Millions of locked down Sydneysiders could be freed a week earlier than planned if surging vaccination rates continue to climb.
Freedom Day is expected to be on October 18, once 70 per cent of the NSW population have received both doses of the jab.
However, the government is now reportedly considering opening up a week earlier on October 11 as long as residents continue to roll up their sleeves.
‘We’re feeling more and more confident that the dates we’ve previously assumed we might hit that double dose figure could actually be earlier,’ Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday.
‘At 70 per cent we’ve been clear and extremely black and white … it will be a health order and the law that if you’re not vaccinated, you can’t attend venues on the road map.’
Once this goal is achieved residents who have been confined to their homes for 13 weeks will finally be able to dine out, visit friends and family, travel regionally and attend retail and beauty businesses.
Residents will need to prove they’re vaccinated either by a digital certificate on their smartphones or a paper certificate confirming they’ve had both doses.
Just over 48 per cent of adults in NSW have so far received both doses of the jab.
Meanwhile, the first big ticket event in post-lockdown Sydney will be Australia’s richest horse race – The Everest.
Organisers have lobbied the NSW government to hold the lavish spectacle on Saturday October 16 at Royal Randwick Racecourse, two days before the anticipated ‘Freedom Day’.
Although official approval is yet been awarded, Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club are expected to get the rubber stamp from premier Gladys Berejiklian in coming days, Nine News reported.
A crowed of 5000 double-dosed spectators will be permitted to attend, with race-goers made to scan in using NSW’s soon-to-be revealed Covid vaccine passport system.
Also given the green light by the Berejiklian government on Wednesday was The Golden Eagle.
‘History will be made as twelve of the fastest horses compete for $15 million in prizemoney,’ organisers said.
‘And two weeks later the world’s best four-year-old’s do battle in the third running of the $7.5m The Golden Eagle at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, 30 October 2021.
‘Set across both Royal Randwick and Rosehill Gardens, the Everest Carnival will once again put Sydney on the world stage hosting a stellar eight weeks of world-class racing from September to November.’
Sydney is set to remerge from its gruelling lockdown, now in its 13th week, when the state’s vaccination rate hits 70 per cent.
The breakthrough is tipped to come on about October 18 with 80 per cent of NSW residents already receiving their first dose as of Wednesday.
Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club have argued that because the event is mainly outdoors – where the virus is less likely to spread – it should be given the go-ahead.
The also say the vaccination rate will either have surpassed the 70 per cent marker set out by federal government modelling or be so close to eclipsing the target, it will make minimal difference to safety.
Another factor which may see the annual event, first launched in 2017, get across the line is the need for the state government to test out its new technology.
Although pubs, restaurants, gyms, retail stores and personal services like hairdressers won’t be able to throw open their doors until the state eclipses its jab target, the vaccine passport system still needs some tinkers before it goes state-wide.
Health authorities and policymakers are desperate to pilot the app to iron out any potential technical problems.
The state government are expected pilot the scheme in regional areas with low Covid case numbers as early as October 4, with customers and patrons at non-essential venues required to prove their vaccination status via QR code using the Service NSW app.
Anyone who doesn’t get the ‘green light’ will be refused entry at the door.
If The Everest is given the okay to run, mask mandates will still be in place except when seated, eating or drinking.