It's time to start planning your regional getaways as residents across regional NSW will be able to travel to other regional local government areas across the state at 70 per cent double dose.
The freedom to travel between the regions will be reserved for people who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine a week after the state reaches 70 per cent fully vaccinated.
It is projected that October 11 will be the day the state opens up after it hits 70 per cent on October 6.
However, fully vaccinated people from greater Sydney will not be allowed to travel to regional NSW until the state has reached 80 per cent double dose.
Non vaccinated people will be able to travel from December 1.
Authorised workers may enter the region if they have registered their travel. The travel registrations that are currently due to expire on September 30 will be extended to October 31.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro also announced the government had classified the Central Coast, Illawarra, Shellharbour, and the Blue Mountains as part of greater metro Sydney.
"For the purpose of minimizing regional travel initially, we don't want people in the Central Coast or Illawarra, where there are significant case numbers, travelling into other regions," he said.
"But people in Shellharbour and Wollongong will have no problem travelling inside the region, including to Sydney, it's just that you can't travel beyond those LGAs.
Mr Barilaro said allowing non-essential travel between greater Sydney and regional NSW at 80 per cent double dose was based on health advice.
"I know Sydneysiders are chomping at the bit to visit regional NSW to see relatives or enjoy a holiday, and we can't wait to welcome them, but waiting a little longer will ensure that when we do finally meet again, we will meet safely," he said
"It's just to be safe and to be sure that we manage any seeding event in regional New South Wales."
Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said waiting until 80 per cent of the state was fully vaccinated would further reduce the risk of the virus spreading between multiple communities and provide locals with greater protection.
"We've seen how quickly the Delta strain can spread, and this sensible change will ensure more people can book and receive their COVID-19 vaccination and increase the number of locals who are fully vaccinated when we do open," she said.
"In the wake of drought, bushfire, storms, floods and COVID-19, our local businesses need the economic boost that tourism will deliver to our region and the best thing everyone can do to help this happen is get vaccinated."
Despite the 80 per cent bench mark for regional travel across NSW, some residents are concerned that areas along the Hume Highway will remained at risk when the state reaches 80 per cent double vaccination and unrestricted trips between greater Sydney at regional NSW will be permitted.
Ms Tuckerman said the decision to push regional travel from Sydney back to 80 per cent was made to ensure the state-wide average coverage was greater and would allow those communities adequate time to reach the required vaccination targets.
"I have had these discussions with our local vaccination teams who have indicated that, due to our rates of first vaccination and current bookings, they are confident the current projections will see us hit the targets," she said.
In response to community queries as to why her office had turned off Facebook comments on her page, she said this was due to "the large amount of misinformation being relayed in comments which leads to confusion."
"My office is always open for questions and if anyone would like to ask questions they are encouraged to make direct contact via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 4822 6444," she said.
Mr Barilaro said the "front line defence" against COVID continued to be high vaccination rates.
"Shortly, case numbers themselves will be almost irrelevant and hospitalisations and ICU capacity will be more focused on before we announce any further suppression measures," he said.
"As long as vaccination rates continue to climb higher, that is our front line of defence against cases."
Vaccination rates per local government area as of September 27:
Goulburn Mulwarree LGA has reached 82.3 per cent single dose vaccinations and 52.6 per cent double dose vaccinations.
Wingecarribee Shire LGA has reached 90.2 per cent single dose vaccinations and 64.7 per cent double dose vaccinations.
Upper Lachlan LGA has reached 89.9 per cent single dose vaccinations and 57.4 per cent double dose vaccinations.
Yass Valley LGA has reached 87.1 per cent single dose vaccinations and 56.7 per cent double dose vaccinations.
Queanbeyan Palerang LGA has reached 81.7 per cent single dose vaccinations and 53.2 per cent double dose vaccinations.