Businesses within Sydney hotspots remain hopeful as roadmap out of COVID lockdown revealed
Sydney is set for Australia’s longest lockdown despite NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirming the end is in sight.
Gyms, hospitality venues, and retail shops will reopen to fully vaccinated people, who will also be able to gather in homes under NSW’s roadmap out of its lengthy COVID-19 lockdown released on Thursday.
The Premier did not set a date, saying restrictions would be eased once the state had 70 per cent of its residents fully vaccinated.
The roadmap outlined that up to 50 people would be able to attend weddings — and get their hair and nails done beforehand too — under the blueprint, which is likely to come into effect from October 18.
The date will make Greater Sydney’s lockdown 114 days long, passing Melbourne’s 112-day marathon last year.
While Sydney’s current lockdown could surpass Melbourne’s from 2020, Victorians have been subjected to significantly different conditions and battled different strains over the course of the pandemic.
Last month, Melbourne marked 200 days of lockdown since the pandemic began — a figure Sydney is nowhere near reaching.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said she realised the next month would be difficult.
“These next hard yards of the four weeks are going to be tough,” she said.
“I know you’ve been in lockdown and, you know, you’re starting to see the sun shine and those rays of hope. Please do not take risks while we’re in this period. We do not need any super spreading events.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the roadmap out of lockdown showed the “pathway back to our future prosperity”.
“Yes, it will be in a staged way but it will provide businesses and workers and families right across the state the confidence to know that there is a bright future ahead,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We are conscious of the fact that as we ease restrictions, many businesses will still have impediments to their work. We will be providing support and reflecting on that.”
Ronda Helou, a hairdresser from Bankstown in Sydney’s west, moved her business online during lockdown but can’t wait to reopen next month.
Innovation kept her family business afloat when Ms Helou offered colour kits for delivery and filmed at-home tutorials, but others have not been so lucky.
“Our area has suffered, we are suffering, our community is in a really bad place and a lot of people have lost their jobs,” Ms Helou said.
“When we open in October I’m not sure people will think getting their hair done will be a priority for our community.
“I can’t wait to open, if they tell me I can open tomorrow I’ll be ready, my staff are ready, we want to get back in the salon and get people back in our seats,” Ms Helou, who is fully vaccinated, said.
Bankstown has been listed as an area of concern by NSW Health since August 8.
Ms Berejiklian said it was important for businesses to follow the rules of only allowing in fully vaccinated customers and have fully vaccinated staff.
“Businesses do not want to be in the pattern of closing and opening and closing and opening,” she said.
“Once they open their doors, they want to be confident they can keep their doors open. And that’s why it’s really important for everybody to follow this plan.”
NSW recorded 1,405 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths, overnight.
Currently, 42.5 per cent of the state’s adult population have received both their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.