NSW businesses may keep blocking unvaccinated customers after December

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Unvaccinated people in NSW will likely remain barred from most hospitality and entertainment venues as well as air travel after Covid-19 restrictions ease in December, the state’s health minister says.

That’s because business owners, rather than the government’s public health orders, are likely to prevent the un-jabbed from entering venues.

NSW on Tuesday reported 863 new local cases of Covid-19 – dipping below Victoria’s 867 daily infections – and seven deaths.

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Of the seven people who died, one person was in their 40s, one in their 50s, two in their 70s, two in their 80s and one in their 90s.

It takes the toll for the current outbreak to 316.

Meanwhile, people from a Manly hotel in Sydney’s northern beaches have been asked to test and isolate following exposure in the building.

‘The source of the Covid-19 infection is currently under investigation,’ a Northern Sydney Local Health District spokesperson said.

NSW will emerge from lockdown in a fortnight after almost four months of stay-at-home orders for large swathes of the state.

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A broader ‘Covid-normal’ era will begin on December 1, when almost all restrictions will be dropped and the unvaccinated will no longer be prevented by public health orders from participating in community life.

At this point, only the ‘two square metre’ rule will apply in most settings and masks will be mandated for public transport and airports.

However Health Minister Brad Hazzard warned that business owners were likely to continue blocking unvaccinated people from their premises.

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This will also almost certainly occur on planes, with Qantas flagging it will require all passengers on international flights to be vaccinated when it resumes worldwide operations in December.

Even if public health orders no longer block the unvaccinated from social activity, those people may still remain locked out of daily life.

‘There are many businesses who will actually make it very clear that as at December 1, if you haven’t been vaccinated, you won’t be welcome and I think the airlines have made that very clear,’ Mr Hazzard said.

‘A balancing act had to be struck. But at the end of the day, if you haven’t been vaccinated by December 1, you’re going to find you’ll still have a lot more limited opportunities in the places you want to go.

‘Go and get vaccinated and stop hesitating.’

Socially distanced reintroductions to hospitality venues and hairdressers will begin from October 11, at 70 per cent full vaccination coverage.

About two weeks later, the state is expected to reach 80 per cent coverage, triggering additional freedoms and the resumption of regional travel.

These freedoms will only be restored for the fully vaccinated.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says officers won’t routinely stop people and ask to see their vaccination passports but will be available to help business owners who refuse service to anyone.

‘We will not be walking through restaurants and cafes and pubs checking if people are double vaccinated,’ Mr Fuller told 2GB radio.

‘We will certainly be assisting restaurant owners and shop owners if they are refusing entry to someone, we will respond.’

Mr Hazzard reiterated businesses would need to uphold the public health orders and police would only get involved if disputes escalate.

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Meanwhile, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she’d like Sydney Airport to serve as a funnel for stranded Australians overseas. NSW intends to increase arrival caps at 80 per cent vaccination and remove caps by December.

There are currently 1155 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, with 213 in intensive care units and 113 on ventilators.

Mr Hazzard said intensive care unit admissions may not reach the dire peaks modelling had previously predicted for October.

Lockdown orders for the Tweed and Byron Shire council areas in northern NSW will be lifted from Wednesday, as well as in Kempsey, but Port Macquarie and Muswellbrook will go into lockdown.

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