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Byron Shire
October 16, 2021

Sneetches with stars and Sneetches behind bars

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Sneetches with Stars: it’s your day to be free. Image Theodor Seuss Geise.

Apart from the fact that some people have a valid reason for not being fully or even partially vaccinated, today, the precious lambs become sheep and the others are goats, that is, Sneetches with stars and Sneetches behind bars.

Even though the NSW government has a page full of what you can and can’t do (if you are a barred Sneetch), it’s still not really clear.

Try as The Echo might, with numerous emails and texts to the relevant people who constantly send us their contact information, it’s not really truly clear.

The NSW Health page entitled Rules and restrictions for all people in NSW who are not fully vaccinated actually starts like this:

‘From 11 October 2021, new rules are in place for fully vaccinated people in NSW.’

It appears if you are not vaccinated, you need to know the rules about the people who are. The page continues…

‘You are fully vaccinated if you have had 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccination or you have a medical exemption.

‘Children under 16 years of age who are not fully vaccinated can generally follow the rules for fully vaccinated people so long as they visit certain businesses with a fully vaccinated member of your household.

‘For people over the age of 16 who are not fully vaccinated, more rules and restrictions apply.’

Nothing to this point about being un-vaccinated. Then the explanation:

You are not fully vaccinated if you have had:

  • only one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or
  • no doses of a COVID-19 vaccination.

No side note about whose fault it is that you have only had one dose – maybe a half reprieve? Nothing about if you have a good reason to be only half vaxed because the government has not enough supplies, or time, or services to get you vaxed. AND heaven help some poor teenagers who have been tip-toeing through the HSC minefield and have not had the time or resources to get the jab.

A complete debacle

Labor’s Member for Richmond Justine Elliot says that for months, she has been calling for more vaccines for the region.  ‘It’s a complete debacle. I’m getting heaps of calls, emails and Facebook messages too. So many people are rightly concerned about not being able to go to shops and get services because they’ve only got one vax or no vax – yet staff can work with one vax.

‘It’s all because of the lack of supply for us over months and months.

‘Ever since Scott Morrison bungled the rollout and the NSW Liberal-Nationals Government decided to divert our local supplies to Sydney, we warned that there would be devastating consequences for our region. Now, the reality is about to hit.’

Mrs Elliot says that because the National Party’s chaotic roadmap is so focused on Sydney, from today, Monday October 11, up to 60 per cent of people on the North Coast will be barred from accessing retail, services, restaurants, pubs and clubs and other businesses – simply because they weren’t able to be fully vaccinated in time because the National Party in both state and federal governments didn’t secure them for us.’

Are we being punished?

Mrs Elliot says we are being punished because the Nationals’ chaotic and reckless Sydney-centric roadmap considers that we have had enough time to be fully vaccinated. ‘Even though we didn’t have enough vaccines. And don’t even try to say it’s because of hesitancy – now, with vaccines finally arriving, first dose rates are approaching 90 per cent locally.

‘But because we haven’t been able to get the second dose – with rates as low as 41.6 per cent in some areas – many people will be locked out of venues, even though the workers in these venues can work if they’re had one vaccination, the customers themselves have to be fully vaccinated by today.’

‘While that webpage outlines some of the conditions – it’s still is very confusing. It’s also very Sydney centric – like everything this Government does.’

The rest of the page, again, isn’t quite clear but here goes:

Masks – All people over the age of 12 must wear a face mask:

  • in indoor areas (e.g. while shopping, when at a library).
  • in indoor areas of common property of apartment buildings.
  • at a public transport waiting area.
  • while on public transport.
  • if you are working at a hospitality venue and dealing directly with members of the public.
  • on an aircraft when the aircraft is flying above NSW and in the airport.

Exemptions are available.

COVID-19 check-in

Occupiers of premises are required to continue to take reasonable steps to ensure people can check-in or provide their contact details to when they enter your premises.

If you are entering a premises where check-in is required, you must:

  • check in with the Service NSW app
  • provide your details to the occupier of the premises.

Vaccination evidence (I thought this was a page about NOT being vaxed)

Vaccination evidence includes:

  • an online immunisation history statement
  • a COVID-19 digital certificate from the Australian Immunisation Register
  • a medical exemption, which includes either:
         ◦ a medical contraindication certificate or
         ◦ a medical clearance form.

The NSW government is working to ensure you can access your vaccination evidence in the Service NSW app.

A person who is required to be fully vaccinated to enter premises must:

  • Carry their vaccination evidence (their stars).
  • Produce the evidence if requested to do so by a police officer or authorised officer.

If you are required to be fully vaccinated to enter a premises, you may be asked to produce your vaccination evidence by the occupier. We encourage you to comply with an occupier’s request.

You do not have to produce your vaccination evidence to the occupier, however, the occupier may refuse entry to you if you do not produce your vaccination evidence.

Back to the Sneetches behind bars

Some Sneetches have Stars. Others don’t. Image Theodor Seuss Geise.

Greens candidate for Richmond, Mandy Nolan says that in this area we haven’t had adequate access to vaccines. ‘There’s a big equity issue here and now our region is being subjected to the same roadmap when we’ve been in incredibly different circumstances.

Ms Nolan says the Mayor of Tweed, the Member for Ballina and the Member for Tweed have asked for us to stay as we are until the end of October. ‘I back this. It seems like the Sydney roadmap is all about Sydney because they’ve been in lockdown for so long.

‘Yesterday, people up here could go to a cafe. Sydney is in a very different position. We’ve been able to do those things and it seems ridiculous that today we’ve lost those freedoms when we simply haven’t had vaccine supply.

‘I join the regional MPs who have called for common sense. It’s disappointing that we don’t have regional modelling. Meanwhile we are on track to get to 80 per cent fully vaxed by the end of October.’

Ms Nolan says the regional taskforce advocated for the staff of local businesses to get their first vaccination which will help keep our businesses open. ‘But we’re still playing catch up. It is incredibly unfair for businesses who have been doing it tough. It’s also very confusing for the community. It may harden vaccine-hesitant people because on Sunday they were allowed to go to a cafe with a mask whereas yesterday, in Sydney they weren’t allowed to.’

The rest of the information page seems to be telling those who are, in effect, in lockdown – about what they can, or really, can’t do:

Visiting family and friends

The rules for visiting a place of residence have changed.

If you are over the age of 16 years and are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit another person’s place of residence, except in limited circumstances.

You can visit someone at their home, and have someone visit your home for the purposes of:

  • work
  • helping someone move house
  • childcare
  • giving effect to new or existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children or siblings for children who do not live in the same household as a parent or sibling of the child
  • because of an emergency or to avoid an injury, illness or risk of harm
  • to view or inspect property to lease or purchase it, (as yes, the real estate Sneetches) but only in compliance with specific rules on property inspections
  • caring or compassionate reasons.

Anyone under the age of 16 who is not fully vaccinated is not subject to these restrictions and may:

  • visit homes if everyone in the home aged 16 years and older is fully vaccinated; and
  • be visited in their homes if everyone aged 16 years and older in their home is is fully vaccinated.

Caring and compassionate visits

If you are not fully vaccinated you are allowed to visit a home – and have a person visit your home – for caring and compassionate reasons including:

  • for carer’s responsibilities
  • providing care or assistance to vulnerable people
  • visiting a person you are in a relationship with but do not live with.

Sport and exercise

General rules

Sport and exercise options are significantly greater for people who are fully vaccinated.

People who are fully vaccinated (why do the Sneetches with Stars keep appearing on this page?) can participate in an outdoor public gathering of up to 30 people.

If you are not fully vaccinated you can participate in a gathering for sport or exercise with one other person or with your household.

Gyms and indoor recreation facilities, such as a squash court, table tennis centre, health studio, bowling alley, and ice rink can open.

If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit a gym or indoor recreation facility.

Recreation facilities

Recreation facilities such as zoos, aquariums, sports stadiums, showgrounds, racecourses, motor racing tracks and theme parks, can open.

If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit a recreation facility.

Outdoor gatherings

Up to 30 people can participate in an outdoor gathering, for example, for outdoor recreation such as a picnic.

If you are not fully vaccinated you can gather with one other person or with your household.

Outdoor events

Outdoor events and gatherings can take place in NSW

if you are not fully vaccinated you cannot attend an outdoor event.

Schools

Schools can open and teaching can resume face-to-face.

Follow the rules for schools at the Department of Education.

Shopping and personal services

Premises that remain closed

The following businesses and premises in NSW must remain closed to the public:

  • amusement centres, such as places to play billiards, pool, pinball machines or video games
  • play centres
  • nightclubs
  • sex services premises
  • sex on premises venues
  • strip clubs
  • public swimming pools in indoor areas, except if they are used to conduct swimming lessons, lap swimming, squad training and rehabilitation activities.

Retail, products and services

Retail premises and businesses that provide goods or services can open and resume in store services to customers.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you can only visit critical retail premises. These are:

  • supermarkets
  • grocery stores
  • shops that mainly sell food or drinks, like butchers, bakeries, fruit and vegetable shops, and delicatessens
  • kiosks
  • petrol stations
  • banks and financial institutions
  • hardware and building supplies
  • landscaping material supplies
  • rural supplies
  • shops that mainly sell: pet supplies, newspapers, magazines or stationary (for example, newsagents), office supplies, maternity or baby supplies, medical or pharmaceutical supplies (for example, chemists), alcohol (for example, liquor stores)
  • post offices
  • garden centres and plant nurseries
  • vehicle hire businesses but not businesses that sell vehicles
  • shops that mainly carry out repairs of mobile phones
  • laundromats and drycleaners.

For any other retail premises, or a business that provides goods or services, you can only visit these premises if the business chooses to offer Click-and-Collect.

If you visit critical retail premises, you must:

  • check in with the Service NSW app or provide your contact details to the occupier
  • follow the face mask rules.

Hairdressers, beauty salons and massage premises

Hairdressers, spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlours and massage parlours can open.

If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit a retail hairdresser, beauty salon or massage premises.

Restaurants and hospitality

Hospitality premises, such as casinos, restaurants, cafes, function centres, food courts, take away food and drink premises, kiosks, micro-breweries or small distilleries, cellar doors, pubs, registered clubs, and small bars can re-open to customers to consume food and beverages on premises.

If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit a hospitality venue except for take away.

Construction and renovations

Construction and renovations across NSW can commence or continue.

The rules for construction sites are the same whether you are fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

You can enter a construction site in NSW.

You must check in with the Service.NSW app or provide your contact details to the occupier of the site and follow the face mask rules.

For rules about renovations, repairs, maintenance and cleaning at your home, follow the rules for visitors to a home.

Work

The rules for work change on Monday 11 October 2021:

  • a travel registration is not required
  • you can work anywhere in NSW
  • if a workplace can open, it may need to follow the rules for COVID-19 Safe Check in
  • vaccination rules for business may apply. The vaccination rules for business are different for businesses in Greater Sydney and regional and rural NSW
  • Follow the face mask rules,

If you live in Greater Sydney and are not fully vaccinated (Greater Sydney includes the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Shellharbour and Wollongong Local Government Areas. If you are not fully vaccinated your employer must require you to work from home unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so.)

  • If you are not fully vaccinated and it is not reasonably practicable for you to work from home, you can go to work, so long as it is not at a business re-opening at 70%.

If you live in regional and rural NSW and are not fully vaccinated:

  • if you have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine your employer must allow you to work from home if is reasonably practicable to do so.
  • If you have not had any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, you must work from home if it is reasonably practicable to do so. Your employer must require you to work from home unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so.
  • If you have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and you are required to attend your place of work you can go to work. From 1 November 2021, you must be fully vaccinated to go work.
  • If you have not had any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and it is not reasonably practicable to work from home, you cannot go to work if you are required to be vaccinated.

If you work as an:

  • aged care worker
  • education and care worker
  • health care worker
  • airport worker
  • disability and early childhood care worker
  • quarantine worker
  • transport provider.

Requirements to be fully vaccinated before performing your job continue to apply. Follow the rules for vaccination for workers.

Events and entertainment

Entertainment facilities

Entertainment facilities, such as a cinema, theatre, musical hall, concert hall, dance hall, or drive-in cinemas, can open.

If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit an entertainment facility.

Weddings and religious ceremonies

Weddings

Weddings in NSW may have up to 100 people who are fully vaccinated.

All people at a wedding must be seated while consuming food and drink. Dancing is permitted.

People who live in Greater Sydney (including Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Shellharbour or Wollongong local government areas) can attend a wedding anywhere in:

•Greater Sydney

•Regional and rural NSW, only if they are the parent, child, or sibling of one of the people getting married.

People who live in regional and rural NSW can attend a wedding anywhere in NSW.

If you are not fully vaccinated you can only attend a small wedding service.

A small wedding service is a wedding with up to 11 people attending, being:

•the people getting married

•the person marrying them

•two witnesses

•a person to record the service

•5 guests.

Funerals and memorial services

Funerals and memorial services in NSW may have up to 100 people.

Do not attend a funeral or memorial service if there are more than 100 people in attendance.

All people at a funeral or memorial service must be seated while consuming food and drink. Dancing is permitted.

People who live in Greater Sydney (including Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Shellharbour or Wollongong local government areas) can attend a funeral or memorial service anywhere in:

•Greater Sydney

•Regional and rural NSW, only if they are the spouse, de facto partner, parent, child, or sibling of the deceased person.

People who live in regional and rural NSW can attend a funeral or memorial service anywhere in NSW.

If you are not fully vaccinated you can only attend a small funeral or memorial service.

A small funeral or memorial service is a funeral or memorial with up to 10 people attending, not including the person conducting the service and anyone necessary for the conduct of the service.

Places of worship

A place of worship can open to members of the public.

If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot attend a place of worship.

Travel and transport

Sharing a vehicle and carpooling

Rules for sharing a vehicle have changed.

If you are not fully vaccinated you can only travel in a vehicle with people you live with. You are only allowed to share a car with a person you do not live with if it is:

•an emergency

•for a compassionate reason

•to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person

•a car being used as a taxi or rideshare.

•required to use a vehicle for your work

•to provide a public transport service.

For children under the age of 16 who are not fully vaccinated, you can travel in a vehicle with another person you do not live with. You do not have to carry or produce evidence of your name and address.

Vessels

Rules for sharing a vessel have changed.

If you are not fully vaccinated you can only travel in a vessel with people you live with. You are only allowed to share a vessel with a person you do not live with if it is:

•an emergency

•for a compassionate reason

•to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person

•a car being used as a taxi or rideshare

•required to use a vehicle for your work

•to provide a public transport service.

For children under the age of 16 who are not fully vaccinated, you can travel in a car with another person you do not live with. You do not have to carry or produce evidence of your name and address.

Holidays and holiday homes or recreational regional visits

People in Greater Sydney cannot travel beyond Greater Sydney for a holiday or recreational visits including day-trips.

Greater Sydney includes the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Shellharbour and Wollongong local government areas (see map).

People outside of Greater Sydney cannot enter Greater Sydney for a holiday or recreational visits including day-trips.

If you are not fully vaccinated you can use a holiday home or short-term accommodation with people who are from your household.

If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot take a holiday outside the local government area you live in.

So, whether this is your ‘opening up’ day or your ‘loss of freedom’ day, I wish you all the best working out the rules and maybe by December 1, we will have worked it out.

Either way – we can all be friends again in seven weeks.

Image Theodor Seuss Geise.

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SNEETCHES, VISIT: www.drseussart.com.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the great belly laugh i enjoyed when i read having to put on a mask when flying over NSW… Brisbane-Melb a bit of flying interstate fun…

  2. I, however, am fully vaccinated,
    I applied at my GP’s in March as I am in category A1 and last Friday received my second dose of the vaccine, that is reserved for the old and expendable.
    ….BUT , for at least the next month I will maintain strict lock-down and wait for the huge rebound in covid infection and death numbers to force the Governments involved to reassess their willingness to sacrifice citizens on the alter of their business interests, in the lead up to an election round.
    The idiots will be out and about now, believing that vaccination will protect them, and somehow magically they, nor their children won’t contract or spread this ever more contagious and deadly plague .
    Ignore the Government and maintain the safest of practices, as they have other agendas. G”)

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