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Some good news for cafes and restaurants across NSW as COVID-19 restrictions relax further from today, Friday, following a promising month.
Cafes and restaurants can double the number of customers they let into venues, as the state reverts from a 4-square-metre rule to a 1-person-per-2-square-metre rule – applicable for both indoors and outdoors. Gyms will continue to have a 4-square-metre rule.
Furthermore, workers in the hospitality sector are no longer required to wear masks.
Mask wearing is also no longer enforced in gaming rooms, places of worship, and hair and beauty salons. Although, masks are still mandatory on public transport, taxis, and ride-sharing services such as Uber.
Wedding and funerals will continue to have a cap at 300 guests, with 20 guests allowed to dance at weddings and 5 people allowed to sing in public.
A further ease of restrictions for NSW comes as the state passes 25 days without acquiring a local case of COVID-19. 3 cases were diagnosed in hotel quarantine, the findings coming from 16,000 NSW tests done on Thursday.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that the changes were to help keep the economy moving by supporting the state’s businesses, but pointed out that a close eye on the situation must be maintained.
“We want to continue to give the community and businesses the confidence to move forward, especially with the expansion of the 2 square metres rule which will allow most venues to double their capacity,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“However, as we ease restrictions it is important, we don’t let our guard down – the community needs to continue to play their role in being COVID Safe and coming forward for testing with even the mildest of symptoms.”
While Sydney is enjoying promising changes to the rules, another exposure site in Melbourne is of concern.
UPDATE: Five-day lockdown in Victoria (to end 11:59pm on Wednesday) announced by Premier Daniel Andrews in response to Melbourne quarantine hotel outbreak.
Victorian residents can only leave home for essential supplies, care and caregiving and exercise and essential work. No visitors allowed in home.
Leaving home for exercise and shopping is permitted, although limited to 5km from home.
Face masks to be enforced indoors (in venues outside your home) and outdoors.
“As with Stage 4 restrictions, all non-essential retail will close, but essential stores like supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies will remain open. Cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer take-away,” said Mr Andrews.
“Hotel and accommodation providers will be able to stay open to support guests already staying onsite. No new bookings can be made.
“Funerals will be able to go ahead with up to ten people. Weddings will need to be postponed.”
Mr Andrews concluded today’s statement with a hopeful message to Victorians:
“I know today will be hard. Likely, tomorrow will be even harder.
“But remember, no one else in the world – anywhere – has achieved what we have.
“And just as we had the courage and conviction to win this war before – we can do it again.”
South Australia and Tasmania have shut their borders to Victoria. Queensland has shut its border to Greater Melbourne.
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The Brunetti cafe at Melbourne Airport cafe is now on Victoria’s list of exposure sites, the state asking that individuals who visited during an eight-and-a-half-hour window – 4:45am and 1:15pm on Tuesday – get tested and isolate for 14 days.
The Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport hotel is also linked to 13 cases, with hundreds of individuals considered to be close contacts.
“They need to get on top of this quicky and I believe they will, as other states have,” Mr Morrison said to radio station 3AW.
Ms Berejiklian said that at this stage the situation Victoria was “manageable” and that NSW’s border to the state would remain open.
“There’s no reason for us to close the border,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“The one and only occasion where we have closed the border was to Victoria and that is when they had in excess of 150 cases a day. We are nowhere near that. At this stage we think it is manageable.
“It’s not at a stage now where we need to take that measure. Lockdown as far as NSW is concerned or a border closure is a last option, not the first option.
“We are doing everything we can, of course, to make sure we keep the virus out of NSW.”