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What you can and can't do under the rules

Follow the rules around gatherings, and stay safe whether you are working, visiting family and friends, or going out.

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Recent and upcoming changes

School restrictions eased

Strict rules and COVID-19 Safety Plan requirements have been put into place as part of Term 4 school guidelines to allow

  • school formals and graduation ceremonies
  • inter-school activities
  • singing, chanting and playing of musical instruments
  • orientation, excursions and camps
  • face-to-face learning under the Community Languages Schools Program.

Sport and recreation

More than one parent may attend community sporting activities if physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres can be maintained between people that are not from the same household.

Visitors at home

If there are more than 20 visitors at a home, every person will be held individually responsible for a breach of the public health order.

Weddings

Venues can take bookings for weddings and events to be held in the future for more people than allowed under current rules, as long as the rules that apply when the event is held are obeyed.

Up to 150 people are allowed to attend a wedding service at a place of public worship.

Up to 20 people in the official wedding party are permitted on the dance floor.

Churches and places of public worship

If a place of public worship has multiple buildings at a single location:

  • each building can have as many people as allowed under the 4 square metre rule, up to a maximum of 100 people
  • each building must be designated as a separate area with its own COVID-19 Safety Plan and separate staff
  • each service or event must start and finish at a different time.

Auctions and open house viewings

People attending an on-site auction or viewing a home to lease or buy the property are exempt from the 20 visitor rule and will not be counted as visitors.

Real estate agents must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place for viewings or inspections of on-site open homes and for public auctions.

Follow the rules and keep our community safe

The best way to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19 is to

Learn more

Visitors allowed at a residence and gatherings

Under the public health order, there are restrictions on people from different households meeting up together in a public place.

No more than 20 people can gather outside in a public place. 

Under the order

  • a public gathering means a meeting or assembly of persons for a common purpose in a public place
  • a public place has the same meaning as in the Summary Offences Act 1988.

Public places include public parks, reserves, beaches, gardens and spaces – a gathering in any of these places is limited to 20 people. This maximum does not apply in limited circumstances, such as if the people are all from the same household. 

Up to 20 visitors may visit another household at any one time. The total number of visitors includes adults and children. (A member of the household is not counted as a visitor.)

  • There is no daily limit to visitors to your home, so long as you don’t have more than 20 visitors at any one time.
  • If you are over 70 or have a pre-existing medical condition, you should limit the number of visitors and take care at all times.  
  • You can have guests from any household so long as it does not exceed 20 visitors in total. 
  • An overnight stay as part of a visit to someone’s house is allowed.

From Monday 14 September 2020, if there are more than 20 visitors at a home, every person will be held individually responsible for a breach of the public health order.

As the home is a high transmission area, the NSW Chief Health Officer strongly recommends a COVID-Safe precautionary approach of having no more than 10 visitors at a time. 

Strata buildings

Visit NSW Fair Trading for information for people living and working in strata and community schemes.

People who are not counted as visitors

Under the public health orders, some people at your home will not be counted as visitors if they need to be at your home to 

  • engage in work

  • provide a service, care or assistance or for compassionate reasons 

  • fulfil contact arrangements between parents and children under the age of 18 or between siblings 

  • help a member of the household to move in or out of the home 

  • avoid an injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm 

  • assist in an emergency situation.  

A COVID-19 Safety Plan is required by real estate agents to allow people to view or inspect a home to buy or rent it or to attend an auction. People attending a home for this purpose will not be counted as visitors.

People who are at higher risk

People who are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection include:

  • people aged 70 years and over
  • people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions
  • people with a compromised immune system
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions.

If you are in one of these groups, follow the guidance for vulnerable people.

Weddings, funerals and religious services

The maximum number of people who may attend a wedding or a gathering following a wedding service cannot be greater than 150 people subject to the 4 square metre rule and registration as a COVID-Safe business.

Up to 20 people in the official wedding party are permitted on the dance floor. There cannot be rotation of people on the dance floor beyond the official wedding party. 

People attending will be required to provide their name and contact details so that they can be used for contact tracing.

The maximum number of people who may attend a funeral or memorial service or a gathering following a funeral or memorial service, is the lesser of one person per 4 square metres or 100 people. Funerals at outdoor public places or a place of residence are subject to the same limits.

Places of public worship can have up to 100 people subject to the 4 square metre rule and must be registered as a COVID Safe venue. Funeral homes and crematoria must also be registered as a COVID Safe business.

People attending the service will be required to supply their name and contact details so that they can be used for contact tracing.

Read common questions about attending funerals, memorial services and wakes and find out about COVID-19 Safety Plans for

The number of people in a public place of worship must not exceed 100 people, subject to the 4 square metre rule. The maximum applies to the whole of the venue, even where men and women worship in separate areas.

From Monday 14 September, if a place of public worship has separate buildings, each separate building may have a maximum of 100 people in each separate building, subject to the 4 square metre rule and the requirements of the public health order amendment

The venue must have a COVID-19 safety plan and be registered as a COVID Safe venue to keep staff, volunteers and visitors safe.

The maximum number of people at a religious service wherever held must not exceed 100 people, subject to the 4 square metre rule.

A wedding held in a place of public worship may have up to 150 persons subject to the 4 square metre rule.

Services can be streamed or recorded to enable people to engage in worship.

People attending a religious service will be required to provide their name and contact details when they enter so that they can be used for contact tracing.

Develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your church, meeting house, mosque, synagogue, temple or another place of worship to help your community connect safely.

Venues, events and musical activities

Year 12 students across NSW will be able to celebrate finishing school with COVID-19 safe graduation ceremonies and formals being allowed to take place during Term 4.

See the COVID-19 Safety Plans developed especially for:

Find out more about

The following NSW Health advice takes effect on 26 September.

Group singing and chanting remains a high-risk activity for transmission should someone involved be infected.

In order to mitigate this risk, a small group of up to 5 people may

  • sing together in one area if all singers face forwards and not towards each other
  • have physical distancing of 1.5 metres between each other and any other performers, and
  • 5 metres distancing from all other people in front including the audience and conductor.

Group singing of up to 5 people should only take place in a large, well-ventilated (preferably outdoor) setting.

Primary and preschool

In primary school and preschool settings, in-class educational activities such as group repetition, chanting, recitation or singing may occur, provided this takes place outdoors or in a well-ventilated indoor environment.

Teachers must maintain 1.5 metres physical distancing for these in-class educational activities.

This activity is permitted due to the importance of these activities in children’s education and development, and the lower transmission risk between primary students.

Musical groups

Musical instrument ensembles may continue.

Players of non-reeded woodwind instruments (such as flutes and recorders) should maintain

  • a physical distance of 3 metres from others in the direction of air flow from their instruments, and
  • 1.5 metres in all other directions.

Players of all other musical instruments (including reeded woodwind instruments) should maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres between each other and the audience/conductor.

Ensembles and other musical groups should rehearse and perform outdoors or in large, well-ventilated indoor spaces.

Businesses that prepare and serve food and drink to customers on the premises or for takeaway need to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Penalties apply to venues found to breach the public health order rules.

A corporate event is an event, hospitality or social activity organised, held or funded by a business or other organisation for staff, clients or stakeholders and held at a function centre. 

The maximum number of people who can attend a corporate event cannot exceed 150 people or the one customer per 4 square metres, whichever is the lesser. Learn about the COVID-19 Safety Plan for conferences, functions and corporate events.

  • Music festivals within the meaning of the Music Festivals Act 2019 and including a music festival attended by fewer than 2000 people are not permitted.
  • Night clubs are currently closed.

Sport and recreation

Community sporting activities are allowed, including training sessions and contact activities.

A maximum of 20 people per class applies to gym and recreation classes such as yoga, tai chi and pilates.

For community sporting activities that involve more than 20 participants, the organiser must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan for community sporting competitions and full training activities.

  • Participants include players, people who are training, officials and spectators.
  • More than one parent may attend community sporting activities if physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres can be maintained between people that are not from the same household.
  • The maximum number of participants at a community sporting activity must not exceed 500 participants.
  • Record keeping for spectators must take place for all ticketed community sporting activities.
  • See the latest advice for minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission if you're a community sports player or spectator.

Major recreation facilities must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and are permitted to have up to 25% of normal capacity of the venue or 10,000 persons (whichever is lesser) when admission to the premises is by way of a ticket and each person has been assigned to a seating area.

Gyms must have a COVID-19 Safety Hygiene Marshal present at all times the gym is open and be registered as COVID Safe.

  • The gym COVID Safety Plan applies to any gym that is an indoor recreation facility which is open to members of the public. This includes gyms that are in a hotel or workplace.
  • A gym does not include a dance, yoga, pilates, gymnastics or martial arts studio.

If a gym is not open to members of the public, such as a gym in residential premises, for example a home or an apartment building, these requirements do not apply.

Travel and holidays

If you're planning a trip, see the latest advice about travel during school holidays.

NSW-Victoria border restrictions

The NSW Government has temporarily closed the NSW-Victoria border‬. Under the new public health order, anyone who has been in Victoria within the last 14 days must not enter NSW except in special circumstances. 

Learn more about

There are no limitations on people who live in NSW travelling within NSW.

Up to 20 people may stay in a holiday home or holiday rental. More than 20 people can stay in a holiday home or holiday rental if they are all members of the same household.

If you are visiting a national park camping ground you must book ahead.

Learn more about

International travellers arriving arriving in NSW will be charged for their hotel quarantine accommodation.

Learn more about the cost of quarantine for international travellers.

Current restrictions on businesses

All businesses can now open and operate under the one person per 4 square metre rule. Some businesses will be subject to specific restrictions about the maximum number of people permitted at the venue, such as hospitality venues and places of public worship.

Under the rules, employers must allow employees to work from home where it is reasonably practical to do so.

For some types of businesses, you are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan. A COVID-19 Safety plan is recommended for other types of businesses. Find out about developing a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your business.

Some venues are also required to register as a COVID safe venue. This includes hospitality venues, places of public worship, funeral homes, crematoria and gyms.

Occupiers of the following premises, or the occupier of the premises on which the following events are held, are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Businesses and events requiring a COVID-19 Safety Plan

Category Industry
  All other industries
Accommodation and holidays Caravan parks and camping grounds
Hotels and accommodation
Arts, entertainment and venues Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, drive-in cinemas
Community centres and halls
Conference and function venues
Libraries
Markets: artisan, clothing, craft (non-food)
Museums and galleries
Theme parks and amusement centres
Ceremonies and events Funerals, memorial services and wakes
Places of worship
Wedding ceremonies and receptions
School formals
School graduation ceremonies
Hospitality Pubs, clubs, bars, breweries and casinos
Restaurants, cafes and food courts
Manufacturing, warehouses and offices Manufacturing and warehousing
Office environment (including call centres)
Personal services Beauty and other services
Sex on premises
Sex services
Food services and agriculture Abattoirs and meat processing
Agriculture
Critical agricultural workers
Food processing
Retail and grocery
Property and construction Auctions and open houses
Construction and tradespeople
Sport and recreation Betting agencies
Community sporting competitions and full training activities
Gyms
Indoor recreation facilities including yoga, pilates and dance studios, martial arts training facilities
Major recreation facilities, stadiums, showgrounds, racecourses
Swimming pools, saunas and spas
Zoos, reptile parks and aquariums
Transport and boating Commercial vessels
Maritime operations
Transport freight and logistics operations

Public health orders, record keeping and penalties

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 orders, under section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010:

  • Restrictions on gathering and movement
  • Border control: people who have been in Victoria within the last 14 days
  • Quarantine
  • Self-isolation
  • Residential Aged Care Facilities
  • Spitting and coughing
  • Lord Howe Island

Visit NSW Health public health orders for current orders, amendments and exemptions.

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

  • record and keep the name and contact details (either a phone number or email address) and time of entry of every person including staff, customers (unless only collecting takeaway) and contractors, entering their premises for a period of at least 28 days
  • ensure the information recorded is stored confidentially and securely and only used for the purpose of tracing COVID-19 infections
  • on request, provide the information to the Chief Health Officer as soon as practicable and not later than 12 hours after the request is made.

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 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.

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

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