Holly Smith a waitress at Shenannigans with the QR code . Picture Katrina Bridgeford.
Holly Smith a waitress at Shenannigans with the QR code . Picture Katrina Bridgeford.

COVID RESTRICTIONS: Your guide to the latest changes

COVID restrictions will be relaxed for many in the lead up to Christmas, as more people are allowed to gather at homes and in public spaces, while smaller venues can increase their capacity.

Northern NSW Local Health District CEO Wayne Jones said the Northern Rivers community has done an excellent job this year keeping community transmission at bay.

“By following the precautions, we’ll have the best chance of a COVID-safe summer,” he said.

From Tuesday, December 1:

  • Up to 50 people (currently 20) can visit a residence as long as an outdoor space is being used. However, it’s recommended no more than 30 people gather if the residence has no outdoor area.
  • Up to 50 people can gather outdoors in a public space (currently 30).
The new Service NSW QR code on Friday, October 30, 2020. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles
The new Service NSW QR code on Friday, October 30, 2020. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

Small hospitality venues (up to 200 square metres in size) will be allowed to have one person per two square metres indoors.

Mr Jones said it was very likely COVID-19 will continue to circulate in the community among people with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.

“It is important we all continue to take advantage of our outdoor venues and maintain the COVID-safe practices we have become used to, such as social distancing, good hand hygiene and testing at the appearance of the slightest symptoms,” he said.

“If you feel unwell, stay home and get tested immediately. Get tested on the day you get symptoms – don’t wait to see if they go away.

“Assume it’s COVID-19 until proven otherwise by a test, and remember there is no limit on how many tests you can have.”

Guidelines still recommend for people to wear a mask when using public transport, rideshares and taxis, and in shops, places of worship and other places where you can’t physically distance. When taking taxis or rideshares, commuters should also sit in the back.

Since last Monday, customer check-in at businesses must be completed using electronic methods, such as a QR code.

“If you’re going out and gathering at a hospitality venue, please make sure you always check in by QR code, and if it’s too busy, go somewhere else.

Close-up of a hand holding phone and scanning QR code.
Close-up of a hand holding phone and scanning QR code.

Your best protection against COVID-19 is to do all of the following:

o Keep 1.5 metres apart from people you don’t live with;

o Wash hands regularly;

o Stay home and get tested immediately if unwell;

o Wear a mask if unable to physically distance. Even if you’re wearing a face mask, it’s really important to keep your distance from others, unless you live together.

The four hospital-based testing clinics in Northern NSW Local Health District will remain open seven days a week over the Christmas and New Year period.

As border restrictions continue to ease, and people are able to travel in and out of the region more easily, testing remains one of the most important tools for finding and controlling the virus, even while case numbers are low in NSW.

There have been 61 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents of Northern NSW Local Health District, and it has now been 123 days since the last locally acquired case in the region.