How millions of Australians could still be wearing masks at CHRISTMAS even after hitting 95% fully vaccinated – with health authorities set to move the goal posts AGAIN
Masks could remain mandatory in indoor settings in New South Wales even after the state hits the 95 per cent vaccination rate, amid fears infections will spike during the Christmas shopping rush.
NSW is second only to the ACT in vaccination rates in Australia and had just 166 new cases of Covid recorded on Tuesday, but the state government is being urged to keep mask-wearing as part of ongoing pandemic laws.
There are fears the virus could spread significantly in retail settings with millions shopping before Christmas, prompting health officials to make an 11th hour bid to get the face coverings compulsory.
As of Tuesday night, 91.9 per cent of over-16s in the state are vaccinated and 94.4 per cent have at least one dose.
Fears over coronavirus spreading in the lead up to Christmas could see the mask mandate remain indoors even after 95 per cent vaccination rates (pictured, shoppers in Sydney)
Unvaccinated people in NSW will be allowed to enter the same venues as the vaccinated from December 15, something that is prompting some doctors to push for the rule to remain in place, The Daily Telegraph reported.
They are currently required in shops and shopping centres at all times, but can be taken off to eat and drink.
Masks are no longer required in offices but are needed in share spaces including lobbies and lifts.
The state’s health minister said it was ‘understandable’ the rules would remain as other parts of the world experience further outbreaks of coronavirus.
There are fears the virus could spread significantly in retail settings with millions shopping before Christmas, prompting health officials to make an 11th hour bid to get the face coverings compulsory (pictured, shoppers when lockdown restrictions eased)
‘At times like the mad retail rush we’ll see at Black Friday and Christmas it becomes pretty clear why Health will be likely to have continuing concerns,’ Brad Hazzard said.
It’s believed the new premier will face a divided party room over the issue as he looks to continue his popularity with post-lockdown management.
His cabinet will meet to discuss ongoing restrictions and mandates on Thursday, with certain rules expected to fall faster than previously predicted.
‘Any potential changes to the road map will take into account the evolving nature of the pandemic and consider the relevant health, safety and economic advice,’ a spokesman for Dominic Perrottet said.
NSW Health said masks are ‘particularly effective in indoor settings’ and hinted that will be the advice put forward to ministers at the key meeting.
‘Wearing masks in indoor settings and on public transport provides an important layer of protection from Covid-19 transmission, as it does in other settings where physical distancing may not be possible or is difficult,’ a spokeswoman said.
Unvaccinated residents of NSW will be allowed to enter the same venues as the vaccinated from December 15, further increasing the priority to keep mask mandates in place, according to some health officials (pictured, shoppers in Sydney when lockdown ended in October)