Rules for people in NSW

Rules and restrictions for all people living in NSW.

Last updated: 28 January 2022


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Check the rules below that apply to everyone in NSW.

Some premises may make it a condition of entry that you are fully vaccinated or wear a face mask.

NSW Health strongly advises people get fully vaccinated and wear a face mask where they cannot physically distance.


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Masks, COVID-19 Safe Check-in, vaccination evidence and registering a positive rapid antigen (RAT) result

Masks

All people over the age of 12 must wear a face mask: 

  • in indoor areas (e.g. while shopping, when at a library) 
  • in indoor areas of common property of apartment buildings 
  • at a public transport waiting area  
  • while on public transport (including in taxis and rideshare services)
  • if you are working at a hospitality venue and dealing directly with members of the public 
  • on an aircraft when the aircraft is flying above NSW and in the airport.
  • all staff and students in Year 7 and above, and all staff in K to 6, must wear medical grade masks. Medical grade masks will be supplied to all schools. All students in K to 6 are also strongly encouraged to wear medical grade masks. 

Exemptions are available. Learn more about face mask rules and using a face mask.

Masks are strongly encouraged in settings where you cannot physically distance.

COVID-19 Safe Check-in

COVID-19 Safe QR check-ins are required at:

  • retail premises
  • food and drink premises
  • pubs, small bars and registered clubs
  • hairdressers, spas, nail, beauty, waxing, and tanning salons, tattoo parlours and massage parlours 
  • gyms (except dance, yoga, pilates, gymnastics, and martial arts studios)
  • hospitals (except patients of hospitals or hospitals with an electronic entry recording system that records sufficient information that can be used for contact tracing)
  • residential care facilities or hostels (except in relation to the residents)
  • places of public worship, like churches, mosques, temples, meeting houses and synagogues
  • funeral, memorials and gatherings afterwards
  • nightclubs
  • casinos
  • strip clubs, sex on premises venues, sex services premises
  • indoor music festivals with more than 1000 people.

Occupiers of premises are required to continue to take reasonable steps to ensure people can check-in or provide their contact details when they enter these premises. 

If you are entering a premises where check-in is required, you must:

  • check in with the Service NSW app
  • provide your details to the occupier of the premises.

Learn more about mandatory electronic check-in.

Vaccination evidence

Most premises in NSW are now open to everyone, regardless of whether you are fully vaccinated or not.

You no longer need to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated at most premises.

However, you still need to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated if you: 

  • attend an indoor music festival with more than 1000 people
  • if you work in certain industries.

Follow the vaccination requirements for workers.

Check what you need as vaccination evidence.

Venues may set their own COVID Safe conditions of entry

In addition to PHO requirements, some premises may choose to require people to be fully vaccinated or to wear a mask as a condition of entry.

It is a matter for the occupier of each premises to exercise judgement on what is appropriate for their premises and the well-being of their staff and customers. 

If you want to enter premises where an occupier has chosen to require you to be fully vaccinated, the occupier may ask to see your vaccination evidence. You do not have to show the occupier your vaccination evidence, but if you do not, the occupier may not let you in.

Registering a positive RAT result 

From 12 January 2021, if you test positive for COVID-19 from a rapid antigen test (RAT), you must register your test result with Service NSW.  


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Visiting family and friends

You are not required to be fully vaccinated to have people visit your home or visit people at their home.

However, if you are visiting an aged care facility or disability home, there may be rules that apply to you.

Check with the operator of the facility.


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Sport, exercise and outdoor gatherings

Anyone can participate in sport, exercise, and outdoor gatherings. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is not required (except at gyms).
  • Face masks are not required.

Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can operate with no person or capacity limits in place, including group fitness classes.

COVID-19 Safe Check-in is still required at gyms using the Service NSW app, but this does not apply to dance, yoga, pilates, gymnastics or martial arts studios.

Indoor swimming pools are open for all purposes.

Community sports, including matches, competitions and training, can take place for all staff, spectators and participants.

Anyone can participate in an outdoor public gathering, such as a barbecue or picnic.


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Education, art and culture

Schools

From Term 1 2022, there are new rapid antigen testing requirements for schools.

If a child tests positive on a rapid antigen test, parents must register the positive result with Service NSW.

Under the new close contact rules, schools are no longer included in contact tracing.

All staff and students in year 7 and above, and all staff in K to 6, must wear face masks when attending school.

Students in K to 6 are also strongly encouraged to wear masks.  

Libraries, museums and galleries

Information and education facilities, including art galleries, museums and libraries are open. 

Anyone can visit an information and education facility. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe check-in is not required.
  • Face masks are required, subject to exemptions.

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Shopping and personal services

Anyone can visit retail or business premises. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is required at retail premises in addition to current requirements for personal services businesses.
  • Face masks are required.

Personal services

COVID-19 Safe Check-in is required using the Service NSW app at hairdressers, spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, tattoo and massage parlours.


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Restaurants and hospitality

Restaurants, cafes, hospitality venues and nightclubs in NSW are open.

Anyone can visit a restaurant, cafe, hospitality venue or nightclub. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is required at all hospitality venues
  • Face masks are required, subject to exemptions.

NSW Health strongly advises that patrons consider being seated while drinking.

Effective 8 January 2022, singing and dancing in hospitality venues and nightclubs will not be permitted other than for:

  • a performer who is performing or rehearsing on the premises; or 

  • a person who is instructing, or being instructed, in singing or dancing on the premises; or 

  • a wedding service or reception that is being held at a hospitality venue including a function centre. 

Density limits apply at indoor areas of hospitality venues and nightclubs.

Drinking indoors and outdoors may be seated or standing.

Examples of hospitality premises include casinos, restaurants, cafes, function centres, food courts, take away food and drink premises, kiosks, micro-breweries or small distilleries, cellar doors, pubs, registered clubs and small bars.


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Construction and renovations

Construction and renovations across NSW can continue. 

Anyone can enter a construction site. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is not required.
  • Face masks are required, subject to exemptions.


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Work

Employers can allow staff to work from home at their discretion.

There are no restrictions about travelling for work in NSW.

Some critical workers who are close contacts are permitted to leave self-isolation to attend work, only if they have no COVID-19 symptoms.

Read the critical worker self-isolation guidance and the business rules in NSW.


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Events and entertainment

At indoor music festivals with over 1000 people in attendance, you must check in with the Service NSW app and be fully vaccinated.

For other entertainment facilities, or indoor and outdoor recreation facilities with less than 1,000 people in attendance:

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is not required.
  • Face masks are required, subject to exemptions.

Entertainment facilities include cinemas, theatres, musical halls, concert halls, dance halls, drive-in cinemas and play centres. 

Indoor and outdoor recreation facilities include stadiums, theme parks, zoos, aquariums, and showgrounds.

Effective 8 January 2022, singing and dancing in entertainment facilities and recreation facilities (major) will not be permitted other than for:

  • a performer who is performing or rehearsing on the premises; or 

  • a person who is instructing, or being instructed, in singing or dancing on the premises.

Music festivals

Effective 11 January 2022, you must not sing or dance at music festivals (both indoor and outdoor) unless you are a performer who is performing or rehearsing on the premises.

Rules apply to indoor music festivals with over 1000 people in attendance. An indoor music festival is:

  • a music-focused or dance-focused event
  • performances by a series of persons or groups that are live or pre-recorded,
  • the persons or groups provide musical or live entertainment
  • held indoors, within a defined area
  • is a ticketed event.

Music festivals do not include events that:

  • use a single stage
  • are proposed to be held over a period of less than 5 hours, and
  • have not more than 2 headlining performers, and not more than 4 performers in total.

You need to check in with the Service NSW app to indoor music festivals with more than 1000 people.

If you are fully vaccinated you can attend:

  • an indoor music festival with more than 1000 people in attendance
  • an outdoor music festival with up to 20,000 people in attendance

If you are not fully vaccinated you can attend:

  • an indoor music festival with less than 1000 people in attendance
  • an outdoor music festival with up to 20,000 people in attendance.

Organisers of an indoor music festival may request you provide vaccination evidence before entering the venue.


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Weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies

Anyone can attend a wedding, funeral or place of worship. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • Face masks are required for indoor premises, subject to exemptions.

COVID-19 Safe Check-in is required at places of worship, funerals, memorial services, or gatherings afterwards.

Effective 8 January, singing and dancing at hospitality venues is no longer permitted other than for wedding services and receptions.

Standing while drinking is permitted but it is strongly discouraged by NSW Health.


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Travel and transport

You are able to travel anywhere within NSW. 

If you have recently arrived from overseas, follow the rules for international arrivals.

You can travel in a vehicle with people you do not live with. 

You can travel in a vessel with people you do not live with. 

Holidays and holiday homes

There are no restrictions on travelling between Greater Sydney and regional and rural NSW for holiday or recreational visits within NSW.

Holiday homes and short-term accommodation can be used by anyone.

There are no capacity limits for holiday homes and short-term accommodation.

International travel

New rules are in place for people travelling to NSW from overseas.

For more information about the rules around leaving and entering NSW from outside Australia, visit International travel to and from NSW.

Stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Check in when you go out.

Present your COVID-19 digital certificate via the Service NSW app. 

Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

Get tested if you have the mildest of symptoms and even if you have been vaccinated.

Wear a face mask when required.

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