Greater Sydney's Venue Restrictions Are Set to Ease Again From February 12
If case numbers remain low, the two-square-metre rule will come back into effect — and mask-wearing requirements might change, too.
If heading out for a romantic dinner is part of your Valentine's Day plans this year, you might a bit more company than you were expecting. No one will be crashing your date but, if COVID-19 case numbers in Greater Sydney remain low for the next week and a half, the region's current venue restrictions are set to relax again on Friday, February 12 — so restaurants, bars, cafes and eateries will be able to welcome in more people.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed the news today, Wednesday, February 3 — with her press conference following on from last week's announcement about the most recent set of loosened changes, which all came into effect on Friday, January 29. Speaking a week ago, the Premier said that if there was no further community transmission related to the recent outbreak in Sydney's southwest, more rules will be relaxed in a fortnight. Today, she confirmed that's still the plan.
So, come February 12, the one person per two-square-metres rule is slated to come into effect. At present, venues are operating under the one person per four-square-metres requirement. The change will apply to anywhere under the four-square-metre rule at the moment, so that means not only hospitality venues, but also houses of worship.
Don't expect to go dancing, however, as Premier Berejiklian noted that the rules about making shapes won't be changing. Singing in public will still be off limits, too, with both activities "still considered too high-risk in the current environment".
It's possible that more restrictions will be eased from February 12, but just what they could be hasn't be revealed as yet. So, whether you'll be able to have more than 30 people over at your house, or gather outdoors in public with more than 50 folks, hasn't been advised.
On the subject of masks, however, Premier Berejiklian advised that changes might be coming. "If there's no evidence of community transmission, we could recommend to revert back to previous mask-wearing policy," the Premier said. You'll still need to cover your faces in some situations, though, even if the rules do loosen. "I can say that, moving forward, mandatory masks on public transport will continue. We think this gives people assurance to get around their daily business and to also, given the fact that you're in an enclosed space for a long period of time, just to maintain that level of assurance," the Premier noted.
The announcement comes as NSW recorded no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, February 2 — a pattern that has remained for the past 17 days. As always, NSW residents are asked to continue to get tested immediately if you experience even the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms.
For more information about the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Health website.
Top image: Cassandra Hannagan.
Published on February 03, 2021 by Sarah Ward