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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 essential 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.

Maximum number of people

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.

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 to calculate the maximum number of people allowed.


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

COVID-19 Safety Plans

Approved COVID-19 safety checklist

Premises or event


Caravan parks and camping grounds

Beauty and other services

Business premises that are used for nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, spas, tattoo parlours and massage parlours

Sex on premises venues, being restricted premises where sex between patrons is permitted on the premises

Sex services premises

Entertainment facilities

Amusement centres

Drive-in cinemas

Entertainment facilities



Funeral homes

Gyms and indoor recreation

Community centres

Public swimming pools (other than natural swimming pools)

Recreation facilities (indoor)



Food and drink premises

Food courts

Function centres

Micro-breweries, small distilleries holding a drink on-premises authorisation under the Liquor Act 2007 or cellar door premises


Party buses

Pubs, small bars and registered clubs

Strip clubs

Vessels used for hosting functions or for commercial tours

Information and education facilities


Information and education facilities

Properties operated by the National Trust or the Historic Houses Trust

Zoological parks and reptile parks

Major recreation facilities

Recreation facilities (major)

Agricultural shows or agricultural field days

Outdoor events

COVID-19 safe outdoor public gatherings

Controlled outdoor public gatherings

Places of worship

Places of public worship and religious services on other premises

Retail and auctions

Auctions, open houses or other inspections or viewings of real property for sale or lease

Business premises that are used for auction houses, other than clearing houses

Business premises that are used for betting agencies


Significant events

Funerals and memorial services and gatherings after funerals and memorial services

Places of residence, holiday homes and short-term rentals with more than 100 visitors

Wedding services and gatherings after wedding services

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. Office buildings, farms, factories, warehouses, commercial vessels (excluding vessels providing tours or hosting functions or parties), commercial fishing operations, mining or construction sites
  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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