NSW winds back COVID restrictions
The NSW state government is winding back some of its COVID-19 restrictions.
As of today, people will only be required to check in to a few key places such as disability and aged care facilities, gyms, and places of worship.
Churches will be able to open without density limits, but will still require check ins, and are strongly encouraged to keep mask requirements.
Weddings will be able to go ahead with singing and dancing.
Masks will only be required on public transport and planes, at airports, and for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff who are not fully vaccinated. Masks will be strongly encouraged in settings where you cannot social distance.
The changes were expected to come in either on 15 December, or once NSW either reached a target of having 95 percent of its eligible population fully vaccinated. While the state has reached 93 percent of the age range 16 and over, the 95 percent target has proven to be elusive.
Advocates for people with disabilities have previously expressed concern that relaxing restrictions may prove to be dangerous for vulnerable community members. The Ethics Centre’s Dr Simon Longstaff argued in September that Australia was risking lives if it did not include a vaccination target for people with disabilities as part of its conditions for reopening.
“I know there are lot of arguments about the mental health costs of not opening up … but I unfortunately suspect that we will open up before that (vaccinating all people with disability) has been achieved, and I think we as a society are going to have to accept that those who become infected and die because of their additional risk … that will be something we have to wear on our own conscience,” Dr Longstaff said.
“Our hands will not be clean when we do it, if we do it, and I just think that it almost beggars belief that we’ve allowed this to be the situation where such a choice has to be made.”
With NSW recording 800 new cases on 14 December, it remains to be seen as to whether the state government chooses to roll back some of the changes. For more information, visit the NSW government’s COVID-19 resource website