New South Wales Eases COVID-19 Restrictions

By Rebecca Zhu
Rebecca Zhu
Rebecca Zhu
Rebecca Zhu is based in Sydney. She focuses on Australian and New Zealand national affairs. Got a tip? Contact her at rebecca.zhu@epochtimes.com.au.
February 17, 2022 Updated: February 18, 2022

People in New South Wales (NSW) are now able to sing and dance at venues, and are no longer required to use QR check-ins in most areas as restrictions ease.

The recommendation to work from home has also ended, and working arrangements will now be up to the employers’ discretion.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the changes were measured and proportionate to the current circumstances in the state.

“I know it’s been a very difficult two years in our state,” he told reporters on Feb. 17. “These changes today are measured and proportionate to the circumstance we find ourselves in and are particularly due, can I say, to the effort of everybody across our state.”

QR check-ins are now only required at nightclubs and music festivals with more than 1,000 people. Hospital, aged, and disability services will also use existing settings.

The 2 square metre density limit has also been lifted.

Epoch Times Photo
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet speaks to the media during a press conference at Stone and Chalk Startup Hub in Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 7, 2022. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

From next Friday, indoor mask mandates will be lifted in most areas, except in public transport, planes, hospitals, aged and disability facilities, and indoor music festivals with over 1,000 people.

However, masks will be encouraged in indoor settings where social distancing isn’t possible and for customer facing workers in retail.

Hotel quarantine for unvaccinated travellers will also be reduced from 14 to 7 days.

As the Omicron wave moves past the peak, Perrottet said the pressure on hospitals was falling.

“We’ve said, as we moved through this phase, that the key metric would be hospitalisations and ICUs,” he said. “There are very pleasing signs in our hospitals at the moment, right across the state.”

Hospitalisations in NSW have fallen to 1,381, and there are 92 people in intensive care.

Moving forward, Perrottet said it is likely that there will be a spike in cases from time to time in the future.

“That is not a measure of success or failure. That is living alongside the virus,” he said.

The upcoming winter season is also expected to bring in more challenges.

“But what is most important is that we will change our settings on a proportionate basis in the circumstances that we find ourselves in,” Perrottet said.

Australian Industry Group said the removal of many restrictions was leading the way for the community and businesses to move towards living with COVID as a normal part of life.

“Businesses, whose offices have been shut for many months in some cases, can now plan with greater confidence to bring their people back to their workplaces,” head of Ai Group NSW, Helen Waldron, said.

Meanwhile, Ai Group CEO Innes Willox called on the National Cabinet to unify the states’ rules for national consistency.

Rebecca Zhu
Rebecca Zhu is based in Sydney. She focuses on Australian and New Zealand national affairs. Got a tip? Contact her at rebecca.zhu@epochtimes.com.au.