The NSW Government has updated the roadmap for easing restrictions after the State reaches the 95 per cent double dose vaccination target or 15 December, whichever comes first.
Adjustments to previous settings scheduled for this milestone include:
- Masks will only be required on public transport and planes, at airports, and for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff who are not fully vaccinated (previously all indoors front-of-house hospitality staff regardless of vaccination status). Masks will be strongly encouraged in settings where you cannot social distance;
- No density limits (previously one person per 2sqm);
- COVID safety plans will be optional for businesses and will be supported by SafeWork NSW;
- QR check-ins will only be required at high-risk venues including hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, gyms, places of worship, funerals or memorial services, personal services (e.g. hairdressers and beauty salons), limited hospitality settings (including pubs, small bars, registered clubs and nightclubs), and for indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people; and
- Proof of vaccination will no longer be required by Public Health Order for most activities (businesses can still require proof at their own discretion). Proof of vaccination will still be required for indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people.
With more than 92 per cent of people over 16 now vaccinated ahead of the summer festive season, NSW is continuing to take a responsible and measured approach to reopening.
To maintain high levels of immunity across the community, NSW Health is rolling out a booster vaccination program at its clinics to individuals aged 18 and older who received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine six months or more ago.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the easing of restrictions was only possible because NSW is amongst the highest vaccinated populations in the world and the introduction of the booster shot program.
“We’re leading the world when it comes to vaccinations and that is a tremendous achievement we can all be proud of because it has allowed us to return to normal as quickly and safely as possible,” Mr Perrottet said.
“The easing of these restrictions will allow people to get out and enjoy summer providing a boost for some of our hardest industries as we do everything we can to ensure we keep people safe as we learn to live with COVID.”
Removing disruptions for schools and families
Close contacts of COVID cases at schools and outside school hours care services will no longer need to isolate as a result of changes in school COVID settings announced today by the NSW Government.
The changes were made following recent Doherty Institute and NSW Health advice, and will take effect from Monday 29 November.
From 29 November, students who are close contacts of a positive case will be required to get a PCR test as soon as possible after being notified of exposure. If the PCR test is negative, the student may return to school immediately, so long as they provide negative Rapid Antigen Home Test (RAHT) results for the next seven consecutive days.
In line with community settings, schools will no longer need to close while contact tracing occurs due to successful cohorting of year groups on school sites. The only exception may be if there are multiple cases at a school or complex settings in place.
NSW Health has also advised that schools do not need to close for deep environmental cleans as the enhanced cleaning in place at schools is sufficient.
Mask settings remain the same, meaning they are required for all staff and high school students, and are recommended for primary school students.
Further restrictions on music have also been lifted, with instruments that rely on breath and singing and chanting allowed to go ahead outdoors, within cohorts, and in line with other COVID-safe school settings from Monday.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the changes give parents the confidence that schools will no longer be closing and their children will not be required to isolate at home.
“The people of NSW have worked hard to get to this point, and the government made a commitment that whenever possible we would reduce the disruption to schools,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Schools have managed the pandemic extremely well, I want to thank all staff for the way they have conducted themselves and the efforts they have made to reduce the impacts of COVID on their students.”
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said parents and students were keen to see less disruption in schools.
“I’m delighted we can reduce the disruption for students and families, while still maintaining the safety measures for students and staff on school sites,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Students already in isolation can return to school from Monday under this new approach.”
Get fully vaccinated or book your booster!
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said COVID booster shots would be an important part of keeping the community safe through the summer and new year.
“If you had your second COVID vaccination jab six months or more ago, you should book a booster right now. Don’t’ forget if you haven’t been vaccinated at all go and get the jab to protect yourself and your family,” Mr Hazzard said.
“By stepping up for a jab and a booster shot you help protect yourself and everyone around you, including the elderly, those with underlying health conditions and young children who aren’t yet eligible for vaccinations.
“We will also need to continue to get tested if we develop COVID symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, and continue to follow public health advice.”
The NSW Government will continue to review the roadmap settings and make any appropriate changes based on the current case numbers and vaccination rates.
People aged 18 years and older can receive the Pfizer booster dose at least six months after receiving their second dose of any of the COVID-19 vaccines registered for use in Australia.