After just three days of relaxed COVID measures in NSW, the state could be about to get a whole lot more as it races toward the 80% target.
NSW reached the 70% target on 6 October, triggering the opening of bars, restaurants, retails and a host of others the following Monday, 11 October, in line with the state’s lockdown strategy.
A week later and the state sits at 75.2% double dose vaccinations in the over 16 population and 90.8% single dose. However, a wave of new vaccinations, possibly sparked by the freedoms returning to the vaccinated, could push those numbers above the 80% target before next Monday.
This would see the state hit its second “freedom day” in seven days, unlocking a further easing of restrictions.
These include allowing 20 guests in homes, dancing permitted indoors, and the “vertical consumption” of alcohol. Masks would no longer be required in office buildings or for anyone outdoors. Crucially, it would also open regional travel, with residents of Sydney and the surrounding areas allowed to travel anywhere in the state.
These freedoms were not expected to come into place until 25 October but the surge in vaccination rates could bring those freedoms in a week earlier.
On Tuesday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said that the government’s COVID and Economic Recovery Committee would meet on Thursday to discuss easing restrictions next week if the 80% target is reached early.
“The success of our vaccination rate has been absolutely superb. And we’ve asked everybody across our state to make that effort and we hit 80 per cent,” the Premier said.
“We’ve always said it’ll be the Monday following. We will have this discussion with our team on Thursday, and we’ll make a decision probably that night and to be announced on Friday in relation to that.
“I want to see New South Wales opened as quickly as possible, but ultimately, it needs to be as safely as possible.”
Perrottet cautioned that there may need to be some changes “to what 80 per cent looks like” if the state does open up earlier than anticipated.
NSW recorded 444 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and four deaths.