Eased COVID restrictions allowing day trips spark fear in Illawarra, Shoalhaven
Leisure day trips between urban and regional areas will be allowed for fully vaccinated residents when lockdown restrictions are lifted in NSW on Monday.
the main points:
- Greater Sydney residents won’t be able to spend an overnight in regional NSW
- South Coast politicians have raised concerns about the danger that travelers could one day pose in areas that have not yet achieved vaccination targets
- Gareth Ward says he worries about the lack of clarity in new trends
A spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Paul Toole told ABC in a statement that travel would be permitted for several reasons.
“From Monday, travel between Greater Sydney and the regions will be permitted for people who have been fully vaccinated for a variety of reasons, except for holidays,” the spokesperson said.
The permitted activities include visiting family members or attending attractions such as wineries, the spokesperson said.
Under the Public Health Act, the Greater Sydney area includes the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Shelharbor and the Central Coast.
Fully vaccinated residents of the region will still be able to vacation in other regional areas.
A disaster waiting to happen
A number of politicians from the south coast have raised concerns about the impact visitors from urban areas with high case numbers could have on areas, most of which have not yet reached their 70 per cent vaccination target.
Gareth Ward, MP for Kiama, said the wording of the health orders was not clear, and he believes daily flights may not be something the government has been relying on.
“I think there is a lot of uncertainty and a lack of clarity,” he said.
“I’m not sure if that’s what the government wants to achieve, but on advice from them today, that’s what the health orders mean.
Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley also expressed concern about the potential for subway passengers to arrive in Shoalhaven on Monday.
“This is a disaster waiting to happen,” she said.
“Having people coming from Sydney to Shoalhaven – and they’re going to try to do that because they’ve been held for so long – is actually pretty appalling and I think our health district would be shocked by this news as well.”
The easing of travel restrictions between the metro and regional areas is one of the many changes that new Prime Minister Dominique Perrottet has made to NSW’s recovery roadmap.
Other changes include allowing 10 people for home visits instead of five, allowing 100 people for weddings and funerals instead of 50, and increasing the number of adults allowed to gather in public places from 20 to 30.
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