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NSW emerges from four-month lockdown

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Thousands of children in NSW are heading back to school for the first time in months as a swathe of COVID-19 restrictions are eased for full vaccinated adults.

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More than 80 per cent of people over 16 are now fully vaccinated in NSW, triggering a promised second stage easing of restrictions as the state emerges from nearly four months of lockdown.

A week after stay-at-home orders lifted and fully vaccinated people were allowed back at NSW pubs and beauty salons, people who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are now free to play community sport and have a dance at the pub, and are allowed to do it with larger groups of people.

Students in years 12 and one, as well as kindergarten kids, are returning to classrooms, ahead of other grades who will return next week.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said there will be “teething issues” with the return to school “but those challenges do not outweigh the importance of getting kids back in the classroom”.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 fully vaccinated people are now permitted, and up to 20 visitors are allowed in a home, provided everyone over the age of 16 is vaccinated.

NSW residents can once again stand up while drinking and even have a dance in most hospitality venues, but not yet in nightclubs, which are allowed to reopen so long as people sit down while they drink and don’t dance.

There’s no limit on weddings and funerals and the five-person cap at hairdressers and beauticians is also gone.

Office workers are no longer required to wear masks at work, but they’re still required in other indoor areas such as on public transport or in a retail shop.

NSW Customer Services Minister Victor Dominello stressed the new freedoms were only for the fully vaccinated but will be expanded to the unvaccinated in December.

Victoria will emerge from lockdown from midnight on Thursday – earlier than previously predicted – with the state set to hit its 70 per cent double-dose target.

-with AAP

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