October 11, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier | Image: Tourism Australia

With the state standing at over 73.5 percent of the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, those in NSW with two jabs came out of lockdown at midnight, getting a swathe of freedoms, including being able to go to restaurants, pubs, gyms, hairdressers and attend events.

ICC Sydney will be able to operate events of almost 6,000 people today, with settings for event venues following either hospitality guidelines – one person per four square metres inside and one person per two square metres outside – or those for entertainment venues which allow 75 percent of fixed seating capacity. The Aware Super Theatre has a usual fixed seating capacity of 8,000.

Some businesses, including hairdressers and gyms, reopened at midnight to celebrate the end of lockdown.

On ABC News Breakfast this morning NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said he was expecting to cases to rise and that reopening wouldn’t be “without its challenges”.

“Even with vaccination, there will be hospitalisations as we know and that’s why…it’s really important that we continue to follow the rules that are in place. They’re not there for the sake of [it], they’re there to keep people safe as we open up,” he said.

“The alternative…is to stay closed.”

He said it was positive that case numbers were below where state authorities thought they would be. The state recorded 496 cases to 8pm yesterday.

He said it was still possible that some locations would see targeted restrictions if needed.

It’s possible some parts of the state with low vaccination rates may experience a downturn in business as today’s major changes for vaccinated residents take effect.

Although the government last week eased vaccination rules for workers in regional areas slightly, allowing them to return to work if they’ve had at least one vaccine dose, in places such as Byron Bay, with less than 40 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, 60 percent of the population who were able to – for example – go to the pub yesterday, will now be barred from entering hospitality venues, events and the like.