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Square metres rules

How to calculate the maximum number of people allowed at a venue.

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Responsibilities of occupiers

If your premises is required to follow the capacity rules, these are the capacity limits it can operate under:

  • indoor areas – 1 person per 4 square metres of space
  • outdoor areas – 1 person per 2 square metres of space

Use the guide below to work out the maximum number of people who can be on your premises.

How the rules work

The rules help to determine the maximum number of people who can be on a premises. It does not determine the distance between people.

Physical distancing means reducing the close physical contact we have with people and staying 1.5 metres away from people we don't live with.

Businesses, venues and occupiers of premises should consider how their COVID-19 Safety Plan will allow customers and visitors to practice physical distancing.

Calculating the number of people for the size of your premises

What to include in your measurement

In calculating the space available for each person on any premises, only include the areas that are open to the public.

Who to include in your calculations

When you are working out the maximum number of people allowed on the premises, do not include people who are

  • working on the premises – except for workers at a construction site, industrial premises (such as a factory), office premises, or a warehouse or distribution centre.
  • on the premises because of an emergency.

For food and drink businesses, do not include people who are ordering take-away, waiting for their order or  collecting orders.

Calculate your area

  1. Measure the length of your space.
  2. Measure the width of your space.
  3. Multiply the length by the width to calculate the area in square metres.
  4. Divide the area of your space (calculated in square metres) by 2 (if the 2 square metre rule applies) or 4 (if the 4 square metre rule applies) to calculate the maximum number of people allowed.


Number of people 2 square metres
Minimum space required
4 square metres
Minimum space required
1 2 square metres 4 square metres
10 20 square metres 40 square metres
20 40 square metres 80 square metres
30 60 square metres 120 square metres
40 80 square metres 160 square metres
50 100 square metres 200 square metres
60 120 square metres 240 square metres
70 140 square metres 280 square metres
80 160 square metres 320 square metres
90 180 square metres 360 square metres
100 200 square metres 400 square metres


  • Length = 8.25 metres
  • Width = 10.6 metres
  • Square metres: 8.25 x 10.6 = 87.45
  • Maximum number of people using 2 square metres rule: 87.45 ÷ 2 = 43 people
  • Maximum number of people using 4 square metres rule: 87.45 ÷ 4 = 21 people

Gatherings exempted from the square metres rules

The square metres rules do not apply to normal operations for the following activities and premises which are considered essential gatherings.

  1. Airports
  2. Transport, including in vehicles or at truck stops, stations, platforms or stops or other public transport facilities
  3. Hospitals and other medical or health service facilities
  4. Emergency services and emergency services training
  5. Prisons, correctional facilities, youth justice centres or other custody facilities
  6. Disability or aged care facilities
  7. Courts and tribunals
  8. Parliament
  9. Supermarkets, grocery stores, shopping centres and markets that mostly sell food, but not other retail businesses
  10. Farms, commercial vessels (excluding vessels providing tours or hosting functions or parties), commercial fishing operations, mining
  11. Schools, universities, other educational institutions or childcare facilities, excluding events that involve members of the community in addition to staff and students
  12. Hotels, motels or other accommodation facilities
  13. Outdoor space for the purposes of transiting through the place such as Pitt Street Mall or Parramatta Square
  14. Food banks and other services that assist vulnerable and homeless people
  15. Early education and care facilities

For more detail, see the public health orders

Rules at 80% fully vaccinated  

The square metre rules still need to be followed from 18 October, when NSW reached its 80% fully vaccinated milestone. 

Specific capacity limits apply to the following:

For many other businesses that are permitted to open,  you may have up to: 

  • 1 person per 4 square metres for indoor areas 
  • 1 person per 2 square metres for outdoor areas  

This rule does not apply to a place of residence, holiday home or short-term rental, caravan park or camping ground, or exempt gatherings

Premises that must remain closed

The following businesses and premises in NSW must remain closed to the public:

  • amusement centres, such as places to play billiards, pool, pinball machines or video games
  • play centres
  • nightclubs
  • sex services premises
  • sex on premises venues
  • strip clubs
  • public swimming pools in indoor areas, except if they are used to conduct swimming lessons, lap swimming, squad training and rehabilitation activities.


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