explainer

Where do I need to wear a mask? All the new COVID-19 rules for NSW explained.

On Wednesday, NSW recorded 1,360 new cases of COVID-19, the highest number of new infections since September 11.

The spike in infections comes less than two weeks before Christmas, with many NSW residents expressing their concern to Mamamia about the anxiety of COVID-19 in the lead up to festive reunions with family and friends.

Despite the outbreak, restrictions for unvaccinated people were lifted on Wednesday. 

"We're not about to start back flipping on issues we promised," Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Tuesday. 

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Video via Mamamia.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet shared a similar sentiment, saying: "The easing of these restrictions will allow people to get out and enjoy summer, providing a boost for some of our hardest [hit] industries as we do everything we can to ensure we keep people safe as we learn to live with COVID."

With questions swirling over what restrictions are ending or changing from today, here's everything we know.

Restrictions against the unvaccinated are lifted.

Image: Getty. 

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From Wednesday, restrictions will now align for all NSW residents no matter their vaccination status.

All visitors will now be permitted to see residents in aged care facilities and disability homes, in line with their policies.

One of the main restrictions to still be placed upon the unvaccinated is that international travellers who don’t have both jabs will still need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Australia.

Density limits will be scrapped at venues.

Image: Getty. 

The two square metre rule which has plagued the hospitality industry, especially inner-city businesses with a small-sized venues, has now been scrapped. 

The density limits no longer apply for cafes and restaurants across the state, and have also been removed for major seated events, music festivals and private events like weddings or funerals. 

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There will no longer be a set number of visitors you can have to your home, as well as no limit for people allowed at an outdoor gathering. 

It has also been confirmed that singing and dancing will be permitted indoors and outdoors for everyone.

Masks will no longer be mandatory in shops. 

Image: Getty.  

You no longer need to wear a mask in most social settings, such as shopping and hospitality venues. They are also no longer required in outdoor settings. 

Indoor front-of-house unvaccinated hospitality staff are still required to wear a mask. 

Masks will still be required in some circumstances. 

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Face masks are only required in high-risk scenarios. From the NSW Government and Health Department's perspective, these high-risk settings include public transport and planes, at airports, and for unvaccinated front-of-house hospitality staff.

NSW Health does still strongly recommend that masks continue to be worn in rideshare scenarios.

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Check-ins will only be required in high-risk settings.

Image: Getty. 

Check-ins are only required in high-risk settings.

These are considered to be the likes of hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, gyms, places of worship, funerals or memorial services, pubs, small bars and registered clubs, hairdressers and beauty salons.

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You will no longer need to show proof of vaccination.

Given the fact the unvaccinated from Wednesday onwards have their restrictions lifted, proof of vaccination is no longer required for most activities.

Image: Services Australia/Mamamia. 

However, it is important to note the measure could vary based on the vaccination rules set by individual businesses.

Proof of vaccination remains in place for indoor music festivals with more 1000 people and cruises with more than 100 passengers.

Hotel quarantine restrictions lifted for travellers from South Africa. 

On Tuesday, NSW Health announced fully vaccinated arrivals from eight southern African countries of concern, where the Omicron variant of COVID-19 circulated, will no longer have to enter 14 days hotel quarantine.

The countries include South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini and Malawi.

The change to restrictions, which were bought in place from 6am Wednesday, brings all international arrivals under the same requirements. 

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said all fully-vaccinated international arrivals must self-isolate for 72-hours and have a negative result within the first 24 hours of arrival and avoid high-risk settings for a week.

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- With AAP.

This article was originally published on December 14, 2021, and was updated on December 15, 2021.

Feature Image: Getty. 

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