The region’s peak business organisation, Business Hunter has welcomed some new direction from the NSW Government today, which outlines the next stages of the NSW Roadmap to Recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2021.
Business Hunter CEO explained that as the State approaches 95 percent double-dose vaccination, the December 15 milestone was naturally going to see the freedoms promised and a few more given the high uptake and many existing rules will be further relaxed, including:
- Masks will only be required on public transport and planes, at airports, and for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff who are not fully vaccinated (previously all indoors front-of-house hospitality staff regardless of vaccination status). Masks will be strongly encouraged in settings where you cannot social distance;
- No density limits (previously one person per 2sqm);
- COVID safety plans will be optional for businesses and will be supported by SafeWork NSW;
- QR check-ins will only be required at high-risk venues including hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, gyms, places of worship, funerals or memorial services, personal services (e.g. hairdressers and beauty salons), limited hospitality settings (including pubs, small bars, registered clubs and nightclubs), and for indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people; and
- Proof of vaccination will no longer be required by Public Health Order for most activities (businesses can still require proof at their own discretion). Proof of vaccination will still be required for indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people.
“It’s great that the community has taken the COVID-19 risks seriously and are taking charge of their health by getting vaccinated, and by most reports from our business networks, are managing compliance in places of business and recreation with respect and acceptance of the rules,” Mr Hawes said.
“Naturally, businesses should feel a sense of relief that as we approach 95 percent double dose, the safety of staff and patrons in greatly increased and our economy can start to approach capacity again.
“Feedback we’re receiving after yesterday’s announcement is a bit mixed, but on the balance positive. Business owners and managers are still very mindful that work health and safety matters are still in play, so we may see some premises take a little longer to welcome back patrons who are at a higher risk of contracting and transmitting the virus,” he said.
Business Hunter has been fielding enquiries on two fronts – safety of staff but also safety of patrons who may feel less protected under a more relaxed face to face setting.
“By and large, businesses just want to get on with doing business. It is a small minority of risk, however, on assessment, it may be that the business slows the adoption of relaxed public health orders on balance of that risk assessment.
“We have to be mindful as a community of the changes and be respectful of business choices for the time being, remembering that our economy will only grow and thrive again if we stay open.”