A mask mandate and other snap coronavirus restrictions have been lifted across northern NSW after the fourth day of no community transmission.
About 200,000 residents in the region have been required to don masks in most indoor public areas and limit house gatherings to no more than 30 since last Wednesday.
The restrictions, which also forced the cancellation of Bluesfest, were rolled back at 11.59pm on Monday.
“NSW Health reminds the community that the ending of these temporary restrictions has no impact on the self-isolation requirements for the large number of people in these areas who are close contacts,” the health department said in a statement on Monday.
“They must continue to isolate for the full 14 days from their date of exposure and get tested again at the end of this period.”
The restrictions were imposed after NSW diagnosed its first COVID case linked to clusters in south-east Queensland.
The man in his 20s caught the virus at a Byron Bay hotel, with the resulting restrictions affected the local government areas of Byron, Ballina, Lismore and Tweed Heads.
The infection was traced to two women who had travelled from Queensland to Byron Bay for a hen’s party.
Testing increased 10-fold in the region after the outbreak was confirmed.
“These efforts have provided us with the confidence to lift the restrictions, but we are still in a period of increased risk and we urge the community to remain vigilant for the next week,” NSW Health said.
Though no longer mandatory, mask-wearing is still strongly recommended by the health authority in public indoor settings, particularly those where physical distancing is difficult.
Some 7973 tests were reported in the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday, slightly up on the 6249 in the previous day.
Three overseas-acquired cases were recorded in hotel quarantine.