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Legislation and penalties

Information on the legislation that helps to monitor, respond to and protect the community from outbreaks of COVID-19.

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Public health orders legislation

To deal with the public health risk of COVID-19 and its possible consequences, the Minister for Health and Medical Research has made a number of public health orders, under section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010.

Visit NSW  Legislation: COVID-19 related legislation for current orders, amendments and exemptions.

Keeping electronic records

Where a person is required to record contact details electronically under the current public health order, the person must:

  • require every person including staff, customers (unless only collecting takeaway) and contractors, entering their premises to provide their name and contact details (phone number or email address) and time of entry, electronically, to
    • Service NSW, or
    • the occupier of the premises
  • ensure the information recorded by them is stored confidentially and securely and only used for the purpose of tracing COVID-19 infections, and kept for a period of at least 28 days
  • on request, provide the information to the Chief Health Officer as soon as practicable and not later than 4 hours after the request is made
  • ensure that someone is responsible for requiring contact details to be provided, and that someone is authorised to provide those records to the Chief Health Officer on request.

If a person who is required to provide their contact details electronically cannot do so because of age, disability or language barrier, another person may provide the details on their behalf. 

If there are unexpected circumstances and electronic check-in is not possible (such as unexpected internet failure or device breakdown), a person may provide their contact details directly to the occupier of the premises, but the occupier of the premises must digitise those contact details within 12 hours.

Electronic entry recording is compulsory for

  • amusement centres
  • aquariums
  • business premises that are used for auction houses, other than clearing houses
  • business premises that are used for nail salons, beauty salons, hairdressing salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, spas, tattoo parlours and massage parlours
  • crematoria
  • drive-in cinemas
  • entertainment facilities
  • hospitality venues:
    • casinos (all persons entering the premises)
    • food and drink premises, other than food courts (all persons consuming food or drink on the premises, plus staff and contractors)
    • micro-breweries, small distilleries holding a drink on-premises authorisation under the Liquor Act 2007 or cellar door premises (all persons consuming food or drink on the premises, plus staff and contractors)
    • pubs, small bars and registered clubs (all persons entering the premises, but not if they are entering the premises solely for the purpose of collecting food or drink to consume off the premises)
  • function centres
  • funeral homes
  • information and education facilities (other than libraries)
  • nightclubs
  • party buses
  • properties operated by the National Trust or the Historic Houses Trust
  • public swimming pools
  • recreation facilities (indoor)
  • recreation facilities (major)
  • sex on premises venues (restricted premises where sex between patrons is permitted on the premises)
  • sex services premises
  • strip clubs
  • vessels used for hosting functions or for commercial tours
  • zoological parks and reptile parks.

Premises on which the following events are held

  • COVID-19 safe outdoor events
  • controlled outdoor events
  • agricultural shows or agricultural field days
  • wedding services and gatherings after wedding services
  • funerals and memorial services and gathering after funerals and memorial services.

Electronic recording of entry is not mandatory for persons entering premises to attend a significant event at a place of public worship (such as a wedding or funeral) or entering premises for a religious service.

Penalties for breaching public health orders

Breach of orders made under the Public Health Act 2010 is a criminal offence and attracts heavy penalties.

In the case of an individual, the maximum penalty is $11,000, or imprisonment for 6 months, or both and a further $5500 penalty may apply for each day the offence continues. The NSW Police may also issue on-the-spot fines of $1000 for an offence.

In the case of any corporation, the maximum penalty is $55,000 and a further $27,500 penalty may apply for each day the offence continues.

Penalties for spitting and coughing

Penalties apply to people who intentionally spit at or cough on

  • a public official
  • another worker while the worker is at work or travelling to or from work

in a way that would reasonably be likely to cause fear about the spread of COVID-19.

Reporting a breach of the rules

You can report any person failing to follow these rules to Crime Stoppers.


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