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NSW will begin lifting social restrictions from Friday, May 15

Cafés and restaurants, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and swimming pools will be allowed reopen

Maxim Boon

NSW will begin relaxing some of the current social restrictions on May 15, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to announce today.

The state will follow a slightly modified version of the Morrison government’s stage one plan.

  • Cafés and restaurants will be allowed to seat a maximum of 10 people. Businesses will need to ensure each patron has at least four-square-metres of space – a rule that could make it impossible for smaller venues to trade;
  • Five people (inclusive of children) will be allowed to visit private residences;
  • Playgrounds and outdoor gym facilities will reopen;
  • Swimming pools will reopen, but they could be capped to a maximum of 10 swimmers at any one time. Outdoor boot camps will be allowed with a maximum of 10 people to a group;
  • Religious gatherings and places of worship will be allowed up to 10 people and weddings will be permitted to have 10 guests. Funerals will be allowed 20 mourners at indoor services and up to 30 mourners at outdoor services.

The state has opted to ignore some of the federal recommendations.

  • Libraries and community centres will remain closed;
  • Regional travel for recreation purposes will also remain prohibited. Fines and legal proceedings for those found breaking travel restrictions will remain in effect;
  • Beaches will remain accessible for exercise purposes only.

Although the relaxed restrictions will not come into effect until May 15, there have been reports of some Sydney cafés and restaurants opening for seated dining already due to confusion over the non-binding nature of the federal government’s recommendations. Morrison said in his media briefing on May 8 that it was up to the governments of individual states and territories to decide how and when to begin rolling back current prohibitions. More details on how NSW will enter stage one are expected later today.

Physical distancing will remain in effect as the shutdown is gradually lifted. Here's everything you need to know.

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