Local News

What Does The Lifting Of COVID-19 Restrictions Mean For The Illawarra

NSW Roadmap To Recovery

The following information is taken directly from the NSW Government website. Please note that information is changing quickly, so we ask you to refer directly with the source for final confirmation of the roadmap to recovery. 


Updated 17 October 2021


Wowsers – we’ve hit 80% double vaxxed in NSW which means a few more restrictions are lifted, starting from Monday 18 October, 2021. 

What does that mean for us? And what are the latest restrictions to lift? 

  • Community sport will resume
  • No cap on guests at weddings and funerals
  • Masks no longer required in offices
  • Drinking while standing and dancing will be permitted indoors and outdoors at hospitality venues
  • Up to 20 people allowed to gather at home
  • All premises still operating at 1 person per 4sqm indoors and 1 person per 2sqm outdoors


Remember, this is for fully vaccinated NSW residents only. 


Also on 15 October at 9am, the Deputy Premier Paul Toole announced that travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW for the fully vaccinated would not be allowed until 1 November. So it’s just us and other regional visitors in the Highlands for another couple of weeks. 


On 7 October at 9am, the new NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet announced a range of changes to the 70% and 80% roadmap. 

Please note: these are applicable to fully vaccinated residents of NSW.

Here are the changes that have been made as of 11 October [70% fully vaxxed rate]: 

  • Increasing the number of adults allowed to gather in homes from 5 to 10
  • Increasing the number of adults allowed to gather in public spaces from 20 to 30
  • Increasing the capacity of people allowed at weddings and funerals from 50 to 100
  • Indoor pools can open

Here are the changes that have been made to the 25 October reopening rules [80% fully vaxxed rate]: 

  • Face mask in office buildings optional
  • Increasing the number of adults allowed to gather in homes from 10 to 20
  • Increasing the number of adults allowed to gather in public spaces from 30 to 50
  • Nightclubs will re-open but no dancing
  • Allowing 3000 people to attend ticketed outdoor events. 

There’s been a change to the roadmap for the return to school too: 

  • Monday 18 October : Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12 will return
  • Monday 25 October: All remaining years will return. 


We have a roadmap, people! 

On 27 September, the NSW government announced a roadmap out of lockdown for the state. 


How does it affect us here in the Illawarra? 

Well, we have some dates to work towards and can now see a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. 

These graphics below [scroll down] are the best representation of the roadmap that we’ve found. 

Unfortunately, the Shellharbour LGA has been lumped back in with Greater Sydney due to the increase in Covid numbers in the area [stay safe, people]. 

What does that mean? Residents of both the Wollongong and Shellharbour LGA’s can’t travel to regional NSW [for non-essential reasons] until the state hits 80% double vaxxed. 

BUT the good news is that from 11 October,  hospitality, retail stores, hairdressers [praise be!] and nail salons can open with some CovidSafe restrictions in place – see the graphics below. 

Gyms are open to help us work off those extra lockdown pounds – oops! 

And cinemas and theatres can open up! 

Some facilities like libraries and schools will remain closed for now – schools will open on 25 October. There’ll be a few parents on a countdown for THAT one, that’s for sure! 

Weddings are back on the agenda and the amount of people allowed at funerals has increased. 

We’re all still masking up indoors but can whip them off outdoors – yay! 

We’re almost there, guys!

The Fold Illawarra Covid NSW Roadmap to Recovery Guidelines
The Fold Illawarra NSW COvid Roadmap to Recovery
The Fold Illawarra When Will Schools Open
The Fold Illawarra Covid NSW Roadmap



For all of the up to date information on the latest restrictions, please visit the NSW Government website.

The below information was last updated on Thursday 9 September, 2021 with information from NSW Government.


Current stay-at-home orders will be extended across all of Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains and Wollongong until the end of September 2021.

As of Monday 23 August, Shellharbour becomes part of Regional NSW rules which can be found here.  


Bubble buddies!

From 12 noon on 21 September, people aged 18 years and over can create a bubble of three friends and visit each other’s homes for play and activity. 

Here’s the dealio: 

  • Each child can have two designated friends come to their house. These two friends must always be the same, creating a 3-person ‘friends bubble’
  • Friends CAN’T be a member of another social bubble
  • All people older than 18 years in all households must be fully vaxxed
  • The friends must reside within 5km of each other or in the same LGA
  • If parents/carer are dropping children off, they must not stay to interact with other parents or carers. 



Changes to stay at home orders as of 9 September

On 9 September 2021, the NSW Government announced parts of Regional NSW will come out of lockdown which meant Shellharbour and Kiama had a shot at getting out of lockdown. 

BUT unfortunately, that’s not the case and both LGA’s will remain in lockdown indefinitely

Why hasn’t a potential end date for Regional NSW been announced like previous announcements?

Good question! 

The Deputy Premier stated in the press conference the government will be working with local health authorities to decide when further regional LGA’s will have lockdown restrictions lifted.

He listed the number of active cases and vaccination rates of a region being part of that decision. He also flagged a region would need to be Covid free for at least 14 days for that consideration to take place, unless there are exceptionally high vaccination rates in that particular region. 

So, we’re in this for a little while longer OR until all of NSW hits the 70% vaccination rate as outlined in this press release from the Premier’s office


Have they come good on the promise to let up to 5 double vaxxed people hang out together outdoors?  


From Monday 13 September, people across NSW who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and live outside the LGAs of concern, are allowed to catch-up under these conditions.

Up to 5 fully vaccinated adults can engage in outdoor recreation in a person’s LGA or within 5km of home. Children under 12 will not be counted in this total.


So, now what?

So, current regional NSW rules stay in place for Shellharbour and Kiama for now.  

And everyone in Greater Sydney (that’s the Wollongong LGA too) must stay at home unless it is for an essential reason. 

The reasons you may leave your home include:

  • Obtain food or other goods or services ; for the personal needs of the household or for other household purposes (including pets) ; for vulnerable people
  • Travel for work or education if it is not possible to do it at home
  • Exercise and outdoor recreation in Greater Sydney
  • Medical or caring reasons, including obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination.



You must wear a face mask:

  • at all times when you leave your home, unless exercising.

There have been additional restrictions placed on Greater Sydney (including Wollongong) from 12:01am Monday 23 August, 2021. 


Please ensure you keep up to date with the changing restrictions at all times on the NSW Government website and let’s all do our part to get this under control.


Information on The Fold Illawarra

We ask that you check directly with businesses and event organisers prior to attending events, classes or businesses. We are a small team and are doing our best to keep our business directory and event calendar updated with current information, however we acknowledge that during this time, information may not be an accurate reflection.the end

The Latest COVID-19 Restrictions

Penny Webb

Penny is The Fold’s resident word nerd and Managing Editor. When she’s not whipping up articles about all the fabulous things to do and people to meet in the Illawarra, she moonlights as a taxi driver, ferrying three teenagers around the countryside (and back again)! Penny has an uncanny knack for attracting snakes to whatever mountain biking trail she hits on the weekend, which is quickly followed by a cheeky chardonnay or G&T to get over said slithery encounter.
Follow Me: