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New South Wales deputy premier Paul Toole and Premier Dominic Perrottet drink a beer before holding a media conference at Watson’s Pub in Moore Park on Oct. 11 in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Sydney businesses reopened Monday after more than 100 days of lockdown measures implemented by Australian authorities.

The big picture: Some bars and entertainment venues in the city of 5 million residents opened at 12:01am, as most restrictions were relaxed for fully vaccinated people in the New South Wales state capital amid declining coronavirus cases.

  • This came after NSW reached its goal of vaccinating 70% of eligible residents.

What they're saying: "We are leading the nation out of this pandemic but this will be a challenge," said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who this month replaced Gladys Berejiklian after she resigned amid a corruption investigation, at a news conference Monday.

  • He expected hospitalizations and case numbers to increase, but added: "We need to learn to live alongside the virus."

Yes, but: Stay-at-home rules and other restrictions that were imposed on Sydney residents in response to a June Delta outbreak remain in place until Dec. 1 for those unvaccinated.

By the numbers: NSW recorded 496 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as the number of people over 16 years old vaccinated in the state exceeded 74%, according to official health figures.

  • The state aims to have 80% of eligible residents vaccinated by late October.

What to watch: The Australian Medical Association expressed concern at the NSW reopening plans, warning in a statement that "New South Wales may still see hospitals become completely overwhelmed despite high vaccination rates."

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a powerful and potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring an array of hazards, from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten coastal property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Republican-led Pennsylvania court deems mail-in voting law unconstitutional

Workers count ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Republican-led Pennsylvania court on Friday ruled that the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.

Driving the news: Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state's constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.