NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging businesses and families to use spring to prepare as the state inches closer to the 70 per cent vaccination rate needed to begin reopening.
“My message strongly during September will be to get ready,” she said on Tuesday.
“If you’re a business, make sure your employees are vaccinated.
“If you’re a citizen make sure yourself, your families, loved ones and friends are vaccinated.
“That’s our ticket to freedom.”
The state recorded 1164 new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, as well as three deaths taking the death toll for the NSW outbreak to 96.
It comes as NSW surpasses two-thirds first-dose vaccination coverage for eligible residents.
The government will restore freedoms to the fully vaccinated at 70 per cent double-dose coverage.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is reportedly working on an economic recovery plan with the private sector to boost economic activity when vaccination targets are reached.
Meanwhile, Local Government NSW President Linda Scott and Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour will hold a media conference on Wednesday.
They say the premier rejected a request on behalf of mayors in 12 COVID-19-impacted local government COVID hotspots to meet and discuss the impacts of lockdown.
A parenting advocacy group is urging the federal government to prioritise vaccination for early educators with nearly 1000 children aged under nine testing positive for COVID in NSW in the past week while 1700 children under five have COVID nationally.
The Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent says there are now 176 early learning services closed nationally.
“Early childhood educators are essential frontline workers. “They do not have the luxury of working from home,” she said.
Meanwhile, the number of returning Australians allowed to fly in to Sydney Airport each week will be halved to 750 to allow health staff to be diverted back to the state’s hospital system.
More than 870 people are hospitalised with COVID-19 across the state, with 143 in intensive care and almost 60 ventilated.
But the toll on the state’s health care system is not due to peak until October.
“At the moment we have thousands of staff looking after our international arrivals, returning Aussies, even though there’s only four cases overnight in hotel quarantine,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“That obviously needs readjustment … we’d rather have our staff working in our ICUs or giving people vaccines.”
Once the state reaches 70 per cent double-dose vaccination – expected around mid-October – the premier hopes to rapidly scale up international arrivals and consider home quarantine options.
The number of infections in the state’s west also continues to grow, with a record 54 new cases reported on Tuesday, and another four detected in Wilcannia in the far west.