The NSW Government has confirmed the Tweed Shire and a number of other regional areas will be released from the State’s tough COVID-19 lockdown, despite NSW recording 1405 new local cases and six deaths today.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said areas currently deemed “low risk” and which have seen zero coronavirus cases for at least 14 days will emerge from lockdown at 12.01am on Saturday.
However, Local Government Areas still experiencing positive cases will remain bound by stay-at-home orders.
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“Today, I can announce that while unfortunately many regional LGAs will remain in lockdown due to COVID case numbers, for other parts of the state, stay-at-home orders will be lifted allowing more freedoms for those communities,” Mr Barilaro said.
He warned those coming out of lockdown that they will not be coming back to a “pre lockdown environment”, with a number of restrictions to remain in place.
Under the new rules, up to five visitors will be allowed in a home and up to 20 people will be able to gather in outdoor settings.
Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
Retail stores can reopen under the same capacity limits, along with hairdressers and nail salons.
Gyms and indoor recreation facilities have also been given the green light under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people, with sporting facilities including swimming pools also allowed to reopen.
Caravan parks and camping grounds can swing open their gates, and schools will return to face-to-face learning with Level 3 COVIDSafe measures in place.
In some good news for brides and grooms, up to 50 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.
A maximum of 50 guests can also attend funerals.
When it comes to major recreation outdoor facilities, stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000 people.
Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events, and indoor entertainment facilities such as cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.
However, regional NSW residents are being warned that they will be plunged straight back into a two week lockdown if any virus cases emerge.
The Queensland Government is yet to announce any potential changes to border restrictions with northern NSW following the announcement, despite desperate calls to reinstate the border bubble.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the lifting of the lockdown is a “signal to Queensland that it is time to end the catastrophic border division” and “restore border sanity.”
“The Tweed’s message to Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk is listen to the people, listen to the science, listen to reason and restore the border zone today,” Mr Provest said.
He said it made “no sense” for the Queensland Governemnt to “continue separating patients from doctors, children from parents and employees from workplaces”.
The full list of the regional NSW Shires emerging from lockdown at 12.01am on Saturday includes:
- Clarence Valley
- Coffs Harbour
- Edward River
- Port Macquire-Hastings
- Liverpool Plains
- Moree Plains
- Nambuccah Valley
- Richmond Valley
- Snow Valley
- Upper Lachlan
- Wagga Wagga
- Yass Valley
More to come.