A week after stay-at-home orders lifted and fully vaccinated people were allowed back at NSW pubs and beauty salons, people who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are now free to play community sport and have a dance at the pub, and are allowed to do it with larger groups of people.
Students in years 12 and one, as well as kindergarten kids, are returning to classrooms, ahead of other grades who will return next week.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell says teachers are ready to welcome children back.
“It’s a good day. It’s wonderful we have students in the back in the classroom,” she told Nine Network on Monday.
When a COVID-19 case is identified in a school it usually closes for about a day for cleaning and contact tracing.
But Ms Mitchell says each situation will be now be considered on a case-by-case basis to minimise disruption.
“If it is a kindergarten child and a few kids in the class who are impacted it might be that year group has to stay-at-home for 14 days,” she said.
“If the teacher is fully vaccinated they won’t for instance.”
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said there will be “teething issues” with the return to school “but those challenges do not outweigh the importance of getting kids back in the classroom”.
Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 fully vaccinated people are now permitted, and up to 20 visitors are allowed in a home, provided everyone over the age of 16 is vaccinated.
People can once again stand up while drinking and even have a dance in most hospitality venues, but not yet nightclubs, which are allowed to reopen so long as people sit down while they drink and don’t dance.
A 100-person cap on weddings and funerals has been lifted.
A five-person cap at hairdressers and beauticians is now gone too.
Office workers are no longer required to wear masks at work, but they’re still required in other indoor areas such as on public transport or in a retail shop.
Mr Perrottet said his state had “a bright summer ahead” but that “this is not going to be an easy time”.
“As we know, as we open up, cases will increase. Hospitalisations will increase … I am confident that as a state we will come together and get through it,” he said.
The lifting of restrictions only applies to people who have been fully vaccinated at this stage, but will be expanded to everyone in December.
On Sunday, NSW recorded another 301 cases of COVID-19 and 10 deaths.