The Wee Waa Bowling Club opened its doors for the first time in close to three months on Friday after the coronavirus restrictions forced the club’s closure in March.
“It feels bloody good to be back,” said patron Kevin ‘Red’ Kelly on Friday.
Mr Kelly said life had been ‘pretty boring’ during COVID-19 lockdown and he’d chosen to stay at home for five weeks as a precaution.
“I was a bit frightened to go outside but they’ve got all the precautions in place here today and it’s safe,” said Mr Kelly.
The club has implemented a number of safety measures including taking the temperature of patrons on arrival, asking for names and contact details as well as offering hand sanitiser and ensuring social distancing measures are followed.
Bingo was the first activity on at the bowlo on Friday morning and it drew an excited crowd with patrons keen to try their luck.
The restaurant, raffles and other entertainment were also back, all operating within the COVID-19 restrictions.
From June 1, pubs, clubs, casinos, cafes and restaurants have been allowed to have up to 50 customers per separate seated food and drink area.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a further ease of COVID-19 restrictions from Saturday, June 13 with the number of people allowed to visit homes increased from five to 20, the number of people allowed to gather outdoors increased from 10 to 20, and food courts were allowed to reopen.
Ms Berejiklian said the changes were another step towards seeing NSW reopen in a ‘COVID-safe way’.
“NSW acted quickly to introduce restrictions to tackle the spread of COVID-19 and I am determined for us to move as quickly as possible out of them,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We have been a world leader in dealing with COVID-19 and I want us to be an example on how to reopen an economy in a COVID-safe way.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said every decision the NSW Government is making in relation to easing restrictions is informed by health advice.
“The cooperation of the public and business, and our high rates of testing, remain our greatest weapons to stamping out community transmission so it’s vital people continue to come forward,” said Mr Hazzard.
Strict social distancing restrictions will be further relaxed next month.
In a statement, the NSW Government has said that from July 1, the new rules ‘keeping the state COVID-Safe’ mean:
- The number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the ‘one person per four square metre’ rule, with no upper limit. This includes function centres. All activity must be seated only.
- Cultural and sporting events at outdoor venues with a maximum capacity of 40,000 will be allowed up to 25 percent of their normal capacity. Events must be ticketed and seated and follow strict guidelines.
- On compassionate grounds, restrictions on funerals will immediately be eased to allow the four square metre rule to apply.
- All other restrictions including 20 guests inside the home and 20 for outside gatherings remain the same.
“The community has worked incredibly hard over the past few months which has allowed us to be where we are today,” Ms Berejiklian said about the reasoning behind the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
“However we can’t let our guard down.
“People need to come forward for testing with the mildest of symptoms and practise good hand hygiene and social distancing.”
Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said they have consulted with peak business, industry and community bodies on the changes as part of the Government’s reopening strategy.
“We are keen to open the economy in a COVID-safe way,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The government will also be considering solutions for smaller venues, particularly in regional NSW, where the four metre square rule is not practical for small businesses,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The July 1 measures will allow vital community hubs in the regions to open, such as showgrounds, providing a big boost for communities many of which are still recovering from the devastating impacts of drought and the bushfires.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said rebooting these sectors of the economy was vital for the state’s economic recovery.
“We have made the investments needed in our health system and now we need to get our economy firing on all cylinders,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Allowing these centres, facilities and venues to safely open will provide a significant boost to the economy and help keep more people in jobs and businesses in business.”
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the government would be helping business and industry open safely through a variety of simple and easy to use tools through Service NSW.
“We recently launched the online COVID Safe Check, which is simple to use and helps businesses continue to build their hygiene and compliance plans by checking and testing their safety plans – more than 30,000 businesses have already downloaded a COVID Safety Plan template,” Mr Dominello said.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged the community to be mindful of their own health as well as the health and wellbeing of their families and fellow citizens.
“We still need to be vigilant because we have to assume the virus hasn’t gone, and there is no vaccine or treatment on the immediate horizon,” Mr Hazzard said.
“So I encourage people to go about their daily lives, enjoy playing sport or a night out visiting friends but do it in a COVID safe way – maintain physical distancing, good hygiene and if you feel unwell stay home and get tested.”
Music festivals and nightclubs would continue to remain closed in July as the heath advice remains that these venues and activities pose a high risk of the virus spreading.
It is anticipated that restrictions will be eased further in August if community transmission of the virus remains low.
There has still be no COVID-19 cases in the Narrabri Shire. Three new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed between 8pm on June 13 and 8pm on June 14. This brings the total number of cases in NSW to 3131.To order photos from this page click here