While Victoria has experienced a spike in Covid-19 cases – prompting South Australia and Queensland to pause reopening their borders to the state – New South Wales has maintained a flattened curve, and starting today, July 1, we inch closer to normality. Here’s what you need to know.
The 50-person restriction on venues will be lifted
Bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs will no longer be capped at 50 patrons. Instead, patronage will be determined by the venue’s square meterage, with four square metres required for each customer. Capacity will increase significantly at large venues such as RSL clubs and big pubs.
Things won’t go entirely back to normal, though – patrons are still required to remain seated, so no knocking back shots at the bar just yet.
Stadiums are reopening
If you’ve been staring longingly at those cardboard cut-outs taking up the best seats at the footy, you’ll be happy to hear that stadiums are reopening for cultural and sporting events. There are some restrictions, though. Only venues that seat fewer than 40,000 people will be allowed to reopen, and only at 25 per cent capacity. You’ll also be on the edge of your seat – literally – during tense games: all patrons are required to remain seated. While the NRL and AFL are primed to return to quarter-full stadiums, don’t hold your breath waiting for a concert any time soon.
Other indoor venues are back in business – including the cinema
From July 1, all indoor venues will be permitted to reopen (apart from nightclubs – it’s expected they’ll be allowed to reopen by the end of August). That includes cinemas, theatres, strip clubs and theme parks. Like other indoor venues, they must allocate four square metres of space to each person, with 1.5 metres of social distancing between seats.
The Ritz at Randwick will be the first cab off the rank, reopening on July 1. The majority of Event cinemas in NSW will reopen on July 2, with friends and family able to book blocks of seats together (distanced from other patrons). Hoyts will also reopen on July 2, and customers will be able to book tickets, food and drinks in advance to help maintain social distancing. Palace Cinemas will also reopen on July 2, but Dendy hasn’t yet announced when it will be back in action. Golden Age is currently taking bookings for private screenings, and is slated to restart public sessions in mid-July.
While theatres companies such as the Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir St and Darlinghurst Theatre are allowed to reopen too, live productions aren’t financially viable with smaller audiences, so those spaces will remain closed.
Community sports are back
While gyms opened in the last round of eased restrictions on June 13, community sports for adults and children have remained on pause. But they’ll resume starting today, which means your weekend mornings will be spent at the local sports field once more.
No more than 20 people will be allowed to gather for a game – including players, referees, coaches and spectators.
Work from home
The NSW Government is still encouraging businesses to let their staff work from home where practical, which minimises the spread of the virus and reduces pressure on roads and public transport.