NSW kids can visit friends' houses as part of 'friend bubble'

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Thousands of families in lockdown have been given a school holiday treat with the easing of more Covid-19 restrictions.

Kids’ play dates with friends are back on after the NSW government crisis cabinet signed off on the deal late Monday night.

Under-18s are now able to visit each others’ homes and gather in groups of three as part of a friends’ bubble.

But the lockdown relief which comes into effect from noon Tuesday brings some rules. 

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Children must nominate which three friends will be part of their bubble and can’t change their mind 

Bubble participants must live within five kilometres of each other or in the same local government area, and adults in the kids’ households must be fully vaccinated.

Parents and carers must not interact with each other when dropping kids off at their friend’s house. 

The bubble has been extended to HSC students who can study in groups of three.

The lockdown relief was made possible by the state’s strong vaccination rates.

‘Parents and children have had a difficult few months, trying to balance both work, often from home, as well as home schooling,’ NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian 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.’

Health minister Brad Hazzard added: ‘These latest changes are aimed at giving children more opportunities to be together and balances Covid safety with their mental health and wellbeing,”

NSW recorded 935 cases on Monday as infections dropped 1,000 for the first time in a month.

More than 82.2 per cent of eligible residents have received their first Covid-19 jab while 52.7 per cent are now fully vaccinated.

Eased restrictions in hotspot LGAs 

From 12.01am Monday (September 20), the following restrictions will ease for those who live in the listed LGAs of concern: Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and some suburbs of Penrith.

· No limit on the duration of outdoor exercise and recreation (previously a two-hour limit);

· Outdoor gatherings of up to five fully vaccinated people (not including children aged 12 and under) will be allowed in a person’s LGA or within 5km of home (previously only fully vaccinated household members could gather outdoors, or up to two fully vaccinated people from different households);

· Shopping, exercise and outdoor recreation can be done 5km from home or within your LGA (previously only 5km from home);

· Attend a small wedding (maximum 11 people) in Greater Sydney as a guest (previously only allowed in their LGA); and

· A person’s single’s bubble buddy can live in Greater Sydney (previously must have resided within 5km of a person’s home). A person from a LGA of concern can also now be a buddy for someone in Greater Sydney.

Authorised worker conditions and travel permit requirements remain in place in the LGAs of concern.

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