As restrictions tighten yet again on pubs, clubs and restaurants, here is a look forward to see what restrictions NSW could face in the future.
As restrictions tighten yet again on pubs, clubs and restaurants, here is a look forward to see what restrictions NSW could face in the future.

What restrictions may come back as virus count rises?

With community transmission climbing higher and restrictions on pubs tightening, The Daily Telegraph has looked at five key areas of NSW's economy that may be facing further restrictions.

PUBS, CLUBS and RESTAURANTS

The Australian tradition of going to the pub for a feed and a beer came back on the table in May, when venues opened to a maximum of 10 patrons.

Golden Sheaf Hotel came under fire for massive queues after restrictions were eased.
Golden Sheaf Hotel came under fire for massive queues after restrictions were eased.

This was increased to 50 by June 1, and continued to increase until the Crossroads Hotel outbreak this month.

Restrictions on pubs, restaurants and cafes have now regressed back to a limit of 300 people per venue and a group booking limit of 10.

Gladys Berejiklian has flagged restrictions could get strict again.

"I can't guarantee that we won't need to go further across the board in curtailing existing ability for people to do what they're doing," she told Ben Fordham.

The fate of the hospitality industry is up in the air as NSW battles the possibility of a second wave, but with Sydney's biggest cluster in weeks coming from a pub, there is a possibility of a return to takeaway only service.

 

SHOPPING

In NSW most shops were allowed to stay open during the initial restrictions, however many retailers decided to close voluntarily as case numbers climbed.

New Zealand’s strict lockdown involved closing all non-essential businesses. Picture: Dave Rowland/Getty Images)
New Zealand’s strict lockdown involved closing all non-essential businesses. Picture: Dave Rowland/Getty Images)

It is unlikely NSW will move to shut general retail stores, however if cases continue to rise we may see a return to voluntary closures.

If the government wanted to take a page out of New Zealand's book and move to a harsher strategy we could see all non-essential stores close. New Zealand closed all retailers except for supermarkets and pharmacies.

However, this is unlikely given the Berejiklian government's focus on jobs and the economy.

While in March the Premier said she may "go further" if people we irresponsible with their shopping habits, her comments in May paint a different picture.

"I don't want to go through the pattern of opening and shutting things down because that doesn't give anyone any certainty," Ms Berejiklian said.

 

BEAUTY

Salons may be forced to voluntarily close if cases increase. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Salons may be forced to voluntarily close if cases increase. Picture: Justin Lloyd

Beauty salons and hair dressers have been able to reopen since June 1, with strict COVID-safety practices in place.

The beauty and hair industry was initially seen as a big risk to spreading the virus - however a case is yet to be linked to one of these businesses in NSW.

While initially it made sense to close these businesses, it is unlikely a closure of salons is on the government's mind at the moment, given spreading is happening most at pubs and gyms.

When beauty salons were ordered to close in late March, new cases were coming close to 200 daily.

It is likely a return to these restrictions won't happen until NSW loses control of the Crossroads cluster and declares a second wave.

 

VISITS

Visitors to residential homes have been capped to 20, but the Premier has urged people to have around 10 to be safest.

The Premier has asked people to keep visitors to a minimum despite the 20 people limit. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper
The Premier has asked people to keep visitors to a minimum despite the 20 people limit. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper

While NSW's latest outbreak has spread out in public, Victoria tells a different tale.

Clusters in Melbourne's suburbs have been largely driven by extended families visiting eachothers homes, and spreading the virus along with them.

While this is yet to happen in NSW, we are seeing higher rates of community transmission, with five cases on Friday unable to be traced to a current cluster.

Victorian authorities have allowed only five visitors at a home, and Melburnians are on complete lockdown with no visitors other than intimate partners.

If NSW imports Victoria's rate of community spread, we could see social gathering restrictions reimposed. Australian cases were only reaching a quarter of what Victoria is experiencing now, but the government is yet to flag if a return to no visitation is on the cards.

 

BORDER COMMUNITIES

The NSW government has flagged that further restrictions may be in the future for communities on the Victorian border.

Earlier this month when the Premier made the historic decision to shut down the border, she also said a secondary border between the border towns such as Albury and the rest of NSW was an option.

It is likely that border communities may face

Border towns may be facing their own version of lockdown if cases explode near the border. At the moment residents have been strongly discouraged from travelling to the rest of NSW, but this may be on track to become a restriction.

"The probability that we need to be tougher on those border restrictions is extremely high," Ms Berejiklian said.

"I ask everybody in those border communities, including residents in New South Wales who live in Albury or Moama or other places across the border, do not travel to other parts of New South Wales unless you absolutely have to.

"My strong warning to people in New South Wales is do not travel to those border communities unless you absolutely have to."

Victoria was able to shut off Melbourne from the rest of the state, so now there is a precedent to setting up checkpoints for intrastate travel, and this may be an option for the NSW government.

 

Fines await illegal border crossings in Albury. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Dallinger
Fines await illegal border crossings in Albury. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Dallinger

 

THE VERDICT

We know that the government's decisions are informed by National Cabinet, and as the National Cabinet has decided to take a suppression rather than eradication response, it is unlikely NSW will follow in the footsteps of New Zealand and go for a strict lockdown.

However, with the rate of community transmission climbing and cases spreading in pubs and restaurants, the hospitality industry is at a tipping point.

A return to harsh restrictions on pubs particularly is looking more and more likely.

While transmission in border towns is staying relatively low, the government has flagged border towns as an area for future restrictions, and we may see travel restrictions in place within NSW.

 

 

 

Originally published as What restrictions may come back in NSW?



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