Change to NSW Covid rules with government to introduce ‘friends bubble' for kids

Parents will be able to drop their children at a friend’s house from today as a new bubble arrangement comes into play.

NSW residents younger than 18 will be allowed to form a “friends bubble” in groups of three from midday on Tuesday.

The new measure was signed off by the Crisis Cabinet on Monday night and will bring welcome relief for parents and kids.

Although, there are rules.

Children or teenagers can only form a “friends bubble” of three and they cannot change the people in their bubble once formed.

Those in the bubble must live within 5km of each other or within the same local government area and all adults in each household must be fully vaccinated.

Change to NSW Covid rules with government to introduce ‘friends bubble’ for kids

Camera IconNSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro touched on the “friends bubble” on Tuesday. NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short Credit: News Corp Australia

Parents are also advised to social distance during pick up and drop off.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the strong vaccination rate had allowed this change.

“Parents and children have had a difficult few months, trying to balance both work, often from home, as well as home schooling,” she said.

“This change will hopefully make a big difference for families during the school holidays and allow young children and teenagers to catch up and reconnect with their friends.”

The Deputy Premier was asked about the new bubble arrangement on Tuesday morning and confessed kids had “done it tough”.

“We’re in school holidays. Kids have done it really, really tough. Parents have done it tough,” John Barilaro told the Today show.

“The mental strain … the wellbeing of our kids is important.

“The crisis committee made a decision that we’ll allow those kids to come together, just like we have the adult single bubbles – but that's for the vaccinated.”

The new rule means teenagers in Year 12 can also form a study bubble.

Mr Barilaro also said the state is on track for “freedom day” to come potentially earlier than anticipated.

Change to NSW Covid rules with government to introduce ‘friends bubble’ for kids

Camera IconParents can drop their kids at their friends houses from midday as part of a bubble arrangement. NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar Credit: NCA NewsWire

The reopening date was initially predicted to be October 18 but NSW could achieve its 70 per cent double dose target earlier.

“We said 70 per cent. At this stage, it does look like it will happen in the first week of October,” the Deputy Premier said.

“We said it’d be (opening up) the Monday following.

“It’s very possible that it’s the 11th of October. But definitely in the first or second week of October we’ll get the state open.”

Monday marked the first day that NSW has recorded less than 1000 new Covid-19 case since August.

The state recorded 935 new cases and four deaths, a huge drop from Sunday’s 1083.

But the Premier warned the worst of the state’s hospitalisations were still yet to come – a grim prediction given there are already 1,207 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 236 people in intensive care – 123 of whom are on ventilators.

“We need to continue to brace ourselves for October being the worst month, for the number of people who pass away and the number of people who need intensive care,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Once we start reopening, cases will go through the roof but it won’t matter so much as we will be vaccinated.”

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