The NSW Government has updated the roadmap for easing restrictions after the state reaches the 95 per cent double dose vaccination target, or 15 December, whichever comes first.

One of the key changes will be the removal of density limits, allowing bars across the state to finally be able to operate once again at full capacity. And while the Government’s advice is that QR check-ins will be eased and only be required at “high-risk venues”, it states this will still be required at “limited hospitality settings (including pubs, small bars, registered clubs and nightclubs)”.

Masks will only be required for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff who are not fully vaccinated, but will remain “strongly encouraged in settings where you cannot social distance”.

Proof of vaccination will no longer be required by Public Health Order for most activities, although businesses can still require proof at their own discretion.

AHA NSW Director of Liquor and Policing John Green, told The Shout: “We’ve been operating under some form of restrictions since March last year and so December 15 will be the first time that we can return to full capacity. This just means so much for an industry that has a lot of deferred debt. A lot of bills have not been waived, they have been deferred and so operating currently at 50 per cent of our full capacity just continues to put strain on businesses.

“QR codes will stay for a period of time, and if that’s the price we have to pay for keeping the patrons and our staff safe at this point in time; and if that’s the price for us being able to reopen at full capacity, then that’s the price we are willing to pay.

“People have been doing it tough and everyone is now just hoping for a bumper season, but of course as we’ve been relieving some of the restrictions we have been hit by poor weather.”

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the easing of restrictions was only possible because NSW is amongst the highest vaccinated populations in the world and the introduction of the booster shot program.

“We’re leading the world when it comes to vaccinations and that is a tremendous achievement we can all be proud of because it has allowed us to return to normal as quickly and safely as possible,” the Premier said.

“The easing of these restrictions will allow people to get out and enjoy summer providing a boost for some of our hardest industries as we do everything we can to ensure we keep people safe as we learn to live with COVID.”

Minister for Jobs, Investment and Tourism Stuart Ayres said the updated plans for the next stage of the roadmap was great news for businesses still impacted by the remaining restrictions.

“This is a timely boost for businesses just before the busy Christmas and summer holiday periods,” Ayres said.

“I want to encourage everyone to go out and support NSW businesses – whether it’s a meal out, booking a regional trip, or holiday shopping at your favourite local store, this is a prime time to enjoy the new freedoms and help NSW businesses bounce back.”

The NSW Government said it will continue to review the roadmap settings and make any appropriate changes based on case numbers and vaccination rates.

People aged 18 years and older can receive the Pfizer booster dose at least six months after receiving their second dose of any of the COVID-19 vaccines registered for use in Australia.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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