Gladys Berejiklian has flagged “one-off exemptions” in NSW for annual events in the lead up to Christmas but warned that the summer holiday period is a riskier environment.
The premier says while the next major milestone will be opening the border with Victoria, some activities could be granted an exemption from COVID restrictions.
“We’re always looking at opportunities to make life easier for our citizens, but we need to be mindful that with additional gatherings during the summer period, it is a riskier environment,” Berejiklian said on Tuesday.
“We are also looking to provide one-off exemptions for a lot of organisations who might be doing their annual event or some type of commemorative, religious or Christmas event.”
Berejiklian warned that Christmas celebrations could remain capped at 20 visitors to a home, and reiterated that if possible families should book restaurants which can now accommodate parties of 30.
“I’ll say to families who are preparing for Christmas and New Year’s – please assume that the current health orders are in place – anything beyond this is a bonus,” she said.
“For those of us with large extended families, 20 doesn’t cut it, but all of us have to adjust because of COVID and that’s a sacrifice all of us make to keep each other safe and keep jobs going.”
NSW on Tuesday clocked up three straight days without recording a single case of locally acquired COVID-19.
But Berejiklian hosed down expectations of a widespread rollout of a potential vaccine.
“The health advice I received is quite optimistic about a potential vaccine in the early part of next year, but it will be limited in the number of people who can receive it,” she said.
“We’re actually drawing up a plan now in NSW to ensure those most vulnerable and of course our health workers and those dealing directly with COVID patients manage to have that vaccine,” she said.
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer says its experimental vaccine is more than 90 per cent effective in late-stage clinical trials.
Millions of doses of potential coronavirus vaccinations are already being produced in Australia subject to final clinical trials, with hopes vaccination could begin in March.