10 person cap for restaurants, pubs could be lifted 'imminently': Premier

An announcement about an increase to the 10 person restriction for cafes and restaurants could be made within days, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian saying there was an "imminent announcement about what cafes, pubs and clubs will look like in June and July".

At the morning's coronavirus media briefing, Ms Berejiklian announced there had been two new cases of coronavirus overnight - both of which were acquired via community transmission.

One was a student at St Ignatius Riverview, and another was acquired in Victoria. Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said contact tracing was underway for both cases, and investigations were underway about where the cases were acquired.

"We are also following up on a couple of inconclusive test results," Dr Chant said, adding that 94 people were being treated by NSW Health.

There have now been 3082 cases in NSW since the start of the pandemic, she said.

With recent days' case numbers low, Ms Berejiklian said the state's attention must now turn to its economic recovery after 220,000 jobs were lost in April.

To do this, she said the government has accelerated approval process for several major projects, which "come with hundreds of jobs to support the economic boom that we hope will happen in Western Sydney during and after the pandemic".

She also said she was in talks with industry about changing the limits for patrons in restaurants, pubs and clubs to help the economic recovery in regions as travel restrictions ease from June 1.

"We"re working with industry on that very issue as we speak, and I wouldn't rule that out," she said, when asked if the 10-person cap on patrons would be lifted.

"I would anticipate that the government would have more to say on the future of restaurants and bars in June and July in the very near future."

She said she wold not consider bringing in a higher cap for regional pubs and restaurants, where case numbers are lower, as she said she had a "strong preference" to keep rules the same between city and regional areas.

"If you're really serious about economic activity, it won't surprise you to hear me say that the less borders, the less number of rules, the better," she said.

Ms Berejiklian also said she was being lobbied by beauty salons and was "onto that" so that they could be opened in sustainable way so that they did not need to close again in the near future.

As restrictions continue to ease, NSW Labor has urged the Berejiklian Government to increase COVID-19 testing, including community outreach and asymptomatic testing.

Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park said the government needed to respond differently as "we enter a different phase of the COVID-19 pandemic".

"The number of unknown community transmissions is the number one concern in NSW," he said.

"We need to address it before it is too late."

There are currently 370 cases of unknown community transmission in NSW, he said.

NSW Labor has called for the Government to increase community testing including to undertake testing of people without symptoms in high risk areas such as healthcare and community services, and to roll out further pop-up clinics to areas of high unknown community transmission.

Mr Park also said multicultural communities should be targeted fro testing, as Singaporean communities of foreign workers has contributed to a second wave of the virus.

"1 in 5 people in NSW are from a non-English speaking background, we need to be reaching them with more pop-up clinics and direct outreach," he said.

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This story 10 person cap for restaurants, pubs could be lifted 'imminently': Premier first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.