NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has confirmed lockdown will be lifted in Sydney on Monday for vaccinated residents, while a number of changes have been announced to the reopening roadmap.
NSW hit the COVID-19 vaccination target of 70 per cent double dose yesterday.
The changes to the roadmap include an increase in the number of people allowed to attend weddings and funerals. This will increase from 50 to 100 as of Monday.
In addition, indoor swimming pools will reopen for swimming lessons and rehabilitation from Monday.
10 visitors will be allowed in homes from Monday, up from the initially announced number of five.
And in a major move, the timetable for returning to school will be brought forward with all students back in the classroom by October 25.
Mr Perrottet also confirmed that masks would no longer be required in offices from when NSW hits the 80 per cent double dose mark in a number of weeks. That’s likely to see many businesses bring an end to working from home, though some are expected to wait until 2022 given a full reopening won’t happen until December 1.
On the Monday after the State clears the 80 per cent double vaccination hurdle further restrictions will be relaxed, with people able to have up to 20 visitors (excluding children 12 and under) to a home (previously 10), and up to 50 people will be allowed to gather outdoors (previously 20).
“Today we’re getting ready for reopening NSW in a prudent and safe way,” Deputy Liberal Leader and Penrith State MP Stuart Ayres said.
“Today’s adjustments to the roadmap are about making sure… that there is some consistency around each of those steps.”
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said schools were ready to welcome students back.
“The return remains safe and sensible with enough time for schools to prepare for a faster return of students over two weeks instead of three,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Principals have received detailed guidance and checklists of everything required to ensure COVID-safe settings in their school. Parents and carers will also receive a detailed guide today and more specific information from their school in the coming days.”
Mr Perrottet confirmed he met with NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant yesterday but would not say if today’s changes had the backing of NSW Health.
“These changes today are measured, sensible and ensure we open up in a very safe way,” he said.
Dr Chant did not attend this morning’s press conference.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.