NSW is moving closer towards normality with Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing 50 people will be allowed in cafes, clubs and restaurants from June 1.
The move comes with strict conditions however with eateries permitted to adhere to the four-square-metre rule and will not be able to accept bookings of more than 10 people. Patrons must also be seated inside the venue
Deputy Premier John Barilaro described the change as the state’s “happy hour” and urged residents ”wine and dine” to help get the hospitality industry back on its feet.
It comes just hours after the state’s COVID-19 death toll has once again risen after an elderly woman passed away overnight as three new cases of the disease spark concerns of aew cluster outbreak.
The 80-year-old woman became the 48th person in the state to die from the disease after falling ill as an outpatient at a medical clinic. She passed away in Concord Hospital overnight.
The elderly woman contracted the disease three weeks ago while being treated at an outpatient clinic at Concord Hospital.
She had been staying at the hospital sick with the disease ever since. Dr Chant said it was not known who she caught the disease from – but reassured the community there was no risk of further transmission.
“The exact mechanisms of transmission are unclear but it was from contact with a known case in a clinical setting attached to the hospital,” Dr Chant said.
“She has been sick for some time.”
The new death comes as three cases of the virus were detected. NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said it was unclear how the infections emerged – raising concerns new clusters of the disease have emerged.
“They are all under investigation and we are considering they were locally-acquired. There’s no clear-cut linkages between the cases.
“We are undertaking further investigations and will announce further details today in relation to any action we need to take as a community.”
The new infections come as testing rates continue to soar with 8,600 people getting swabbed for the virus.
The state has now hit a milestone, with more than 400,000 people tested for the disease since the outbreak began.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian described high testing rates as “critical” to the state’s success in lifting lockdown measures and has again encouraged people to get tested for the disease and pleaded with anyone who is sick to stay home.
$5 BILLION INFRASTRUCTURE BOOST
The state’s infrastructure sector is set to get a $5b injection with the NSW Government fast-tracking another 24 planning projects to re-open the economy as COVID-19 restrictions lift.
Planning minister Rob Stokes said the new projects are anticipated to generate 15,000 new jobs, 3,600 new homes as well as retail spaces.
“These projects include some big ones like the Sydney Fish Markets, a new hospital in the Tweed and three new schools,” Mr Stokes said.
“This is all about setting a pipeline of projects to set us up for recovery …(We want to) give hope for people now and into the future.”
Mr Stokes said projects were chosen on the basis of how many jobs they create, if they are able to be developed in the next six months and if they provide public and private benefits.
“The Mamre Road project alone creates opportunities for more than 5,250 jobs and it will happen sooner because the NSW Government hasre-allocated planning resources to assess these projects faster,” he said.
“Our first tranche of 24 projects delivered more than 10,000 jobs and $7.7 billion in economic benefit to our State but it’s important to recognise these are just the projects we’ve prioritised.”
The projects include a specialised retail centre at Eastern Creek, a waste recycling facility in Girraween, new public open space in St Peters and an expansion of the Cumberland State Forest.
Premiere Gladys Berejiklian said it was crucial for the government to focus on creating and securing jobs as well as managing the health aspect of the pandemic.
“NSW is streets – and roads and homes and hospitals and schools – ahead of every other State in providing new jobs, economic growth, infrastructure and services for our people,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“This health crisis only sharpens our focus and energy as we bring forward the NSW Government’s unprecedented infrastructure spend and create an environment where private and government investment combine to help us rebound from the pandemic together.”
Ms Berejiklian confirmed that her ministers would not get a pay rise in the 2020 financial year.
“90 per cent of the people who are not employed by the state government have had a very, verydifficult time. Given that’s what’s going on at the moment it’s only appropriate for us as elected officials to empathise,” she said.