The NSW government has announced COVID-19 restrictions will be further eased from 1 June in a bid to get the economy up and running again.
In a statement, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the decision to further ease restrictions was made to provide residents a much needed break and to kickstart the tourism industry again.
“This is the day we’ve all been looking forward to since the COVID-19 travel restrictions were put in place earlier this year and I would like to thank everyone for their patience during the past few months of being cooped up at home,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The Premier, however, stressed it was important people continued to adhere to strict social distancing measures when they travelled.
“I must stress to everyone that, while we want people to enjoy a well-earned holiday, we must do this responsibly and continue to abide by physical distancing measures, as the last thing we want is further outbreaks that will force us to reintroduce restrictions,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Small business owner Melinda Love welcomed the new eased restrictions and said it had been a difficult year financially for the South Coast due to COVID-19 and bushfires.
“Local businesses have struggled to make ends meet during what would normally be a busy and income generating summer season,” she said.
“With the hope of the Easter period and Aussies wanting to support regional Australia, we thought the recovery would start from February onwards.”
Ms Love said COVID restrictions and the bushfires had impacted the region’s tourism industry and her accommodation service has been vacant for most of the year.
“Our property has been vacant throughout the height of the 2020 holiday season and we will make a huge loss this year because of what is going on,” she said.
“We need to experience momentum from Aussies to travel regularly to regional destinations for weekends away and school holidays throughout the remainder of 2020.”
The NSW government also announced restaurants, pubs and cafes would be able to have up to 50 patrons from Monday, as long as they could implement the four-square-metre social distance rule.
Beauty services, art galleries, libraries, and museums are also permitted to begin operating again from 1 June.
The NSW government has emphasised the services must adhere to the guidelines stipulated by NSW Health to operate in a COVID safe way.
“I would encourage museums, galleries, and libraries to be innovative to ensure strict social distancing is adhered to and good hygiene measures are followed,” Ms Berejiklian said.
For more information on what restrictions will be eased from June 1st, check out the explainer video below.