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Mask Wearing Rules to Be Lifted as NSW Scraps Pandemic Regulations

nsw covid restrictions update

The NSW Government has once again updated the roadmap for easing restrictions once the state either reaches the 95% double dose vaccination target or on 15 December, whichever comes first.

With more than 92 per cent of people over 16 now vaccinated ahead of our somewhat dampened upcoming hot vax summer, the NSW government has shifted the focus to booster jabs while removing much of the few remaining restrictions still in place across the state.

Significantly, masks will be required in very few places, mainly public transport, while QR code check-ins are set to be phased out.

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,” 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.”

Here’s what’s changing.

Mask Wearing

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 had to wear masks.

Masks are still “strongly encouraged” in settings where you cannot social distance.

New Venue Rules

NSW is scrapping COVID density limits across all venues and indoor locations. The two-person per square metre rule will no longer apply, meaning everything from clubs to hairdressers, cinemas, and supermarkets will be allowed to operate at full capacity once again.

COVID safety plans are also being phased out, with the new rules stating that the documents will now become optional for businesses to use and publish. These however will continue to be supported by SafeWork NSW.

QR check-ins will only be required at high-risk venues which include 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.

Proof of vaccination will no longer be required to be shown upon entry for most activities however businesses will still be able to demand proof at their own discretion. Proof of vaccination will however still be required for indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people.

NSW Booster Programme

To maintain high levels of immunity across the community, NSW Health has begun rolling out its booster vaccination programme at its clinics to individuals aged 18 and older who received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine six months or more ago.

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said that 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,” 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 has said that it will continue to review the roadmap settings and make any appropriate changes based on current case numbers and vaccination rates.

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