NSW has for the first time surpassed the one thousand mark, recording 1,029 COVID-19 cases overnight. However there’s also a tiny bit of good news: most people in the state will soon be allowed to have picnics now that over six million jabs have been administered.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian had long promised us some extra freedoms when we hit major vaccination milestones, but as cases continue to climb (not to mention three deaths recorded overnight, including one man in his 30s) those benefits were scaled back to the minor announcement we had today.

From September 13, fully-vaccinated adults outside the 12 Western Sydney LGAs of concern will be allowed to have outdoor gatherings of up to five people, including children.

“Five people will be able to gather outdoors, so long as the adults are vaccinated,” Berejiklian said at the daily coronavirus presser on Thursday morning.

“Obviously if it’s five adults – adults for this purpose is over 18 years of age – all of them will need to be vaccinated.

“So, it means that if you have friends or relatives within your LGA or within the 5km radius, you will be able to congregate together in an outdoor gathering of five, as opposed to just two from different households.”

Allowing people to have small outdoor gatherings is a kind of compromise which balances the high case numbers plaguing NSW with people’s need for social contact.

“We know, and Dr Muarry Wright who is the chief psychiatrist here knows, people coming together is what people miss the most,” Berejiklian added.

“From the various options we looked at, that was the option that met the mental health needs and wellbeing of our community, but also provided the lowest-risk setting.”

For those inside the 12 Western Sydney LGAs of concern, people will be allowed to spend up to one hour outdoors each day for recreation (previously, this was only allowed for exercise).

“Whilst I hope the people of South-Western Sydney and Western Sydney appreciate that, for many, they will go, ‘That’s not much’,” NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

“So, I think, to be perfectly frank, these steps are baby steps, recognising the serious situation we are in.”

NSW is due to get back some more substantial freedoms when 70% of people are fully vaccinated which, according to current data, is estimated to happen around October 23. Then, when 80% of adults are vaccinated, restrictions are set to be eased even further.

Today is a very, very small win. But it’s progress nonetheless.


All adult Aussies (yep, even if those of us under 40) are currently able to get the safe and effective AstraZeneca vaccine through a GP. Click here to see which clinics are offering it, and talk to a doctor to see if it’s right for you.

Alternatively, you can triple-check to see if you’re eligible for the Pfizer vaccine here.

The best vaccine is the first one you can get, and that’ll be our ticket out of this mess.

Image: Getty Images