The New South Wales (NSW) government has substantially lifted restrictions for everyone, including people who are not fully vaccinated, as the state nears a 95 percent vaccination rate—the last milestone of its reopening roadmap ahead of Christmas holidays.
Proof of vaccination will no be longer required for public activities but businesses can still choose to require proof at their own discretion.
People will still be required to show proof of vaccination at airports, music festivals with more than 1,000 people, and if they work in certain industries, such as health care, aged care, and education workers.
All density limits have been lifted so the limit on the number of people allowed at homes is removed. Businesses also no longer need to restrict customer numbers.
Masks are now only required on public transport and planes, at airports, and for indoor customer-facing hospitality staff who are not fully vaccinated.
QR check-ins will now only be required at high-risk indoor venues which include hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, gyms, personal services such as hairdressers and beauty salons, places of worship, funeral services, and certain hospitality settings such as pubs and nightclubs.
Meanwhile, close contacts will still be required to self-isolate and get a PCR test immediately.
The NSW government has remained committed to reopening despite the emergence of Omicron, the new variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet told Australian broadcaster Alan Jones on Dec. 13 he was shocked that there were still “so many commentators, politicians, and members of the public who would still prefer us to be locked down in circumstances where there is no need.”
“Freedom is the default position. Governments should only be coming in circumstances where there is a high risk to people’s lives, and make tough decisions,” Perrottet said.
Senior medical adviser for NSW Health, Dr. Jan Fizzell, warned against complacency, saying managing existing health conditions was more important than ever.
“As the states reopen in time for Christmas and the holiday season, we are urging NSW residents to remain vigilant in managing their personal health and that of their family,” Fizzell said.
“While being vaccinated against COVID-19 will likely lessen the symptoms of the disease and potentially protect you from hospital admission, it does not always completely prevent you from contracting and spreading the virus.”
She advised people to practise hand hygiene, wear masks when indoors and where social distancing is not possible.
More than 93.2 percent of eligible NSW residents are fully vaccinated, with 94.8 percent being partially vaccinated.
The state is now rolling out booster shots, with fully vaccinated people aged 18 and over eligible five months after receiving a second jab.