Premier Gladys Berejiklian had remained cautious on lifting travel restrictions despite relaxing other measures from last Friday, including the permitting of up to 10 customers dining in cafes, restaurants and pubs.

She said at the time NSW would not be hasty in reintroducing recreational trips to regional communities, but that the situation was being closely monitored.

The unexpected development came as NSW reported four new cases of coronavirus overnight, with all infections coming from people returning from overseas.

It was this trend – low numbers and overseas infections – which prompted NSW government to make some big decisions this week, Berejiklian said.

With the unemployment rate soaring, the government hopes opening up travel in the state will boost areas of NSW that have been hit by the twin disasters of both the bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic. 

Art galleries, libraries and museums will also reopen from June 1 with some restrictions in place, including a 24-hour quarantine period for returned library books.

No plans to reopen the state’s borders have been announced.

Australia has recorded 7068 cases of coronavirus to date, while the national death toll stands at 100.