A group of high school students in uniform and in cadet army uniforms stand with Steph Cooke and teachers around a flag pole. All wear red poppies on their shirts.
Steph Cooke MP at Hennessy Catholic College for Remembrance Day in 2018.

Groups of up to 100 people will be able to gather for Remembrance Day services across the Cootamundra electorate after the approval of a one-off exemption from COVID-19 restrictions.

“After we were unable to gather together to mark Anzac Day earlier this year, I am warmly welcoming this announcement. Remembrance Day is the chance to stop and remember the sacrifice of every Australian who has served our nation in times of war and peace,” Ms Cooke said.

“The easing of restrictions to public gatherings for Remembrance Day means wreath laying ceremonies and other memorial services can take place with up to 100 people present to pay their respects.”

The one-off exemption to the Public Health Order increases the current restrictions from 20 people to 100 people, to gather at community war memorials, provided they adhere to social distancing measures and have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.

Acting Minister for Veterans Geoff Lee said while some of our larger commemorations won’t look the same as in past years, this exemption means smaller services can be held in all local communities across NSW.

“Australians have paused to reflect and pay tribute on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month since 1918, so this is welcome news for our veterans community,” said Mr Lee.

The exemption is in place for Remembrance Day Services held before 12 November.

RSL NSW Acting President Ray James OAM thanked the NSW Government for lifting the restrictions to ensure services could go ahead safely.

“With this year’s Anzac Day commemorations cancelled due to the pandemic, it is particularly meaningful for the veteran community to see Remembrance Day gatherings taking place,” Mr James said.

“Local Remembrance Day services have a significant role in regional and rural communities where the incidence of COVID-19 has been low in recent months.”