NSW nightclubs have been handed greater freedoms, after Health Minister Brad Hazzard signed off on an amendment to the Covid rules yesterday.
NSW nightclubs have been quietly handed new freedoms, after Health Minister Brad Hazzard made an amendment to the state’s Covid restrictions yesterday.
Patrons visiting nightclubs and strip clubs across the state can now drink alcohol while standing, a freedom that wasn’t due to kick in until next month.
“The object of this Order is to amend the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 to remove the requirement for occupiers of nightclubs or strip clubs in the general area not to allow persons to consume alcohol in an indoor area unless they are seated,” the amendment states.
Nightclubs and strip clubs were allowed to reopen for seating drinking and no dancing on December 18, when the 80 per cent double dose vaccination goal was hit.
The rule around dancing was relaxed earlier this week, but restrictions on drinking while standing were due to stay in place until December 1.
The Public Health Order amendment brings the rules for nightclubs and strip clubs into line with those in place for pubs and clubs, which were allowed to resume non-seating drinking when the state hit the 80 per cent double dose vaccination target.
All the new freedoms in place for NSW
The change follows a raft of eased restrictions that kicked in for fully vaccinated residents on Monday, which came after Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the reopening road map would be fast-tracked from December 1 to November 8.
This means the majority of restrictions have now been scrapped for those who have received the jab.
However, some rules still remain around mask-wearing indoors, along with density limits for weddings, funerals and venues.
These are all the changes that kicked in this week:
• There is no limit for household and outdoor public gatherings
• The one person per 2sq m rule applies indoor and outdoor for all businesses and venues
• No person or booking limits in hospitality venues and patrons can now drink standing up
• Singing and dancing is permitted indoors and outdoors for venues
• Masks will remain mandatory indoors until December 15
• No person limits for major recreation facilities such as stadiums, theme parks and racecourse (subject to density limits or 100 per cent fixed seated capacity)
• No person limit for entertainment facilities such as cinemas and theatres (subject to density limits or 100 per cent fixed seated capacity)
• No person limit for information and education facilities such as art galleries, museums and libraries (subject to density limits or 100 per cent fixed seated capacity)
• Indoor swimming pools are open for all purposes and community sport is permitted for all staff, spectators and participants
• There is no customer cap for personal services, such as hairdressers, spas, beauty and nail salons, tattoo and massage parlours (density limits still apply)
• Sex services premises can reopen
• Employers must allow staff to continue to work from home, if reasonably practicable
• Wedding ceremonies are permitted with no person limit or a five person limit for people who are not fully vaccinated
• Wedding receptions are permitted with no person limit subject to density rules. It is not permitted for unvaccinated people
• Funerals are permitted with no person limit or a 10-person limit for unvaccinated people
• Eating and drinking at weddings and funerals must be seated for people who are not fully vaccinated and they cannot sing or dance indoors
• Places of worship are open to all, though density limits apply
Rules for unvaccinated residents
Unvaccinated NSW residents have essentially been living under lockdown conditions while the rest of the state enjoys new freedoms.
Those who haven’t been fully vaccinated were due to get the same freedoms as vaccinated residents on December 1, but Mr Perrottet set a new goalpost for unvaccinated people last week.
When announcing changes to the road map, the Premier said unvaccinated people wouldn’t enjoy new freedoms until the state hits its 95 per cent double dose target or December 15 – whichever comes first.
Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres said the decision was made to protect the wider community.
“We have exceeded our expectations and because of that we are able to make some prudent changes that allow people who are fully vaccinated to be able to do more things slightly earlier,” he said.
“But we will also take that same prudent decision by just holding back unvaccinated people for another couple of weeks.
“It’s in line with the decision we made around not allowing people to travel into regional NSW until we had slightly higher rates of vaccination.
“There is a really clear message here. We want to get to 95 per cent and encourage people to go out to get vaccinated.”