The silly season might look more normal than expected, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hinting there will be “one-off exemptions” in coronavirus rules for annual events in the lead up to Christmas.
Ms Berejiklian told reporters yesterday that while the next big milestone for her state is reopening its border to Victoria on November 23, but mentioned additional activities could be granted exemption from restrictions in the near future.
Anyone already planning their holiday gatherings should, however, observe the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place, she said.
“We’re always looking at opportunities to make life easier for our citizens, but we need to be mindful that with additional gatherings during the summer period, it is a riskier environment,” she said on Tuesday.
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“We are also looking to provide one-off exemptions for a lot of organisations who might be doing their annual event or some type of commemorative, religious or Christmas event.
Under the virus restrictions currently in place in NSW, up to 20 visitors are permitted to visit another household at any one time, while outdoor gatherings in public are capped at 30 people.
Anything beyond this, Ms Berejiklian said, should be considered as a “bonus”, adding that there were other options available than celebrating in your home.
“If you can afford it please consider supporting your local suburban restaurant … you can have 30 people to a booking,” she said.
“Obviously in your home it’s 20 so for those of us with large extended families, 20 doesn’t cut it. But all of us have to adjust.”
Ms Berejiklian also said health authorities are looking into what cultural events can go ahead over the summer, and whether events like Christmas carols and choirs will be allowed.
“We are very closely looking into what we can do over summer in relation to hospitality and the arts community,” she said.
At the end of October, National Cabinet revealed its road map to “COVID normal” by Christmas, with the final stage targeted at removing state border restrictions and free movement between areas with no community transmission.
“It’d be very familiar, I think to many, the reopening plan to get Australia open by Christmas of this year,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at the time.
“Importantly, this plan not only details the opening of various activities within our economy (but) within our community and society.”