Virus case numbers will grow: Berejiklian

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NSW diners have welcomed a taste of normality as they return to their favourite restaurants and bars, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned COVID-19 case numbers will inevitably rise in the state in the coming weeks as restrictions are eased.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted from Friday and up to five people, including children, can visit another NSW household.

Religious gatherings and places of worship can welcome up to 10 people, while restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs can have up to 10 patrons so long as they maintain social distancing.

BL Burgers in Newtown welcomed its first diners on Friday with manager Eilidh McGuire saying customers were in the store “from the second we opened”.

“It hasn’t been too difficult to manage so far, I think the rain has slightly held it off, but we’ve had people coming saying can we sit with four … that’s the bit we have to be extra careful, not having people sit too close together,” Ms McGuire told AAP.

At The Rio bar in Summer Hill, operational manager Fabrizio Culici said pouring the first beer – into a glass pint – had felt “phenomenal”.

“We just hope that it keeps going, hope that this is certainly not going to be a short-lived thing and we go back to deliveries, because it’s going to be very hard to survive if that happens,” Mr Culici told AAP.

Local Shannah Baichoo was among the first to return to the reopened bar, with her and her husband resuming what was once a regular Friday night ritual.

“It’s like a signifier of life becoming normal again,” she said.

Ms Berejiklian on Friday warned NSW residents an increase in COVID-19 cases was likely, but said authorities would only be really concerned if numbers grew exponentially.

NSW reported eight new cases of coronavirus from 12,200 tests, taking the state’s total to 421 active cases out of a total of 3071, with seven people in intensive care.

“I won’t be standing here in the next few weeks talking about eight, nine or 10 (cases) – I don’t know what I’ll be saying, but it certainly won’t be a handful,” the premier told reporters.

“That’s OK, so long as we ensure the vulnerable are protected, so long as we ensure people can get the healthcare they need.”

Ms Berejiklian acknowledged that lifting restrictions overseas – such as in South Korea and Singapore – had resulted in fresh virus outbreaks.

One of Friday’s new cases was a man who developed symptoms after taking a Qantas flight from Brisbane to Sydney on May 12, with NSW Health tracking down passengers near his seat.

He’d spent 14 days in hotel quarantine in Brisbane after returning from overseas.

Catholic churches in NSW reopened on Friday for private prayer, confession and small-scale masses.

St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney’s CBD opened at 6.30am, with the first of four masses held at 7am.

Outdoor equipment including gyms and playgrounds can now be used with caution, with people encouraged to wipe down the equipment, while outdoor pools are open with restrictions.

Randwick City Council has reopened all of its beaches for recreation including Clovelly, Coogee and Maroubra – as well as some ocean pools.

Ten guests are allowed at weddings, 20 at indoor funerals and 30 at outdoor funerals from Friday.

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