NSW reports 360 new local COVID-19 cases and five deaths as business support unveiled

Some 90.4 per cent of people aged 16 and over in the state have received one vaccine dose, 74 per cent have had two doses.

Shoppers wear face masks in Pitt St Mall, following 108 days of lockdown in Sydney.

Shoppers wear face masks in Pitt St Mall, following 108 days of lockdown in Sydney. Source: AAP

New South Wales has recorded 360 new local cases of coronavirus and five additional deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.

It is the lowest daily increase in cases reported in the state in more than two months.

Some 766 people are receiving hospital care, with 155 in intensive care. 

Almost 89,000 tests were processed in the latest reporting period. 

It comes a day after restrictions eased in New South Wales, with Premier Dominic Perrottet expressing hope the days of statewide lockdowns are over. 

"There is no area of New South Wales that I'm concerned about going into localised lockdowns at this time," he told reporters on Tuesday morning.

But he admitted stay-at-home orders could return at any time in some local government areas, should NSW Health become concerned about rising case numbers. 

"There's a number of factors that will go into those considerations... test numbers, hospitalisation numbers and vaccination rates," the premier said. 

Mr Perrottet said the state's re-opening roadmap was under constant review, with potential tweaks considered as the state heads towards the 80 per cent double dose milestone. 

NSW Premier welcomes 'Freedom Day' after over 100 days in lockdown

On Tuesday, the NSW government unveiled extra support for businesses during the re-opening period. 

Eligible traders will be able to claim a $2,000 rebate for certain services and fees.

A stock guarantee of up to $20,000 will also be made available for businesses that invest in large amounts of perishable stock and are impacted by local lockdowns throughout December and January.

"We want businesses to have the confidence to get out and spend and invest in their business ahead of the busy Christmas trading period," Treasurer Matt Kean told reporters.

“We expect the summer will be a bumper time for businesses as the people of NSW emerge from lockdown and look to support their local, and we want business owners to know we have their back.”

Shoppers return to the QVB shopping mall as Sydneysiders enjoy Freedom Day after 108 days of lockdown
Source: AAP

Mr Perrottet said the government was eager to "recover every single job" lost in lockdown.

"Last year, as we came through the pandemic, business confidence was key, was crucial, to driving economic growth, to ensuring that businesses continued to employ and bring people on and that is why we recovered every single job that was lost," he said.

The state's JobSaver program has also been extended until 1 December, when restrictions relax and unvaccinated customers are allowed to access retail. 

NSW Parliament will resume on Tuesay after a three-month hiatus with Mr Perrottet facing his first question time as premier after the resignation of Gladys Berejiklian.

On Monday shops, gyms, cafes and hair salons were overrun as partons responded to weeks of pent up demand as people ventured more than five kilometres from home amid eased restrictions.

Sydney businesses celebrate the end of lockdown

And with NSW already on the verge of another critical COVID-19 vaccination milestone, crowds could soon be back in stadiums and nightclubs.

More than 80 per cent of the population is predicted to be fully vaccinated as soon as next Monday, the next threshold for easing restrictions.

NSW residents made the most of the relaxed rules on Monday with up to ten adults now allowed to visit homes and 30 people permitted to gather outdoors.

But as the lockdown ended, a "lockout" of the unvaccinated came into place, with only the double-jabbed able to enjoy eased restrictions.

This will remain the case until 1 December.

While authorities, business owners and hospitality staff were nervous about potential conflict with unvaccinated people denied entry and in-venue service, most in NSW were on their best behaviour.

Mr Perrottet expressed his gratitude to NSW residents for respecting the rules on the first day of eased restrictions.

"We have spoken a lot, over the fast few days, particularly about the tolerance, respect and kindness that we wanted people to show over the course of this difficult period. And that was in full display from the people of our state yesterday," he said.

But he reiterated that existing rules must still be followed.

Despite those limitations - including mask-wearing, social distancing and strict density limits and venue caps - Small Business Minister Damien Tudehope said the mood in NSW was one of elation.

"The spirit of optimism that's out there is something which is really contagious ... People waking up today are waking up in circumstances where they're feeling happy about their lives," Mr Tudehope told reporters on Monday.

With AAP

Published 12 October 2021 at 9:08am
Source: SBS News