If you’ve been feeling a little unsure of the current rules and regulations around coronavirus restrictions in NSW, you’re not alone. With the government rolling out new guidelines seemingly by the minute, it can be pretty hard to keep up with all the dos and don’ts.
This Monday (1 June), the second stage of the state’s reopening plan will take effect, making restrictions in NSW among the most relaxed in the country. But before you head to the pub for that long-pined-for schnitty or invite all your friends around for a rowdy reunion, let’s freshen up on what you can and can’t do right now, and what’ll change come Monday.
At the beginning of this week, those among us with kids breathed what can only be described as an alarmingly lengthy and unparalleled sigh of relief as schools re-opened statewide. On Monday, NSW public school attendance was at 86%, only 6% down from its usual rate for this time of year. Whilst the reopening of schools across the state signalled the biggest step toward normalcy yet, Monday’s further easing of restrictions look set to bring us that much closer.
Right now, public gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed, including going out to dinner or meeting family and friends at the park or the beach (albeit not the greatest weather for that right now). As you’ve probably noticed, restaurants, cafes, and pubs that can allow four square metres of space per person have begun to reopen, taking lunch and dinner bookings of up to 10 people. On the 1st of June, they’ll be allowed to seat up to 50 customers at a time, as long as they can conform to the physical distancing requirements. Suffice to say, share plates and buffets are well and truly and thing of the past.
If you’d rather just grab a drink and forgo a sit-down meal, there’s more good news in store—bars and clubs have also been given the green light to host up to 50 patrons from Monday. Still, everyone must be seated, with ‘mingling’ and ‘dancing’ still prohibited. For most of us, the latter comes as a blessing.
If you’re looking to invite some friends or family over to your place this weekend, five people from different households can drop around, as long as you all keep at that magic 1.5m distance. Though you can’t have more than five over at one time, there’s no limit on how many separate visitors you can have per day, so spacing out lunch and dinner guests is fine.
In property, the government has given the green light on open for inspections and live auctions. Physical distancing of 1.5m will still be required, good hygiene at open homes and auctions is expected with hand sanitiser made available, and any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to attend the auction or enter the property.
By now, most of us are itching to get out of town, and on Monday, the ban on interstate holidays and travel will be lifted. Until then, you’re still allowed to travel within the state for purposes that include work, exercise or visiting family and friends, but as on 1 June, some Airbnbs, caravan parks, and camping grounds will begin opening/taking bookings.
Whilst museums, art galleries and libraries have been off limits the past few months, they’ll reopen to guests this Monday, permitting four square metres is allowed per person. Also, a little fun fact—all library books will go through a 24-hour quarantine once returned before they’re replaced on the shelf. Surely there’s a joke about judging a book by its cover in there somewhere…
Gyms are still off-limits for now—though outdoor boot camps of up to ten people are allowed. If all continues to go well and the third stage of the federal government’s reopening plan remains on schedule, gyms and yoga studios could open in about a month, though beauty salons will resume certain services 1 June. Speaking of self-care, if you’ve been holding out getting a haircut this whole time—do us all a favour and get that mop attended to. As long as social distancing measures are followed, salons and barbers are a-go.
Finally, if you’ve been umming and ahhing about heading to the shops and trying on a pair of pants that feature something other than an elasticised waistband—physical retail therapy is currently allowed and encouraged. There are no restrictions on shopping, be it for something as essential as a puzzle in the Morrison household or a hibachi grill after watching too much MasterChef. As with all other public places, stores must enforce strict social distancing measures and keep a close eye on the number of people inside at once.