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Sydney could be freed from lockdown a week earlier due to vaccination rates

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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.’

Millions of locked down Sydneysiders could be freed a week earlier than planned if surging vaccination rates continue to climb

Millions of locked down Sydneysiders could be freed a week earlier than planned if surging vaccination rates continue to climb

Sydney residents could be freed from a lengthy lockdown as early as October 11 as long as vaccination rates continue to grow

Sydney residents could be freed from a lengthy lockdown as early as October 11 as long as vaccination rates continue to grow

Once 70 per cent of the population is vaxxed, residents will be able to return to the pub, go shopping, travel and visit the gym among other freedoms

Once 70 per cent of the population is vaxxed, residents will be able to return to the pub, go shopping, travel and visit the gym among other freedoms

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 venues.

Residents will need to prove they’re vaccinated either by a digital certificate on their smartphones or a paper copy confirming they’ve had both doses. 

Just over 48 per cent of adults in NSW have so far received both doses of the jab while 80 per cent have received one dose. 

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.

Although official approval is yet to be awarded, Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club are expected to get the rubber stamp from Ms Berejiklian in coming days, Nine News reported. 

A crowd of 5000 double-dosed spectators will be permitted to attend, with race-goers to scan in using NSW’s soon-to-be revealed Covid vaccine passport system.

Just over 48 per cent of adults in NSW have so far received both doses of the jab

Just over 48 per cent of adults in NSW have so far received both doses of the jab

'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

‘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

The first big ticket event in post-lockdown Sydney will be Australia’s richest horse race – The Everest. Pictured: Race-goers at The Everest in 2019

Organisers have lobbied the state government to hold the lavish event on October 16 at Royal Randwick Racecourse (pictured)

Organisers have lobbied the state government to hold the lavish event on October 16 at Royal Randwick Racecourse (pictured)

Huge pre-pandemic crowds are pictured at The Everest at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney on 2019

Huge pre-pandemic crowds are pictured at The Everest at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney on 2019

COUNTDOWN TO FREEDOM: THE DATES YOU NEED TO KNOW

September 11: Some regional areas set free

Several regional areas including the Mid and North Coast, New England, Riverina and Murrumbidgee, will emerge from lockdown at 11.59pm on Friday after almost a month of living under stay-at-home orders.  

September 13: Vax picnics

Fully-vaccinated Sydneysiders will soon be able to enjoy picnics in the sun.

The ‘vax picnic’ rule means anyone living outside the 12 LGAs of concern can meet in a group of five for a picnic, but all must be double-jabbed.

October 4:

Pubs and restaurants in regional areas of NSW are set to trial the state government’s vaccine passport technology that will allow double-dossed residents to prove their vaccination status when scanning into a venue using QR Code.

October 18: ‘Freedom Day’

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The date is likely to coincide with NSW reaching a 70 per cent vaccination rate which means pubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms and hair salons could reopen under the one person per 4sq/m rule to the fully-vaccinated only.

Non-essential shops would also be allowed to reopen. 

Wedding and funerals would also go ahead but there will be limits on guests. 

Venues such as night clubs however will not be included until higher vaccination rates are achieved. 

Late October/Early November: Regional holidays begin 

Once vaccination target reach 80 per cent, which could come as soon as late October, cooped-up Sydneysiders, including those in the city’s 12 LGAs of concern, will soon be able to pack their bags for a domestic holiday. 

But travellers will need to be double-dosed and apply for a special travel permit under the Service NSW app.  

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.’ 

Punters watch in fascinators at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney in 2020

Punters watch in fascinators at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney in 2020

Pictured: Kerrin McEvoy on Classique Legend wins race 7 the TAB Everest during Sydney Racing at Royal Randwick Racecourse on October 17, 2020

Pictured: Kerrin McEvoy on Classique Legend wins race 7 the TAB Everest during Sydney Racing at Royal Randwick Racecourse on October 17, 2020

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 vaccine passport system. Pictured: The Everest in 2019

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 vaccine passport system. Pictured: The Everest in 2019

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.

Sydney will emerge from its gruelling lockdown, now in its 13th week, when the state's vaccination rate hits 70 per cent. Pictured: A couple at The Everest in 2018

Sydney will emerge from its gruelling lockdown, now in its 13th week, when the state’s vaccination rate hits 70 per cent. Pictured: A couple at The Everest in 2018

The Everest horse-racing event was able to go ahead in 2020 despite coronavirus fears

The Everest horse-racing event was able to go ahead in 2020 despite coronavirus fears

Only the fully vaccinated will be allowed to attend the glamorous event on October 16

Only the fully vaccinated will be allowed to attend the glamorous event on October 16

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. 

Pictured: NSW MP Victor Dominello shows what the vaccine passport app will look like

Pictured: NSW MP Victor Dominello shows what the vaccine passport app will look like

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