NSW will reopen on Monday 11 October having reached the magical first milestone of 70 per cent of double vaccinations averaged across the state. This initial reopening will allow regional travel between regions only. Greater Sydney residents including Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour are not permitted to travel to regions for holidays, they can only travel within Greater Sydney. Regional residents still cannot visit Greater Sydney. Once the next milestone of 80 per cent double vaccinations is reached Greater Sydney and Regional NSW can travel anywhere within the state. This next milestone is expected to be reached soon. What does this mean for Snowy Mountains businesses, residents and visitors? As a tourist area our focus is often centred around tourism, but travel will remain slow until the Canberra market can start travelling again and Greater Sydney opens. Canberra will commence easing of their restrictions on October 15, but this may not involve opening the ACT borders. That is yet to be determined. Canberrans currently have a high first dose vaccination rate of 96 per cent of population. For now we can expect regional visitors only until the NSW 80% target is reached. Currently the Snowy Monaro region is in extended lockdown until Monday 11 October due to a high number of COVID-19 cases (60 cases on October 8) through multiple exposure sites in Jindabyne, Cooma and Thredbo. There have been no updates to notify otherwise, so for now, assume Snowy Monaro will open on October 11 unless otherwise notified. Residents in these Snowy Monaro towns have been undertaking extensive testing and many residents are currently isolating awaiting test results or are isolating having contracted the virus. See full update of venues of concern here. As of earlier this week Snowy Monaro had 88% single dose vaccination and 61% double vaccination. The Snowy Valleys region on the western side of the Snowy Mountains have no current restrictions and will be open for region to region travel on October 11. The wider region has been heavily affected in the past 18 months through bushfires and COVID-19 lockdowns. The recent winter snow season has seen businesses suffer severely in what is usually the busiest months of the year. The Sydney lockdown prevented the majority of regular visitors from enjoying their snow holiday, then the Canberra lockdown reduced visitation further before the Snowy Monaro itself went into lockdown. In Jindabyne and Thredbo, businesses are desperate for tourists to return once allowed as the population is not big enough to sustain the town's businesses. In the main street of Cooma, businesses also rely on tourist trade, so the reopening can not come soon enough for the region. It would be fair to say some businesses are at breaking point having had no decent income for months. While residents are certainly concerned with the current COVID-19 cases, we hope this should have well and truly resolved itself in coming weeks before Greater Sydney are allowed to travel again for holidays. The mountains are an ideal getaway with an abundance of fresh alpine air ideal for hiking, relaxing, exploring and fishing. The lakes and waterways are looking pristine and events are now appearing on the calendar again. The new Drops and Hoods cycling event in early December will welcome visitors back in what will be the first major event of the summer and the Snowy Trout Challenge has just started with 500 large rainbow trout released into the waterways and cash prize draws if you catch a tagged fish. The next printed edition of Snowy Mountains Magazine is out on October 29 and will have a full Snowy Mountains road map of all the great areas and attractions to visit.
|Posted on:||October 8, 2021, 1:37 pm|