and the other cycle will be completed in about two weeks.”

Not only will the further easing of restrictions help venues be allowing more patrons in, the Premier said the State Government is encouraging work places to allow workers back into offices, meaning there will hopefully be increased foot traffic, particularly in city centres.

“It’s really important at this time of year that all of us are thinking about where we are going to work from; we want to encourage people to work from their workplace so long as they do that in a COVID-safe way,” the Premier said.

“We want to encourage people to go about their normal lives as much as possible, we want businesses to resume their activities so long as it’s done in a COVID-safe way.”

She added: “We are sending this message out today so that businesses can be prepared, so that businesses can know that in a couple of weeks’ time they will feel increased trade and be able to plan for the year ahead.

“But I also want to please stress that with the two square metre rule coming into effect in all likelihood in two weeks’ time we will also be looking at compliance. Do we need to increase fines to make sure businesses are being as vigilant as ever? Because our strategy will only work if people do the right thing.

“What we are trying to do is prevent a super-spreading event. The risk of an outbreak is always there. We need to make sure that if one does occur, that we don’t create a super-spreading event by having all measures in place.”