Australia

NSW relaxes more COVID-19 restrictions

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As NSW today relaxes more COVID-19 restrictions, new rules will be put in place to prevent Melbourne residents living in virus hotspots from travelling across the border.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the NSW Government will impose strict penalties on Melbourne residents in outbreak areas who seek to enter NSW in defiance of the NSW public health orders. These orders will incorporate the same restrictions as those being put in place in Victoria.

Individuals who fail to comply with the new rules could face up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $11,000 or both.

“Victorians living in virus hotspots have to take the Victorian and NSW health orders seriously and should be very aware that NSW will impose penalties if they seek to leave hotspot suburbs to enter NSW,” Mr Hazzard said.

The NSW Order will prevent travel from Melbourne hotspots to NSW unless it is a NSW resident returning home or in very special circumstances, such as to obtain urgent medical care or for compassionate reasons.

Anybody who has been in a hotspot in the past 14 days, including NSW residents, will be subject to a stay at home direction for two weeks.

There will also be restrictions on visiting residential aged care facilities or a health service.

Meanwhile, restrictions on entertainment venues, weddings, community sport and other gatherings will be eased in NSW from today but strict physical distancing measures remain in place.

Mr Hazzard said businesses should ensure they have a COVID Safety Plan outlining exactly how they will maintain a safe environment for their staff and customers.

“Until we have a vaccine, everyone has a role to play keeping the community safe, whether that is mum and dad at their kid’s soccer match or your local café operator,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The NSW Government has always said with the easing of restrictions comes risk, so I urge everyone to maintain physical distancing, get tested if you feel unwell and stay home if sick.”

The following COVID-19 restrictions have been eased from today:

  • The number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the ‘one person per 4 square metre’ rule, with no upper limit. This includes function centres.
  • Kids’ and adult community sport can recommence.
  • Cultural and sporting events at large stadiums, racecourses and motor racing tracks will be allowed up to 25 per cent of their normal seated capacity to a maximum of 10,000. These events must be ticketed and seated and follow strict guidelines.
  • Alcohol can still be served to seated patrons only, including at conference and function venues.
  • Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can reopen subject to the one person per 4 square metre rule.

The rules on gathering remain the same: 20 guests inside the home and 20 for gatherings in a public place.

NSW Health has finalised checklists to allow businesses affected by the easing of restrictions to be prepared for operation. These checklists provide guidance for businesses to develop a COVID safety plan. You can find the checklist here:https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/covid-safe-businesses

All venues must adhere to their business specific COVID Safety Plan consistent with NSW Health guidelines.

Health orders are being prepared today and will become enforceable at midnight tonight to be concurrent with the Victorian health orders.

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