Fully vaccinated NSW residents will be able to use a quick flash of an app to gain special entry to venues once the state starts reopening – likely within weeks.
The NSW government is working on an update to the Service NSW app which combines QR code check-ins with vaccination status, so the fully vaccinated can easily check into venues.
“Don’t be left behind when we start opening up … when we open up at 70 per cent double dose, it will be only for those who are vaccinated,” Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.
“There’s time now to get your first dose and fit in your second dose before NSW starts opening up.
“If people want to enjoy the things we have missed such as a meal or [attending] any other venue, they’re going to have been vaccinated.”
NSW had another 1220 local cases of COVID-19 and eight further deaths on Tuesday. It came after modelling suggested Australia’s worst-affected council areas could have as many as 2000 cases a day next week, when the state’s devastating Delta outbreak is expected to peak.
October 14 is being widely reported as a potential date for some NSW venues, including pubs and restaurants to be allowed to reopen.
Ms Berejiklian refused to confirm that on Tuesday, saying only that “we are looking forward to hitting 70 per cent double dose in October”.
More than 41 per cent of NSW residents aged over 16 are now fully jabbed.
A handful of freedoms for the fully vaccinated will begin in the state from next week. Further freedoms will be restored at 80 per cent double-dose coverage.
From September 13 those who live in the 12 local government areas of most concern will be able to leave home for an hour of recreation (which includes picnics) with their household members. Those who live outside the hotspot council areas will be able to gather outdoors with up to five people from different households (including children).
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said police would check the vaccination status of residents.
“You need to be able to prove you have been vaccinated. That’s part of the conditions of having those freedoms that you’ve got to be able to prove if you’re pulled up by police,” he said on Tuesday.
The MyGov and Medicare apps already have that function. But the state government is also working on boosting its Services NSW app for a one-click approach. Ms Berejiklian said its aim was to be a “one-stop shop” on people’s phones.
“The system NSW is developing means when you check into a cafe or a restaurant your QR code will show your vaccination status and the check-in capacity in the one app,” she said.
“What already exists is anyone can go through the Medicare website and download a proof of vaccination. That is what people are asked to do when they’re going out for a picnic or gathering outdoors, as we’ve indicated from next Monday.”
Customer Services Minister Victor Dominello has shared a sneak peek at what the updated app would look like.
It shows a user signed in to a cafe, with a green tick next to their name and the word “vaccinated” in green.
It also shows two dependents signed in with the user, with orange highlighting the words: “Proof of vaccination needed.”
Also on Tuesday, however, chief health officer Kerry Chant said double-dose coverage for NSW residents older than 50 and 70 remained too low, despite long-standing vaccine eligibility.
Federal health data showed 58.41 per cent of those over 50 in NSW were fully vaccinated as of Monday, and 67.81 per cent of those aged over 70.
Dr Chant said she believed vaccination coverage in NSW could easily surpass 80 per cent by next week and potentially hit 90 per cent.
“Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I actually think we can,” she said.
There are more than 1150 COVID-19 patients in NSW in hospital, with 192 people in intensive care beds and 75 people ventilated.
It comes after modelling from the Burnet Institute shows hospitalisations in NSW will peak in October before intensive care capacity is placed under the greatest strain in November.