NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian Announces Relaxed Restrictions From This Friday

Everything you need to know about changes to NSW coronavirus restrictions taking effect from Friday the 29th of January.

I know what you're thinking: when on earth will I get to have a 300-person wedding featuring universal compliance to the four square metre rule? Well reader, it's your lucky day. At a press conference this afternoon, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced you'll soon be able to do all of that and more.

Yup, after a 10 day streak of no new cases of COVID-19 in NSW, the premier has announced that restrictions will ease from Friday the 29th of January. Here are the main points to take home:

Mask-Wearing Will Continue

Face masks will continue to be a feature of our lives, with the premier stressing they will be compulsory for those hitting up public transport, places of worship and gaming venues. They'll also be necessary for public-facing hospitality workers and those in aged care or health settings.

You should also mask up for trips to the hairdresser or beautician. "If you are attending a beauty salon or a hairdressing salon, where there's prolonged periods where you're there for hours, both the staff and the patrons also...need to wear a mask."

However, Gladys says masks won't be compulsory in retail settings where human-to-human interaction tends to be brief. "[A mask] will not be compulsory if you're going retail shopping or if you're a retail worker or obviously if you're attending a hospitality venue," Gladys said.

That said, the premier stressed that you'll need to wear a mask when you can't socially distance. "In relation to retail and in relation to the public, in relation to retail staff, in relation to the public, we recommend a mask when you can't guarantee social distancing."

Gathering Quotas Will Ramp Up

One for the gatherers: the premier announced that when it comes to guests attending households, weddings and funerals, quotas will increase from Friday.

"Firstly, in relation to household gatherings, you will be able to welcome 30 people into your household, including children. So, in total you will be able to welcome 30 people into your household from Friday morning. In terms of outdoor gatherings, you will be able to have a picnic or a barbeque or something of that effect up to 50 people in an outdoor setting", she said.

"In relation to weddings and funerals, you will be able to have 300 people, so long as they comply to the 4 square metre rule. One person per 4 square metre, but up to 300 for a wedding or a funeral. For all other hospitality, all other corporate events and other places of gathering, including places of worship, it will be one per 4 square metre without any cap, any maximum cap. So, all places of worship, corporate events, hospitality venues will be one per 4 square metres from this Friday."

Restrictions Will Probably Ease Further In Two Weeks

If Sydney's current trends continue, the premier flagged that restrictions would likely ease further within two weeks. How good!

"The health advice that's been provided is that in all likelihood, if we continue the current trends, if we continue to see zero to location numbers and reasonable rates of testing, that in two weeks' time all the settings that we've currently subjected to the 4 square metre rule will revert to the 2 square metre rule," she said.

"So, it means if you have a wedding or a funeral or any other event, you will be able to subscribe to the 2 square metre rule. That includes hospitality venues, and any - anywhere elsewhere there's the four square metre rule is in place will be able to revert to the two square metre rule we believe in about a fortnight.

"We're not there yet. The reason is that whilst we have had two 14-day cycles of the Northern Beaches not having any community transmission, in south-west and Western Sydney we have gone through one cycle of no community transmission. The other cycle will be completed in about two weeks, after which time we can make sure that we've ticked all health boxes and we revert back to 2 square metres."

For a full breakdown of restrictions, please head to NSW Health.

Written by Reena Gupta, an Melbourne-based writer for MTV Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @purpletank.

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