News State New South Wales NSW eases outdoor dining rules as authorities confirm seven locally acquired cases
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NSW eases outdoor dining rules as authorities confirm seven locally acquired cases

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The state government says easing the rules will be good for businesses, and customers. Photo: Getty
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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced the easing of restrictions on outdoor dining and events as the state records seven new locally acquired coronavirus infections.

Ms Berejiklian said businesses using an electronic QR code to maintain customer records will be allowed one patron for every two square metres in outdoor areas.

“While we are concerned with the emerging clusters we do feel confident enough that from Friday, outdoor venues will be able to have two square metres outside, in preparation for summer,” she said.

Indoor restrictions will remain at four square metres.

Up to 500 people will be allowed to attend outdoor seated music performances, subject to the four-square-metre rule.

The state government said the easing of these restrictions would “make a huge difference to the ambience of Sydney”.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said arts, recreation and hospitality were “some of the hardest hit industries” during the pandemic, which has seen a reduction of up to 14 per cent between March and September.

nsw virus zero fourth day
Picnics in the park have been back on the agenda for several weeks in NSW.

The easing of restriction comes as health authorities recorded seven new locally acquired coronavirus infections, including a disability support worker in south-west Sydney.

Two of the new locally acquired cases are GPs who worked at the A2Z Medical Centre in Lakemba, in Western Sydney.

Those infections were announced on Monday afternoon and there is still no link to a known cluster at this point.

The other five locally acquired cases were members of the same household in south-west Sydney.

They have been identified as part of the ongoing investigation into four previously reported unlinked cases, including a nurse from St Vincent’s Hospital.

NSW Health said one of the household cases was a disability support worker who had shifts at three small group homes in the region.

Authorities are undertaking contact tracing with seven clients and their staff.

One of the cases also attended the Great Beginnings Oran Park childcare centre on October 1, 2, 8, and 9 while infectious.

The centre was closed on Tuesday for cleaning and contact tracing.

There were also six returning overseas travellers who were diagnosed in hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of cases in NSW to 4106.

Tuesday was also first time since the Melbourne outbreak that NSW has identified more infections than Victoria, which recorded 12 new cases and one death on the same day.

The latest figures came as the Tasmanian government continued to mull over whether it will open its borders to travellers from NSW next week.

The island state, which was the first Australian state to close its borders in the face of the pandemic, announced it would be open to “low-risk jurisdictions” including South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory and the ACT from October 26.

However, no decision has been made on NSW.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation in NSW closely,” Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said on Tuesday.

He said numbers of COVID-19 infections in NSW were “very low” for such a large state, but that public health advice was to wait another week to make a final decision.