November 3, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier | Image: Destination NSW

Event venues will be able to operate at increased capacity from next Monday for fully vaccinated attendees, after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced yesterday that restrictions originally slated to ease on December 1 would be brought forward on account of high vaccination rates.

The Premier also announced a new 95 percent vaccination coverage target and delayed freedoms for unvaccinated people to December 15 or earlier, if the 95 percent rate was reached sooner.

Hospitality and entertainment venues – which also govern operating restrictions for event venues – and major event venues like stadiums, will be allowed to operate at one person per two square metres indoors and outdoors from next Monday or at 100 percent of fixed seating capacity.

From next Monday outdoor gatherings of under 1,000 will be permitted without a COVID-19 safety plan. Music festivals remain prohibited, however.

“We want to make sure as we open up, we open up safely,” said Perrottet.

“Vaccination rates have been key. Ultimately though we want to get to a point where New South Wales is open, one, and free and we believe that the changes we have made today enable that to occur.”

Perrottet also encouraged those who had had their second vaccination more than six months ago to get a booster shot, with the rollout of booster shots now underway in the state.

“We’ve seen overseas challenges that can occur down the track – we want to make sure that as we open up, we open up safely. To date we have done that in our state incredibly successfully but there will obviously be further challenges that go ahead.

“I really do believe we’re going to have a strong summer here in NSW, the confidence and the strength of the NSW economy that we saw last year I believe will occur as we move through this difficult time.

“Confidence is key. Opening up safely is key and high vaccination rates in New South Wales have enabled us to bring that 1 December date for the fully vaccinated forward to the 8th of November.”

However the NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney cautioned that the pandemic was not over yet.

“It’s not mission complete. We’re not through the entire pandemic.

“There’s a really clear message here: We want to get to 95 percent, we want to encourage people to go out and get vaccinated and get that high as possible rate of vaccination coverage.”

In NSW, 88.3 percent of the population aged 16 and over has had two COVID-19 vaccination doses, while 93.6 percent have had at least one dose.

This morning 190 new daily cases were reported in the state.