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(Image: Unsplash/Logan Weaver)

As of May 15, social distancing in New South Wales has begun to ease. Residents of New South Wales can now welcome up to 5 guests into their homes and 10 people can now gather in public.

Here is the latest update on:

  • Social distancing in New South Wales
  • Education
  • Work
  • Travel 
  • What’s open? 
  • What are the fines if you don’t follow the rules?

(This article will be updated as new changes are implemented to keep you informed.)

Social distancing in New South Wales

As of May 15, residents of New South Wales can welcome up to 5 visitors into their homes at a time. Groups of 10 people are allowed to gather in public.

Social distancing precautions, such as staying at least 1.5 metres apart, still apply during visits to other people’s homes and when gathering in public.

Under the new easing of restrictions, the following is allowed:

  • Up to 5 visitors can visit a private home;
  • Up to 10 people can gather in public places;
  • Weddings can now include up to 10 guests, excluding the couple and those who are assisting in the wedding such as photographers, videographers and celebrants;
  • Funerals and memorial services may have up to 20 guests present for indoor services and 30 guests present for outdoor services;
  • Religious gatherings and places of worship may have up to 10 worshippers
  • Food and drink premises such as cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs may now seat 10 people at any one time.
  • Outdoor swimming pools may reopen as long as there is a COVID-19 safe plan in place.
  • Outdoor playgrounds and gym equipment may be used with caution.

Education

From May 11, students will begin to attend school one day per week. The number of students attending school is expected to increase gradually over the coming weeks.

Work

While there is still no clear indication as to when most workers in NSW will return to work, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said work restrictions would be assessed on a regular basis and new guidelines regarding work could be passed in May. Berejiklian caveated this promise with a warning that “every time you relax a restriction, more people will get sick, more people will die”.

Travel 

If you are travelling for an essential reason and are following social distancing rules, there are no limits on how far you can travel within NSW. 

If you are using private modes of transport, social distancing rules apply and you should only travel with members of your household. 

There are currently no restrictions on using public transport. If you do need to use public transport, you should maintain a safe distance, avoid touching surfaces where possible and disinfect or wash your hands once you are off the mode of public transport. 

There are no restrictions on crossing the NSW border, however, the border rules of other states will apply to you if you cross them and you need to have a reasonable reason to travel.

From June 1, residents of New South Wales will be allowed to travel to regional areas for holiday purposes.

What’s open? 

  • Cafes
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery stores 
  • Bottle shops
  • Truck shops
  • Chemist
  • Doctors and medical centres
  • Hospitals
  • Pathology services
  • Physiotherapy services
  • Remedial or therapeutic massage services
  • Childcare facilities
  • TAFE and educational colleges
  • Universities
  • Schools
  • Youth hostels 
  • Crisis and temporary accommodation
  • Disability or aged care facilities
  • Hotels, motels or other accommodation
  • Fibre and crop auctions
  • Auctions for food supply (including livestock auctions for food supply)
  • Foodbanks and homeless shelters
  • Places of work that involve tasks that cannot be carried out remotely, such as construction sites, farms, and mines.

What are the fines if you don’t follow the rules?

As per orders made under the Public Health ACT 2010, a breach of social distancing laws and regulations could amount in the maximum penalty for an individual of $11,000, or imprisonment for six months, or both. A further $5,500 penalty may apply for each day the offence continues. The NSW Police may also issue on-the-spot fines of $1,000 for an offence.

In the case of corporations, the maximum penalty is $55,000 and a further $27,500 penalty may apply for each day the offence continues.

Read: When will offices reopen? The end of WFH

Peter Fray

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