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NSW Will Start Easing Some Stay-at-Home Restrictions From May 15

That means gatherings of up to ten people outside of homes are allowed, and restaurants and cafes can open (with some rules).
By Sarah Ward
May 10, 2020
By Sarah Ward
May 10, 2020

With active COVID-19 cases decreasing in New South Wales over the past couple of weeks — including two new cases reported in the past 24 hours — the state has been relaxing a number of coronavirus-related restrictions. Already, NSW residents can visit friends and family in their homes in groups of two. And, in the next week, a number of other limitations will also be lifted.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed the state's next stage of eased COVID-19 restrictions today, Sunday, May 10, following a similar announcement at the federal level on Friday. While Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the nation's three-step plan to lift lockdown limitations between now and July before the weekend, that country-wide framework needs to be implemented at the state level individually by each state — with NSW already flagging last week that it'd take a few days to explain what's to come.

From Friday, May 15, NSW will ease a number of limits. A selection of normal, everyday activities that have been off the cards since March will be permissible once again, with the following allowed:

  • Up to five visitors in your home (which includes children).
  • Outdoor gatherings of up to ten people, including leaving the house for recreational purposes — at parks and for personal training sessions, for example.
  • The reopening of outdoor gym equipment and playgrounds "with caution".
  • The reopening of outdoor pools "with restrictions".
  • Dining in at cafes and restaurants, with up to ten people allowed inside at any one time.
  • Weddings with up to ten guests.
  • Funerals with up to 20 mourners indoors and 30 outdoors.
  • Church gatherings of up to ten worshippers.

As the Premier noted, this is the first time that NSW residents will be allowed to gather outside for recreational purposes since COVID-19 restrictions were implemented. But, she still stressed the need to "exercise extreme caution", advising that people should "walk out the door assuming you have the virus, or someone you come into contact with does".

When discussing the fact that cafes and restaurants will be able to open for up to ten dine-in customers, the Premier also recognised that this number mightn't be considered viable by many eateries — so, while they are allowed to open, some owners may still choose to remain closed.

Unlike Queensland's easing of restrictions, which also come into effect on Friday, May 15, folks in NSW won't be able to travel regionally for recreational purposes. "Unlike other states, NSW is not yet ready," the Premier explained.

If all goes well with this first stage of reduced limits, the NSW Government will explore the next stages — but it isn't outlining what'll happen next at this point. Both at the press conference and in a statement, the Premier advised that "the NSW Government will consider steps two and three of the plan in due course". In person, she provided further detail: "if there is evidence or if there is data that shows either a huge spike, then we have to go backwards. Similarly, if the data shows us that we're doing better than expected, we can move forward a bit faster."

When the eased restrictions come into effect on Friday, May 15, standard social-distancing requirements will still apply. That means sticking with physical distancing, maintaining four square metres per person indoors, hand and cough hygiene, and frequent cleaning and disinfection.

For more information about NSW's eased restrictions, read the Premier's press release.

To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

Top image: Kitti Gould

Published on May 10, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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