'Big day': Salons, gyms to open up next week
The NSW government has flagged the "imminent" re-opening of gyms and beauty salons as the state over the next two weeks prepares for a landmark easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
"A big day for women in our community, a big day for everybody in the community - beauty salons are open, tanning salons, nail salons, waxing salons - how good is this Sunday?" Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters in a press briefing on Sunday morning.
"We will have them open on 1 June.
"Of all of the requests I've had as Health Minister in the last three months, this has been the one that I think has topped the barrel.
"I've even had text messages in the middle of other meetings, telling me how bad acrylic nails were. I didn't even know there was such a thing as acrylic nails, but I'm very pleased to say that they are now open."
Jokes aside, the Health Minister urged service providers to ensure that social distancing measures and COVID-safe plans were still in place ahead of reopening.
"Before you open on June 1 you must have a COVID-safe plan. Look at what is actually being advised by New South Wales Health and the public health officials and make sure you develop your own," he said.
"It depends on the size of your premises, for example. If you don't have the requisite 4 square metres for each of your clients and if you can't maintain the 1.5 metres social distancing, then obviously you shouldn't have as many people in there as you used to have.
"Your task is to not only deliver the services that people need and want, but also make sure they are kept safe."
The Government remains cautious after three cases of coronavirus were recorded over the preceding 24 hours.
All three were overseas acquired - two from Pakistan and one from the USA - and were already in hotel quarantine meaning they didn't represent a risk of onward infection.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that from June 1, up to 50 people will be allowed in restaurants, pubs and cafes.
Regional travel restrictions will also ease while museums, galleries and libraries will also be allowed to open.
That has been met with a chorus of industries clamouring for the government to allow them to resume trading.
Lobby group Fitness Australia on Saturday called for the Berejiklian government to allow gyms to re-open sooner than pubs, saying they already had a COVID industry framework in place.
"The Government is keen that this state leads the way," Mr Hazzard said. "The premier has made the point that she's being lobbied about half the population on beauty therapists.
"It's front and centre, we're talking to the industry and have to make sure that we can get COVID safe plans and it's imminent that we make some announcements in that regard."
The three cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm Friday came from 8995 tests. Of the state's total 3086 cases, 2653 have recovered.
Mr Hazzard said with patrons soon allowed to return to bars, he was wary of a second wave of infection and urged anyone with the mildest symptoms to undergo testing.
"Just one little symptom of anything that looks like a cough, a cold a flu - go and get tested," Mr Hazzard said.
"With these freedoms come big responsibilities."