Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announced NSW will further ease COVID-19 restrictions across the State and has listed what people will be allowed to do from Friday May 15. (see below)
However, the Premier warned that “we must avoid complacency” and urged the community to maintain physical distancing, practise good hygiene and get tested “even if you have the mildest symptoms”.
Ms Berejiklian said that after assessing the new framework from National Cabinet and discussing the NSW impacts with state Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant, it was safe for NSW to ease further restrictions as the community was vigilant with social distancing and hygiene.
“My firm position during the crisis has been to follow the health advice and do what’s best for NSW,” Ms Berejiklian said in a statement released today.
“Our community has demonstrated that by working together we can achieve positive results.
“The changes will allow NSW to fire up the economy, while allowing more personal freedoms.
“We will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 rates, especially community transmissions, to guide us towards easing further restrictions.”
A statement from the Premier’s office said that from Friday May 15, the following will be allowed in NSW, in addition to measures already announced:
- Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
- Cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons at any one time
- Up to five visitors to a household at any one time
- Weddings up to 10 guests
- Indoor funerals up to 20 mourners, outdoor funerals up to 30
- Religious gatherings/places of worship up to 10 worshippers
- Use of outdoor equipment with caution
- Outdoor pools open with restrictions
The Premier said it was too soon to allow for regional holidays and ease further restrictions but NSW will continue to work with business and communities during the path forward.
Dr Chant backed the move to cautiously lift the restrictions, and urged people to be vigilant.
“The chief health officers of the Commonwealth and States supported by experts have prepared advice on the way forward,” Dr Chant said.
“As we take this next step we need to continue to work together – governments, community, business and NGOs – with high rates of testing, social distancing and adherence to other public health measures like handwashing and staying at home if you show even slight symptoms.”
Ms Berejiklian thanked the community as the State embarked on this “important step” that would allow more businesses to open up and more people to stay in work.
“NSW can only do this following the hard work and sacrifice of our communities,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“It has allowed us to boost our intensive care capacity, ramp up our testing and enhance contact tracing so we can better manage any outbreaks.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the COVID-19 fight was “far from over”.
“Without a vaccine we need to be vigilant, especially when restrictions lift,” Mr Hazzard said.
“There will inevitably be more cases, so social distancing will become even more crucial.”
The NSW Government will consider steps two and three of the plan in due course.
You can watch the Premier’s press conference below.
The Premier’s announcement follows Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s press conference on Friday where he unveiled the National Cabinet’s three-step plan to ease restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Morrison said it would be the decision of the state and territory leaders when and how the plan was rolled out.
“Our three-step plan provides a pathway for jurisdictions to move towards COVID safe communities in a way that best suits their individual circumstances.
“States and territories are able to move between the steps on the pathway at different times, in line with their current public health situation and local conditions.”
A statement from the Prime Minister’s office outlined the three-step plan.
“Step 1 will focus on carefully reopening the economy, and giving Australians opportunities to return to work and social activities, including gatherings of up to 10 people, up to five visitors in the family home and some local and regional travel.
“Step 2 builds on this with gatherings of up to 20, and more businesses reopening, including gyms, beauty services and entertainment venues like galleries and cinemas.
“Step 3 will see a transition to COVID safe ways of living and working, with gatherings of up to 100 people permitted. ”
“Arrangements under step 3 will be the ‘new normal’ while the virus remains a threat.
“International travel and mass gatherings over 100 people will remain restricted.”
The Prime Minister said that each step needs to be underpinned by a strong commitment from the community to:
· stay 1.5 metres away from other people whenever and wherever we can
· maintain good hand washing and cough/sneeze hygiene
· stay home when we’re unwell, and getting tested if we have respiratory symptoms or a fever,
· download the COVIDSafe app so we can find the virus quickly, and
· develop COVID safe plans for workplaces and plans.
“Our success depends on us making these behaviours part of our daily lives during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep us COVID safe.”