Berejiklian unveils dates for three step reopening of NSW

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced the state’s three-step reopening plan with international travel set to return by December.

The first freedoms reinstated will begin on October 11 when 70 per cent of the eligible population are fully vaccinated, with the second stage seeing a return of regional travel by October 25 when the state is expected to reach its 80 per cent target.

Once the state reaches 80 per cent vaccinated, ticketed and seated events of up to 500 people can resume, but masks will remain mandatory for indoor events.

A one person per four square metre rule will be in place for indoor venues with a one person per two square metre rule for outdoor areas. Stadiums will reopen but be capped at 5,000 people.

On December 1 density requirements drops to two square metres indoors and the 5,000 cap on stadiums will be removed. Masks will also be scrapped.

“At 80 per cent, you will be able to go anywhere freely in New South Wales, you will be able to stand up and have a drink at a pub, you will be able to do obviously consider international travel,” Berejiklian said.

“The third stage of reopening will happen on 1 December. That is at least four or five weeks after we hit the 80 per cent double dose. We envisage we will have at least 90 per cent of our adult population vaccinated by then.”

The Premier said that international travel will resume again in December once Prime Minister Scott Morrison gives his approval.

“The Prime Minister and I have been in engaging in very positive conversation about what will occur,” she said.

“The Federal Government makes those decisions but we are very encouraged that certain airlines have made announces about destinations they might fly to and we are encouraged by that.”

Qantas has updated its flying schedule with CEO Alan Joyce bringing forward the reopening date for travel between Victoria and NSW from December 1 to November 5.

“It’s great to see plans firming up for some domestic borders opening given the success of the national vaccine rollout,” Joyce said in a statement.

“We’re now planning to ramp up flying between Melbourne and Sydney, which is usually the second busiest air route in the world, almost a month earlier than expected. There are also a lot of regional destinations that will open up for the first time since June, which is great news for tourism as well as family and friends who can’t wait to see each other again.”

The carrier is planning on resuming international flights to select destinations from December 18, but said it may have to reroute its Perth to London service temporarily due to WA’s hard line on borders.

“WA doesn’t intend to open to international travel until sometime next year,” Joyce said.

“So we’ll unfortunately have to temporarily move our Perth-London service until at least April 2022. Instead of operating from Melbourne to Perth and then on to London as it usually does, this flight will operate from Melbourne to London via either Darwin or Singapore, depending on conversations we’re having with the NT in the coming weeks.”