The region’s peak business organisation, Business Hunter says confirmation of the three phases of reopening for NSW is a positive step that will provide much needed certainty to business.
The Government has announced rules which will determine what can and can’t happen as the population reaches 70 and 80% double vaccination rates, as well as when liberties apply to all residents, irrespective of vaccination status.
“It’s been an uncertain time for many businesses with lots of confusion about which businesses will be able to open and under what rules,” said Business Hunter CEO, Bob Hawes.
“We support the Premiers emphasis today noting the release of the Public Health Orders in coming days will reconfirm that the onus will be on individuals to do the right thing and abide by the rules,” Mr Hawes said.
“Business owners can’t be expected to also act as security guards, so long as they have a COVIDSafe plan and appropriate registration points in place at their entry, they can get on with the business of being in business.
“The Premier has confirmed that 11 October is the day we will likely reopen at 70% double vaccination rate, which we are calling #backtobusiness day, because it will be a real celebration of being able to visit our favourite businesses again and to celebrate what we’ve missed during the lockdown.
“It’s a little disappointing we won't be welcoming people from Sydney until the 80% threshold is reached but the decision to delay is understandable and we have had businesses express concern to us about opening up at 70% notwithstanding the trade they will forgo by not having the Sydney market able to travel to the region.
“A number of greater freedoms will come into place at the 80% double vaccination rate, which on current trends could be as soon as a fortnight after the 70% milestone is reached.
“That day will also see several major milestones, include the option of returning to the office for those who’ve been fully vaccinated.
“It won’t be until 1 December that vaccination status will not be a factor. Until that time, there will still be challenges for businesses and we just ask the community to be respectful and accept the responsibility is on each of us to do the right thing by business to make it as easy as possible.
“This is an important step for the business recovery in the Hunter, as the state looks to bounce back as quickly as possible from the ravages of this pandemic,” Mr Hawes said.