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Here’s what’s changing in NSW from today as a raft of coronavirus restrictions are eased in time for Christmas

Christmas is coming up and, with the further easing of restrictions, NSW residents will finally be able to spread joy after a tumultuous year.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the easing of restrictions last week, in a move aimed at supporting Christmas gatherings.

Travel to Queensland from across NSW is also finally permitted as the sunshine state lifts its border ban on Greater Sydney.

Here’s what’s changing in NSW from today.

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What restrictions have eased today?

Family Christmas parties are on as the number of people allowed to visit a home increases from 20 to 50 — but only if an outdoor space is being used.

If there’s no outdoor area, it’s recommended that numbers don’t exceed 30.

Work Christmas parties could move outdoors this year as up to 50 people can now gather in a public space, like a park — an increase from 30.

a person walking alone in a park.
Up to 50 people can now gather in a public space.(ABC News: Brendon Thorne)

Smaller hospitality venues of up to 200 square metres in size can now have one person per 2 square metres indoors.

But as gatherings increase, the NSW Government has urged caution for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

It reiterated the need for people with even the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms to come forward for testing.

What is changing in time for Christmas?

Several measures to ease restrictions were already brought into play last month.

For outdoor religious services, gatherings of up to 500 people are allowed.

However, the audience must be seated with one person per 2 square metres if seated, and one person per 4 square metres if in an allocated seating area such as on picnic rugs.

For choirs, up to 30 people will be allowed to gather for singing outdoors. Anyone participating in the singing, whether in the choir or audience and aged 12 years or older, must wear a mask.

Up to 3,000 people can attend an outdoor concert, with the same rules as outdoor religious ceremonies for seating arrangements.

In another previously announced change from December 1, the number of people attending funerals can now reach 300.

What’s happening with Queensland?

Sydneysiders can finally go to Queensland!

Flights resumed
Airlines have rapidly reintroduced NSW-Queensland services.(AAP: James Ross)

Qantas and Jetstar will run 1,200 more return flights in the run-up to Christmas.

That means more than 250 return flights will run a week, compared with previous levels of just 36 weekly.

Flights will run again from Sydney to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Cairns, the Sunshine Coast, Proserpine and Townsville.

A Newcastle-Gold Coast service will also operate.

Virgin Australia will also expand its routes to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Hamilton Island and Proserpine, and Newcastle-Brisbane.

It said it has added flights will equate to 65,000 seats by Christmas, including the running of seven Sydney-Brisbane services daily by then.


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