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New South Wales Government reveals path forward once 80 percent double dose target is met

  • Legal Development 28 September 2021 28 September 2021
  • Asia Pacific

Yesterday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian unveiled the roadmap to recovery for all of NSW once the 80 percent double dose vaccination target has been met. At this stage, the NSW Government anticipates this date to be around 25 October 2021.

This announcement has important implications for employers for business planning purposes. Following this milestone, employers must continue to allow employees to work from home, if this is reasonably practicable. Furthermore, employers must require employees who are not fully vaccinated to work from home, if reasonably practicable.

Significantly, the Premier also announced that from 1 December 2021, further changes will be introduced applying to all NSW citizens, regardless of vaccination status. From this stage, the option to work from home will be at the employer’s discretion.

Freedoms for the Vaccinated

Under the Reopening NSW Roadmap, the following freedoms will apply only to fully vaccinated adults and staff and patrons with medical exemptions.

Gathering in the home and outdoor public spaces

  • Up to 10 visitors will be allowed in a home (not including children 12 and under).
  • Up to 20 people can continue to gather in unregulated outdoor settings.
  • Up to 200 people can attend COVID Safe events.
  • Up to 500 people can attend controlled (ticketed and seated) events.
  • Community sport permitted.

For those who are not fully vaccinated, only outdoor gatherings in groups of 2 will be permitted.

Hospitality Venues, Retail Stores, Gyms

  • Retail stores can operate at one person per 4 sqm
  • Personal services such as hairdressers, spa, nail, beauty, waxing, tattoo and massage) can operate with one person per 4 sqm (uncapped)
  • Hospitality venues can operate with one person per 4 sqm inside and one person per 2 sqm outside, with the requirement to be seated while drinking indoors removed. Group bookings will be limited to 20 people.
  • Gyms and indoor recreation facilities (excluding indoor pools) can operate with one person per 4sqm, capped at 20 people per class.

Those who are not fully vaccinated:

  • Will only have access to non-critical retail via click-and collect.
  • Can only access hospitality settings for takeaway.

Major outdoor recreation facilities

  • Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can operate with one person per 4 sqm, capped at 5,000 people (or by exemption).

Entertainment, information and education facilities

  • Entertainment facilities (including cinemas, theatres, music halls) can operate with one person per 4 sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity (whichever is larger).
  • Information and education facilities (including libraries, galleries and museums) can operate with one person per 4 sqm.
  • Amusement centres and nightclubs will remain closed.

Weddings, funerals and places of worship

  • One person per 4sqm (uncapped) for weddings with dancing permitted and eating and drinking allowed while standing.
  • One person per 4 sqm (uncapped) for funerals.
  • Churches and places of worship can continue to open with one person per 4sqm, with no singing. Those who are not fully vaccinated will be allowed.

Those who are not fully vaccinated:

  • May only attend weddings with a maximum of 5 guests. Receptions are not permitted.
  • May only attend funerals with a maximum of 10 people.

Travel

  • Unrestricted trips between Greater Sydney and Regional NSW will be permitted.
  • Caravan parks and camping grounds can operate, including for those who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Carpooling is permitted. Those who are not fully vaccinated can only carpool with their household.

Masks

  • Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor premises and settings (except for children under 12).
  • Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask while outdoors.

Business Planning

With another new date to work towards (approx. 25 October 2021), businesses need to ensure that this take this time now to confront legal and logistical questions before operations resume. Some key questions that businesses need to be asking is:

  1. Do we have a plan for enforcing proof of vaccination requirements for our employees, customers and patrons?
  2. Do we understand our obligations around managing and collecting sensitive health information regarding vaccination status? What if we are asked if our employees are vaccinated?
  3. Have we determined how we will eliminate and minimise risks against COVID-19 transmission once stay at home orders have been lifted?
  4. What should we do if our medically eligible workers refuse the vaccine?
  5. How will we manage a Delta outbreak at a workplace?

If you would like to discuss how your business will manage its return to work plan, including in relation to health and safety controls against the transmission of COVID-19, whether your business can lawfully mandate vaccination or how you will manage health information (such as vaccination status), please do not hesitate to contact us.

End

Additional authors:

Miriam Asar (Associate), Patil Sevagian (Law Graduate)

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