Excited Aussies are already scrambling to book flights after NSW announced it will become the first state in the country to end quarantine.
In a press conference on Friday morning NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced that arrival caps as well any type of quarantine for vaccinated Australians and foreigners flying into Sydney would be scrapped in two weeks.
Mr Perrottet's declaration that NSW was 'opening up for business' has been much-needed news to international airlines as it promises to boost business with about 6000-seats-a-day available to bring travellers into Sydney airport.
Delighted Australians have also fired up their social media accounts to praise the state for leading the nation's efforts to climb out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A raft of new freedoms will be restored across NSW from next week as the state nears its 80 per cent double dose vaccination target. Pictured: Woman pose for a photo in Sydney on Tuesday after the state exited lockdown
'NSW taking one for the team. Every other state will learn from your endeavours,' one person wrote.
'Quarantine is dead, buried and cremated for vaccinated, covid-negative travellers from November 1st. Good. F***ing. Riddance,' someone else Tweeted.
'Great to see! A step towards opening the whole of Australia to travellers,' another added.
WHAT'S ALLOWED FROM NOVEMBER 1
- From November 1 rules will relax further to allow travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW.
- NSW will also welcome international tourists and workers from all countries with no quarantine at all if they are fully vaccinated.
- Cap of 210 unvaccinated arrivals per week with 14-day hotel quarantine still enforced for them.
- The 20 person cap on bookings at bars will also be removed on this day.
Some said they had already booked flights overseas to go on holidays and reunite with loved ones.
'Booked flights to see my mum in the UK!' 9News journalist Sarah Swain tweeted.
'Not until Jan as was not keen to join the Xmas rush/ in case it didn't happen.'
'This is literally the best news all year. Hurts me to say it but NSW is putting the rest of the country to shame! Already have my flights booked to Europe in December!' another man wrote.
'Finally some common sense after 18 months!'
But other Australians were less impressed, fearing reopening borders would leave immuno-compromised and unvaccinated residents vulnerable to catching Covid-19.
'Madness. Against all sensible medical advice. December death toll will be horrendous,' one person wrote.
'Does the NSW Premier know that at 80 per cent of over 16s vaccinated there are still over 2.5million people unvaccinated in NSW alone?' another Tweeted.
'NSW has abandoned any pretense of following medical advice regarding Covid. As a Sydneysider, I find this horrifying. I fear the impact on the vulnerable,' a third said.
The move blindsided Prime Minister Morrison - who hadn't fronted the cameras in eight days - and forced him to emerge from Kirribilli House to clarify that Australia's borders will not yet open to tourists.
'Hotel quarantine is a thing of the past. We are opening Sydney and New South Wales to the world, and that date will come in on November 1st,' NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Friday
'All we are talking about now is Australian citizens, residents and their immediate families, which will be looking to extend to the parents of those Australian citizens and residents,' he said.
'We are not opening up to everyone coming back to Australia at the moment. I want to be clear about that.
'We will take this forward in a staged way as we have done in all these things.
'It is for the Commonwealth and Federal Government to decide when to the border opens it shut at an international level and we will do that.
'In the first instance it will be for Australian residents and their families.
'We will see how that goes and then we will be to other priorities set out as being skilled migration as well as students to Australia and then we will move onto challenge of dealing with international visitors to Australia.'
NSW will not enforce any quarantine at all on vaccinated arrivals from November 1. Pictured: Sydney Airport in December
Before Friday, NSW had been planning a seven-day home-quarantine system - but this has been scrapped after a trial showed it used up too many resources to police.
Mr Morrison admitted that the first he heard of NSW's plan to scrap quarantine altogether was when the premier announced it on Friday morning.
'I've written to the premiers and chief ministers earlier this week asking them to confirm the arrangements they would have... the premier wrote back to me today and confirmed that would be on the 1 November and under those no quarantine arrangements for vaccinated Australians,' he said.
Australia's international border has been closed since March 2020 to reduce the spread of coronavirus - and no date has been set for a re-opening.
The national re-opening plan agreed by all states and territories in August states that once 80 per cent of over 16s are vaccinated then there will be a 'gradual opening of inward and outward travel with safe countries'.
Overseas arrival limits will be scrapped for the fully-vaccinated, while only 210 unvaccinated travellers will be permitted into NSW a week from November 1
The travel announcement came as Mr Perrottet eased more restrictions.
From the beginning of next month, bookings for hospitality venues will no longer be capped and people entering the state will be able to sidestep mandatory isolation if they can provide proof of vaccination and submit a PCR Covid test.
Overseas arrivals caps will also be lifted for those fully-vaccinated with a TGA-approved jab.
Unvaccinated inbound travellers will be capped at 210 people per week and will have to undergo mandatory quarantine.
Greater Sydney residents will also be free to travel to the regions from November 1, when it's expected more than 77 per cent of regional LGAs will be fully-vaccinated.
While many are excited by the prospective of travel, Board of Airline Representatives of Australia executive director Barry Abrams said a few issues would need to be addressed before international trips resume.
'The first key issue that needs to be resolved as soon as possible, is how the airlines are going to verify the vaccination status of inbound and outbound passengers,' he said, the Daily Telegraph reports.
'Airlines have been having a number of good discussions with government agencies but we would like to see this sorted urgently.'
Delighted Aussies flocked online to share their excitement about the changes coming into effect from November 1
One woman from Queensland said she was happy to hear about the freedoms in NSW
However, others were less impressed the NSW Government decision to completely scrap quarantine for the fully-vaccinated
Mr Abrams said further clarification is also needed about how unvaccinated passengers will be flown into the country.
He suggested the group of up to 210 people a week be flown on a 'one off commercial charter' into NSW, rather than having them separated across several flights.
Although Mr Perrottet is yet to reveal the finer details, he said the easing of restrictions and return of overseas travellers would help reunite families and be a significant boost for the economy.
'We have reached this vaccination milestone quicker than anyone thought we could, and that is a testament to the hard work of people across the state turning out to get vaccinated,' he told reporters on Friday.
'Welcoming back fully-vaccinated travellers will not only mean families and friends can be home in time for Christmas, it will also give our economy a major boost.'
Fully-vaccinated travellers already in quarantine will be also released on November 1 - even if it has been less than 14 days.
Meanwhile, Mr Perrottet said from Monday house visitation limits will double from 10 to 20 and outdoor gatherings from 30 to 50.
Fully-vaccinated travellers will also no longer need to hotel quarantine, but will need to submit a PCR test and provide proof of vaccination. Pictured: People arriving at a hotel quarantine facility in Sydney in May
NSW is quickly closing in on its 80 per cent of adults double vaccinated target as the state reports 399 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday
'Standing up in pubs will be back. There will be no limits on weddings and funerals,' he said.
Major recreation facilities will be allowed to host 5,000 spectators while entertainment facilities can return to 75 per cent capacity.
Weddings and funerals will no longer have a cap on the number of guests.
The 20-person cap on bookings at restaurants and other hospitality venues will also be scrapped from November 1.
'We have only been able to do this because of the significant effort of the people across New South Wales have made in getting us to this point,' Mr Perrottet said.
NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole confirmed the decision to delay travel to the regions until November 1 had been taken because of the risk to communities where vaccination rates lag behind the cities.
Delaying regional travel was necessary to protect communities from a virus outbreak because only 36 per cent of regional local government areas have populations where 80 per cent are double vaccinated.
'We have to make sure that there is a balance between protecting communities and opening up,' Mr Toole said.
Extra support for businesses in regional NSW affected by the delay in opening up the rest of the state would be provided, Mr Perrottet said.
Some 77.4 per cent of adults have now received two doses of the vaccine with 80 per cent expected to be double-jabbed by Saturday
Regional travel, which was expected to restart once the milestone was hit, has now been delayed until November 1
'The Job Centre payment which we are tapering off - we will extend that for regional New South Wales at 30 per cent of payroll until November 1,' he said.
Some 77.4 per cent of adults have now received two doses of the vaccine with 80 per cent expected to be double-jabbed by Saturday.
Earlier Mr Toole said the decision to delay regional travel was 'frustrating'.
'I know it's a very difficult time because I know that people are wanting to pack their bags,' he told 2GB on Friday morning.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10094551/Australians-celebrate-NSW-announces-Covid-restrictions-dropped-November-1.html2852