Sydney celebrates 'Freedom Day' after lockdown

Residents of Sydney, Australia filed into their favorite bars on Monday as much of the city prepared to reopen after nearly four months of lockdown.

Sydney's reopening comes as Australia seeks to shift its strategy by gradually lifting restrictions across the country upon reaching vaccination targets.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison celebrated the news at a press conference on Monday.

"Today's the day so many have been looking forward to. The day when the things we take for granted, we'll celebrate. Being with family and friends, getting a haircut, grabbing a meal together, going to the pub and having a beer with your mates - these are things that across New South Wales and particularly in Sydney, people will be able to do again today."

Under the relaxed rules for New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, retail stores, gyms and restaurants have reopened with reduced capacity, while vaccinated people can gather in bigger groups, and attend weddings and funerals.

The state aims to hit an 80% vaccination rate later this month, which will be the trigger to relax distancing limits.

But the unvaccinated must remain at home until December 1.

Australia's international borders have been largely shut for a year and a half.

With vaccination finally gaining momentum after a slow start, the country plans to allow fully vaccinated residents to enter and leave freely starting next month.

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