"Vast amounts of the regions" will come out of lockdown on Saturday, September 11, the deputy premier John Barilaro has announced. Areas that have not recorded any cases for at least 14 days and are deemed low risk will enjoy new freedoms from 12:01am. However, significant restrictions will still remain in place, to balance both the economic and health concerns.
Barilaro said that, “The mid-north coast, to the north coast, to the northwest, Aubrey to Riverina and the Murrumbidgee areas will open.” He then added that, “The southern part, southeast, the Illawarra Shoalhaven area, the Hunter region, Central Coast out to the Central West parts of the far west won’t open today.”
He said that the decision on where would and would not open was based on health parameters and protecting regional NSW, acknowledging that it would be, “a bittersweet day for the regions.” However, he said that the partial unlock, “gives a level of hope and light at the end of this tunnel, the long winter, and it gives us an opportunity to come together and know that it is worth fighting for.”
Barilaro stressed the continuing importance of vaccination statewide and cautioned that significant restrictions would remain in place in the areas opening up and that just one case could send those communities back into lockdown for 14 days.
As of Saturday, the regional areas that do open would see hotels, cafes and restaurants, retail and workplaces reopen, but with capacity restrictions and the four square metre rule. Mask-wearing and social distancing will be required. Community sport won’t be permitted yet, and there will be some limits on outdoor gatherings.
People will be allowed up to five visitors at home (children under 12 do not count towards this total and up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings. Hospitality venues can reopen with one person per 4sqm inside, 2sqm outside, with drinking while standing allowed outside. Retail can reopen with the 4sqm rule, as can personal services like hairdressers and nail salons, capped at five clients. Theatres will reopen. Gyms and indoor recreation can open at 4sqm, with classes of up to 20. Sporting facilities and pools can open, but community sport will not be permitted as yet. Schools will reopen. Masks will remain mandatory for indoor settings, only hospitality staff will be required to wear them outside.