When Scott Morrison unveiled the federal government’s plan for lifting the national lockdown and rebooting the country’s economy, it was broken into three neat stages. In practice, it seems the milestones on the roadmap back to normality will be a little more incremental.
On May 15, visiting friends, group fitness and eating out were reinstated. Today, May 19, another freedom looks set to be restored: the ability to travel and holiday anywhere in NSW from June 1. Currently, there are no restrictions on travel for work, exercise or education purposes, however, extended holiday travel to regional or rural NSW has been prohibited since mid-March.
According to the ABC, the NSW government confirmed regional travel "for any reason" could once again be permitted from the start of June. It’s excellent news for NSW’s tourism-reliant communities, which have not only had the economic damage of the shutdown to contend with, but also the devastating impact of last summer's bushfire crisis.
A question mark still remains over the operation of ski-resorts. With the snow season due to commence from June 6, it is currently unclear if there will be limitations on the number of people permitted to use a resort slope at any one time – outdoor gatherings are currently capped statewide to a maximum of ten people, including for "group exercise". Similar ambiguities on how current rules should be applied have kept aquatic centres and public pools shut, even after being given the go-ahead to open from May 15.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to make the formal announcement on recreational travel in rural and regional NSW on May 20.