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Masks off – New freedoms for NSW residents

Residents and businesses in Broken Hill can now take advantage of new freedoms as of today.

The milestone day has brought on changes in a variety of sectors, as the state takes a big step forward in the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Alfresco’s Café co-owner, John Perry, said it’s an exciting day for the whole community.

“It’s a great relief for everyone,” he said. “Especially hospitality have been eagerly awaiting this day.”

The removal of restrictions come into effect before NSW reached its 95 percent benchmark for the double dosed 16 and over population.

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According to NSW Health statistics, the State is just under the initial target with 93.2 percent of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

As part of the new rules, customers, and staff are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.

COVID-19 safe check-in is no longer mandatory at some places, but still required at pubs, small bars and registered clubs.

Mr Perry said these changes helped lift a massive weight off café staff and will have similar impact at other venues.

“It was very stressful on staff to ask people to sign-in and show their proof of vaccinations,” he said.

“It’s been demanding, and we couldn’t wait for today.”

Face masks are not required at cafés and are not compulsory in outdoor settings.

For people 12 and over, it must be worn on public transport, at waiting areas, at airports, on aircrafts, and for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff who are not fully vaccinated.

Anyone can visit retail or business premises regardless of their vaccination status.

Retail and businesses are now not required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Face masks are now also not needed for shopping and personal services.

Patrons will still need to complete a COVID-19 safe check-in at personal services like hairdressers, spas, nail, tattoo, and massage parlours.

Residents are not required to be fully vaccinated to host guests at their home or visit people at their home.

However, rules may still apply to visits to aged care facilities or disability homes.

Anyone can participate in sport, exercise, and outdoor gatherings.

Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can operate with no person or capacity limits in place, including group fitness classes.

Community sports can take place for all staff, spectators, and participants while indoor swimming pools also reopen for all purposes.

All residents can freely attend events and entertainment venues without the need to wear a mask or check-in. Rules do still apply for indoor music festivals that is attended by over 1000 people.

Density limits no longer apply to weddings, funerals, or religious ceremonies, with dancing and standing while drinking now also permitted.

Despite unable to profit from the peak season this year, Mr Perry said the future looks brighter.

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

To see the full list of changes, visit www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/stay-safe/rules/people-in-nsw.

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