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Australia NSW Freedom Day pushed forward to October 11 - here's all you can do

03:40  23 september  2021
03:40  23 september  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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  Date FINALLY revealed for when first NSW pubs will open their doors Pubs and restaurants are set to throw open their doors on October 4 to trial the NSW government's vaccine passport app - about two weeks before the entire state is set to celebrate 'Freedom Day'.Health authorities and the state's policymakers are desperate to test the new technology which will enable double-dosed residents to prove their vaccination status when businesses are tipped to reopen statewide in mid-October.

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Freedom Day in NSW is on fast forward with the state set to hit the crucial 70 per cent double-dose mark even before a new vaccine check-in app is ready to roll out.

The state is just days away from unlocking the new freedoms after a surge in vaccine take-up has brought forward the estimated 70 per cent milestone date to October 7.

Under the state's re-opening roadmap, the relaxed restrictions for everyone double-jabbed will then kick in the following Monday on October 11.

But government officials are warning that the technology to power a new combined vaccine status and check-in app, protected by a digital hologram, may not be ready.

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Under the re-opening roadmap - only for the double-dose unvaccinated - pubs and restaurants will be able to offer restricted dining and drinking, with people able to stand outside and drink.

Retail stores will re-open with limited customer numbers, and likewise hairdressers and nail salons can have up to five customers, depending on the size of the shop.

Gyms will re-open with classes for up to 20 people and one gym-goer per 4sqm, and sporting facilities including swimming pools will be given the green light.

Five double-jabbed adults will be able to meet in the same home, and up to 20 outdoors. Weddings and funerals will be allowed with up to 50 guests. Dancing will be allowed, but eating and drinking must be seated.

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Crowds of up to 5,000 will be allowed back into stadiums and racecourses, and 500 at other seated and ticketed outdoor events. Cinemas and theatres will be allowed up to 75 per cent capacity.

Travel throughout NSW will also be allowed and campsites re-opened. Carpooling will be allowed again but employees will keep working from home if they can.

Masks will remain mandatory for adults indoors but only hospitality staff will have to wear them outdoors.

But the hospitality industry is still concerned about the delay on the check-in vaccination status app.

There are concerns it may lead to confrontations for pubs, restaurants and event staff who will need to manually check vaccine certificates - and turn away anyone unvaccinated.

NSW had hoped to rework their current Services NSW check-in app to also tap into vaccination status so pub-goers, diners and stadium crowds can all move freely once double-jabbed.

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  Freedom Day for anti-vaxxers: Key date for the unvaccinated in NSW Ms Berejiklian said she expects NSW to relax restrictions at 70 per cent double dose vaccination from October 11 - and hit 80 per cent double dose just two weeks later. Under the roadmap, the barriers will then dramatically disappear for everyone who is double-dose vaccinated, she said. Deputy premier John Barilaro warned: 'The message to the unvaccinated is is that you will not achieve any further freedom unless you get vaccinated.' However almost all restrictions will be removed by December 1 even for anti-vaxxers, by which time double-dose vaccinations of adults are tipped to pass the 90 per cent mark.

But the app technology has been delayed by the need to access federal government databases for vaccination status - and may not now be ready in time for the new accelerated freedom schedule.

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The initial timeline saw NSW coming out of the lockdown deep freeze on October 25, before it was later brought forward to October 18 and now October 11.

NSW digital minister Victor Dominello has admitted the updated supercharged check in app may not make the new deadline - but said it won't stop Freedom Day.

'We're moving heaven and earth to get that ready,' he said on Wednesday. 'The reality is right now there are other options for showing your vaccination status.

'This is just to make it easier.'

The NSW government are now drawing up the new public health orders that will kick in once the freedom date is confirmed so businesses can plan how to implement them.

'The hospitality industry needs the public health orders to be released as a matter of urgency,' Wes Lambert, chief executive of Restaurant and Catering Australia told The Australian.

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'Businesses [need to] understand the mechanisms and the requirements around the QR code and the sighting of vaccination certificates.'

NSW has now hit 55.5 per cent double-dose vaccination, with 83.6 per cent having had their first dose. Nationally, 48.5 per cent are double jabbed and 73.4 on their first.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro confirmed on Tuesday that Freedom Day may be as early as the second Monday of October.

'At this stage, it does look like it (the 70 per cent target) will happen just in the first week of October,' Mr Barilaro told the Today show.

'We said it'd be the Monday following. So, look, it's very possible that it's October 11.

'But definitely in the first or second week of October we'll get the state open.'

The news is welcome relief to millions of residents in Sydney and surrounding regions desperate to be released from three months of lockdown with almost 53 per cent of the NSW population now fully jabbed.

The deputy premier confirmed who aren't vaccinated will initially miss out on freedoms until the state hits the 80 per cent double dose target as he issued a blunt warning to those yet to roll their sleeves.

'We've said before 80 per cent, nothing will happen but we're just determining what happens at and above 80 per cent,' Mr Barilaro said.

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'The crisis committee are considering that as we speak this week and we'll look at what it looks like.

'But it won't be what it is today, there's no doubt about that.

'It'd be lesser restrictions but for those what are vaccinated that's where the freedoms are so my message to everybody: get vaccinated.'

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He stressed he and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian are on the same page when it comes to when the unvaccinated will enjoy the same freedoms.

NSW recorded 1035 cases on Tuesday, up from the previous day's 935 when infections dropped 1,000 for the first time in a month, but continuing the overall downward trend.

Mr Barilaro said it's too early to say whether case numbers have peaked.

'We peaked a couple of Saturdays ago when we were almost 1600 cases,' he said.

'Since then we've had a bit of a roller- coaster ride, as low as 1100, up as high as 1300, but then yesterday under a thousand.'

'It may be possible that we peaked.

'We predicted we would peak at this time, and let's see what the next few days and what Saturday looks like as it seems to be Saturday where the big numbers normally come in.'

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