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Square metres rules

How to apply the square metres rules to calculate the maximum number of people allowed at a venue.

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Responsibilities of occupiers

Occupiers of premises must follow the rules to calculate the capacity of a venue if required by safety plans issued under the public health orders.

The square metres rules do not apply to

  • a place of residence
  • an entertainment facility
  • a cinema
  • a recreation facility (major)
  • commercial tours on boats used for scuba diving, snorkelling or whale, dolphin or marine animal watching, if there are up to 50 people on the boat
  • caravan parks and camping grounds
  • holiday homes and short-term rentals
  • certain gatherings.

Learn more about the COVID-19 rules in NSW.

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

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
  • on the premises because of an emergency.

For food and drink businesses, do not include people who are ordering or collecting orders that will not be consumed on the premises.

Office buildings, industrial premises, and construction sites

Office buildings, industrial premises (including factories), and construction sites that are permitted to operate in Greater Sydney or an affected area in regional NSW must include people who are working on the premises in the calculation.

Maximum number of people

Affected areas

An occupier of premises that is permitted to operate can have up to 1 person per 4m2 at the site at any one time in

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

Regional and rural NSW

An occupier of premises that is permitted to operate in regional and rural NSW (excluding affected areas of regional NSW) can have at the site at any one time the greater of either

  • 1 person per 4m2  or
  • a maximum of 25 persons.

An occupier of premises must not allow more than 25 people on the premises if the size of the premises is insufficient to ensure at least 2 square metres of space for each person.

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

What to include in your measurement

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

For office buildings, industrial premises (including factories) and construction sites, you must also include areas that are not open to the public. 

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

COVID-19 Safety Plans

Approved COVID-19 safety checklist

Premises or event

Abattoirs Abattoirs and the meat processing industry


Caravan parks, camping grounds, hotels, backpackers, hostels and dormitory-style accommodation, including hotels and accommodation on Lord Howe Island

Agriculture Agriculture businesses and farms

Beauty and other services

Salon, hairdressing salons, spa, nail salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, massage parlours, tattoo studios, sex on premises venues, and sex services.

Construction and tradespeople Construction, trade or home maintenance businesses

Entertainment facilities

Cinemas (including drive-in cinemas), theatres, concert halls and amusement centres


Businesses and industries that do not have a specific safety plan, including crematoria and funeral homes

General practice General practices and other primary health service providers

Gyms and indoor recreation

Gyms, indoor recreation facilities, swimming pools, community centres and halls


Pubs and clubs, small bars, cellar doors, breweries, distilleries, casinos, karaoke bars, restaurants, cafes, food courts and other food and drink premises, function centres, nightclubs, strip clubs, commercial vessels and party buses

Information and education facilities

Libraries, museums, galleries, zoos, reptile parks and aquariums

Major recreation facilities

Major recreation facilities, agricultural shows and theme parks

Manufacturing and warehousing Warehousing management, storage facilities and manufacturing operations
Maritime operations Including vessel operators
Office environment Including call centres, service centres and general office spaces

Outdoor events

Community sports, controlled outdoor events, outdoor rehearsal and performance and outdoor protests

Places of worship

Churches, meeting houses, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship

Retail and auctions

Auctions and open houses, betting agencies, non-food markets and retail and grocery

Significant events

Funerals and wakes, school formals and dances, graduation ceremonies, weddings and receptions, and events at your home with more than 100 people

Taxis and ride share Taxis, hire cars and ride share services
Transport and logistics Transport, freight and logistics operations

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


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