Dominic Perrottet lifts caps for weddings, funerals; NSW schools to return October 25

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Mr Hazzard said the lower case numbers and a continued surge in vaccinations had provided the new-look government with an opportunity to tinker with the state’s COVID road map.

“The Premier has already announced with the numbers going down, as they have, we have been able to revisit some of these issues and that’s always been the case,” he said.

The latest data revealed 70.3 per cent of people in NSW aged 16 and over had received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by Wednesday night, allowing for the easing of restrictions next week.

“We have always said that vaccination is the key to our freedom and the sacrifices and the effort of people right across NSW have ensured that we can open up as quickly and safely as possible,” the Premier said.

“We know that this is not just a health crisis, it’s an economic crisis, too, and NSW has been incredibly successful.”

Workers in hospitality, gyms and retail stores in regional NSW will be able to return to work after receiving just one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine next week, Deputy Premier Paul Toole has announced.

In Greater Sydney, workers in these industries will still need to be fully vaccinated. Greater Sydney includes metropolitan Sydney, as well as the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong. These regional workers will need to be fully vaccinated by November 1.

“This has been done because in some areas it was difficult to be able to get vaccines,” Mr Toole said.

Patrons of these businesses will presumably still need to be fully vaccinated, as was dictated in the original road map for easing restrictions at 70 per cent full vaccination in NSW.

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The Premier said he will not put a date on when NSW will reopen with its 80 per cent vaccination target restrictions.

Mr Perrottet said the changes to the road map were not because he was unhappy with the work of his predecessor, Gladys Berejiklian, who resigned last Friday.

“Where we are today … looking at where the case numbers were, the fact the vaccination rate was at 70 per cent, it gave me an opportunity to reflect on it, to sit down with the Health Minister, which I have done over the last 48 hours, and I think the changes that we have made today are very sensible and make sense,” he said.

When asked about the NSW vaccination passport app, Mr Perrottet said there would be “further updates” provided this week.

Meanwhile, the Premier also confirmed he would scrap the 11am press conference, a hallmark of his predecessor Gladys Berejiklian’s pandemic strategy. Instead, COVID-19 numbers will be released at 9am from next week.

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