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NSW Premier Perrottet announces further lockdown easing with more pool activities set to be allowed

NSW Premier Perrottet announces further lockdown easing with more pool activities set to be allowed
October 7, 2021

Newly appointed NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has today announced an expansion of operations in reopened indoor swimming pools for double vaccinated adults operations in Greater Sydney as of Monday 11th October.

Expanding an announcement from earlier in the week that indoor pools would open for swimming lessons to now include squad training, lap swimming and rehabilitation activities, the move also means that indoor pools in regional NSW that are currently open will not need to close.

Premier Perrottet also went on to advise that changes to NSW’s roadmap out of lockdown will also see the reopening of nightclubs and amusement parks.

On his first full day on the job, Premier Perrottet revealed that NSW had reached the 70% fully vaccinated milestone, a number that had been flagged as the trigger for a major easing of the state’s 14 week lockdown.

With capacity limits in place, the fully vaccinated will be allowed to abandon lockdown restrictions that millions have endured since 26th June.

This means pubs, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and retail stores will reopen as of Monday.

However, amid criticism that some of the lockdown easing may be coming too soon, NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant was noticeably absent from today’s briefing.

The bringing forward of activities in aquatic facilities for children and doubled-vaccinated adults, was welcomed by Australian Swim School Association General Manager, Emily McNeill who advised “over the past few weeks, the Australian Swim School Associations has been calling on the NSW Government and crisis cabinet to allow indoor swimming lessons to open back up before December 1 and we are beyond thrilled to have finally received the news we have been waiting for.

"With indoor swimming lessons returning from Monday, children across NSW will now have access to more than two million additional swimming lessons before summer. 

"The impact this will have on our industry and families with children accessing pools and waterways in the coming months will be momentous.

"While it will take some time for swim school businesses to get back up and running, this is a step in the right direction.

"It's been a challenging few months for swim school businesses to say the least and we look forward to supporting their return through ASSA's Countdown to Summer campaign which focuses on preventing drowning through the safer swimming layers of protection." 

Staffing Challenges
The fuller reopening of aquatic facilities will see centres adjust pool space and put on extra classes to cater for the demand while programming spaces to allow maximum useage within NSW guidelines.

However, with staff having been stood down or redeployed during the lockdown, reports have suggested that, as with other sectors, facilities may face staff shortages.

Advising that staff had moved into other industries that had been less impacted by COVID-19, Belgravia Leisure Area Manager - South West NSW, Scott Vanderheyden told the Sydney Morning Herald “in the last 17 months, the COVID closures and restrictions have meant that only 42 weeks of lessons out of a possible 70 weeks of swimming lessons were conducted. This has meant that swimming teachers have been unable to work for 40% of their time in the last 17 months.”

Fitness and Children’s Indoor Sport and Activities
While the changed NSW Government roadmap will allow children to attend for swimming lessons and squad training and will allow young people aged under 16 (whether vaccinated or not) to visit indoor venues with members of their household, no guidance has been given on children and youth participating in indoor sporting activities such as gymnastics, martial arts and competitions.

Australasian Leisure Management is making further inquiries on this.

There have been no further changes in easing measures for fitness clubs beyond those announced earlier in the week.

Readers with advice or information on this can email: leisure@ausleisure.com.au

Latest NSW Government guidance, applicable from Monday 11th October.

Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms

  • Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2 metre² outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
  • Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4 metre² rule (unvaccinated people will continue to only be able to access critical retail).
  • Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4 metre², capped at five clients per premises.
  • Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4 metre² rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.
  • Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen.

Stadiums, theatres and major outdoor recreation facilities

  • Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4 metre², capped at 5,000 people.
  • Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.
  • Indoor entertainment and information facilities including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4 metre² or 75% fixed seated capacity.
  • Indoor swimming pools open for lessons, squad training, lap swimming and rehab activities only

Travel

  • The 5km radius will be dropped but Sydneysiders can only travel within greater Sydney - including the Central Coast, Wollongong and Blue Mountains.
  • Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.

Non-vaccinated young people aged under 16 will be able to access all outdoor settings but will only be able to visit indoor venues with members of their household. (However, the guidance does not advise whether those under 16 can participate in indoor sporting activities, ed).

Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so.

There will be revised guidance on isolation for close and casual contacts who are fully vaccinated, with details to be provided closer to the reopening date.

Masks

  • Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes and at airports.
  • Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask when outdoors.
  • Children aged under 12 will not need to wear a mask indoors. (Again, the guidance does not advise whether these children can participate in sporting activities while indoors, ed).

Image courtesy of Australian Swim School Association/Vorgee.

Related Articles

7th October 2021 - Exerp explains inclusion of government mandates in fitness clubs’ reopening processes

6th October 2021 - NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet confirms cabinet appointments with few changes in leisure portfolios

6th October 2021 - VIC Active takes political sides in urging fitness sector to back state opposition

4th October 2021 - Revised NSW reopening roadmap will see early opening of indoor pools for lessons

1st October 2021 - Key swimming organisations warn lives at risk if NSW Government keeps indoor pools shut

29th September 2021 - Stepz looks for opening of largest club and end of NSW lockdown

22nd September 2021 - Royal Life Saving announces new partnership program for swim schools

16th September 2021 - Lockdown slows works on Goulburn’s Performing Arts and Aquatic Centres

16th September 2021 - Australia’s ski industry under threat after second winter of COVID-19 lockdowns

13th September 2021 - Aquatic and Recreation Institute charts sector’s roadmap to reopening

9th September 2021 - Carlile Swimming mandates staff vaccination

8th September 2021 - Lockdowns contribute to rise in Australian drowning deaths during past year

6th September 2021 - Dawn Fraser Baths to open this week offering relief during Sydney’s COVID lockdown

3rd September 2021 - 400 delegates from 20 countries dial in to Australian Swim Schools Association’s 2021 Conference

24th August 2021 - Lockdowns see closure of all ski resorts in Australia and New Zealand

9th August 2021 - Y NSW calls on NSW Government to support the survival of community sport, aquatics and recreation sector

7th July 2021 - With swim schools facing permanent closure industry leader calls for learn-to-swim services to be classed as an essential service

6th July 2021 - Majority of employees at contract managed aquatic and recreation centre across Sydney stood down without pay

14th May 2020 - National Aquatic Industry Safety Committee endorses new risk management guidelines for swim schools and aquatic facilities

30th April 2020 - ASSA raises concerns over future of swim schools


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