Lockdown ends across New England North West, but Narrabri left out after COVID case

Hospitality and other venues can reopen across much of the region with the lockdown to be lifted this weekend. (ABC News: James Carmody)

Most of the New England North West will come out of lockdown at the weekend, but the Narrabri Shire will have to wait after recording a new case of COVID-19. 

From Saturday gatherings of up to five visitors in the home — excluding children under 12 — and 20 people outdoors, can resume.

Hospitality venues, retail stores, hairdressers, beauty salons and gyms can reopen with reduced capacity.

Schools will reopen with Level 3 COVID-safe measures in place.

Up to 50 people can attend a wedding or a funeral.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the areas coming out of lockdown must be aware that the situation could change at any time.

"If there is an active case in your community, you will go back into lockdown for a minimum of 14 days," he said.

"That is the commitment we have made to [NSW] Health.

Masks will remain mandatory in all indoor public venues, including workplaces, and on public transport, as well as out the front of hospitality venues.

In the areas coming out of lockdown, there would be no requirement for people to be vaccinated.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson had pushed for the region to be released from lockdown, despite detections of COVID-19 in sewage catchments in several towns.

"This is great news for our local small businesses who have been struggling under the stay-at-home order," he said.

Narrabri left out

The Narrabri Shire has recorded its first case of COVID-19 in more than a year after a worker in the cotton industry tested positive. 

David Durrheim from Hunter New England Health said the person had a Queensland address but has been working in the Narrabri region "for an extended period".

NSW Health says the man has been working in the Narrabri region for some time. (ABC New England North West: Jennifer Ingall)

Dr Durrheim said the person had recently spent several days in Sydney.

Dr Durrheim said the person had been transferred to Tamworth Hospital.

"We wanted to be sure that there wasn't any ongoing exposure in the community."

He described testing numbers in the Narrabri Shire as "dismally low", with fewer than 200 people tested for the virus last week.

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