NSW now has more than 80% of its adult population fully vaccinated which means a raft of new freedoms came into effect from Monday 18 October.
Some students are returning to their classrooms, community sport can resume, more friends and family members can gather at home, and vertical drinking and dancing is allowed at hospitality venues (but not nightclubs).
In NSW, about 92% of the adult population has had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. After announcing the state had reached the 80% double-dose milestone on the weekend, the premier, Dominic Perrottet, tweeted that “summer in NSW is looking good”.
80% in NSW! Been a long wait but we've done it.
Feels great to break this news. Huge thanks to all the nurses and vaccination hub staff at @NSWHealth, the GPs, the pharmacists, and each and every person who rolled up their sleeve to get us here.
— Dom Perrottet (@Dom_Perrottet) October 16, 2021
So what is allowed from Monday?
You can have more people to your home
Those who are fully vaccinated can have up to 20 people to their house at one time excluding children under the age of 12 who aren’t yet eligible for a vaccination. Up to 50 people can gather outside.
But only two people who aren’t fully vaccinated will be allowed to meet outside.
Schools reopen – gradually
On Monday in greater Sydney, students in preschool, year 1 and year 12 return to the classroom, while those in remaining grades will head back the following week.
Perrottet – responding to the concerns of some parents – said on Sunday that NSW was being “cautious and measured” when reopening schools sooner than initially expected.
“We believe the measures we have in place mean we can open classrooms safely. It is incredibly important that we get kids back to school as soon as possible,” Perrottet said. “We know it’s great for them and for parents.”
The premier defended the decision not to require primary school students to wear a mask. “Anybody who has young kids knows how hard it would be to keep the mask on … we’ve got to be realistic here,” he said.
“This is commonsense. But what we have said to primary school parents is that we highly recommend masks for students who are in year 3 and above.”
The state’s chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said on Sunday that 74% of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15 had had one dose of a Covid vaccine while 32% were fully vaccinated.
No masks in offices
Vaccinated workers no longer have to wear a mask at office buildings.
Masks are still required for all staff and customers in all other indoor settings including on public transport, planes and in airports (except children under the age of 12). Only hospitality staff are required to wear masks outdoors now.
No attendance caps at weddings, funerals and places of worship
There is no longer a limit on the number of guests you can have at a wedding or funeral in NSW however density limits apply. Dancing is permitted at weddings along with standing eating and drinking.
Only five people who aren’t fully vaccinated are allowed at wedding ceremonies and they aren’t allowed to attend wedding receptions. There is a 10-person limit at funerals for people who aren’t fully vaccinated.
Places of worship are allowed to reopen even to those who aren’t fully vaccinated, subject to density limits. Up to 10 vaccinated singers can perform at places of worship and religious services.
Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms
Retail stores can operate at one person per 4 sq metres but those who are not fully vaccinated will continue to only have access to non-critical retail via click-and-collect.
Personal services such as hairdressers, spa, nail, beauty, waxing, tattoo and massage can operate with one person per 4 sq metres (uncapped) and sex service premises can reopen.
Hospitality venues can operate with one person per 4 sq metres inside and one person per 2 sq metres outside, with the requirement to be seated while drinking indoors scrapped. Dancing is allowed indoors and outdoors, except, paradoxically, at nightclubs. Group bookings are limited to 20 people. Those who are not fully vaccinated can only access hospitality settings for takeaway.
Gyms and indoor recreation facilities (including indoor pools) can operate with one person per 4 sq metres, capped at 20 people per class.
Events and entertainment
Major recreation facilities including stadiums, theme parks and race courses are open with density limits for up to 5,000 people.
Entertainment venues including cinemas and theatres reopen with density limits or 75% of seating capacity.
Covid-safe outdoor gatherings are allowed for up to 200 people while controlled outdoor gatherings (with fences or seated tickets) are permitted for up to 3,000 people. Nightclubs and strip clubs can reopen but with seated drinking and no dancing.
Unrestricted trips between greater Sydney and regional NSW will not be permitted until 1 November.
Caravan parks and camping grounds can operate, however, including for those who are not fully vaccinated
Carpooling is permitted. But those who are not fully vaccinated can only carpool with their household.