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Common questions about the rules

FAQs about how the COVID-19 public health orders affect gatherings at homes and outdoors, participation in sport and recreation activities, and support the safe operation of businesses.

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Visitors, gatherings and social activities

Update on rules and restrictions

From 12:01am 26 February 2021

Changes to COVID-19 rules will increase the number of people allowed to visit a home and participate in gym classes in Greater Sydney, dance at weddings, and sing in a performance. Cinema capacity increases to 100% of fixed seating across NSW. 

By following the rules you can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Get tested even if you have the mildest of symptoms.

Find out more about the rules below or read about the specific rules for

The total number of visitors allowed includes all adults, children and babies.

The limit applies whether you are indoors or outdoors (such as a backyard, courtyard or balcony) at your home.

Some people (such as tradespeople or people responding to an emergency) who need to attend your home will not be counted as visitors.

If you have more than the maximum visitors allowed at your home, each visitor (not just the members of your household) may be fined for a breach of the public health order.

Check the specific rules and restrictions for

When you meet up with family or friends at a cafe, restaurant, pub, club or other venue, check the rules that apply to your area for the current limits to the number of people allowed

  • for each booking
  • at a table
  • indoors, per square metre
  • outdoors, per square metre.

There are different limits on public gatherings across NSW.

Outdoor gatherings rules apply to places including

  • picnics, parties and BBQs in public places
  • public parks
  • reserves
  • beaches
  • public gardens and spaces. 

Remember to

If you are unwell, get tested and stay home

Check the specific rules and restrictions for

Minimise hygiene risks by avoiding the sharing of food and drink such as:

  • self-serve buffet style service areas
  • communal snacks
  • communal condiments
  • communal cutlery, implements and serviettes
  • sharing cigarettes or e-cigarettes. 

Generous or even unlimited bar tabs could lead to people drinking so much alcohol that they forget the safe practices that help protect them and their loved ones from COVID-19.

If you are planning to have a party on a bus or hire a bus to go to or from a party, the operator of the bus must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Health and wellbeing advice

Follow the health advice to keep yourself and others safe.

COVID-19 symptoms and testing

Make sure you check in at the businesses and venues you visit so that if a positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed to have visited the premises, you will be contacted and advised on what you need to do.

Find out about checking in at venues using a QR code

Check the list of current COVID-19 case locations.  

Check that the business has a COVID-19 Safety Plan and minimise your risk of getting COVID-19 by:

  • taking your own water bottle, towel and mat, if possible
  • wiping down any piece of equipment before and after you use it with disinfectant wipes or detergent
  • using contactless payment options for any purchases
  • changing clothes and showering at home, rather than at the gym, is also recommended.

If you have any symptoms, even if mild, get tested and self-isolate.

When planning to attend an event, check whether you need to enter or exit at a particular time or use a specific entry to reduce crowding. 

For indoor events, check if you are required to wear a face mask

Venues should clearly display the conditions of entry 

  • at the venue, at all entrance points
  • on the venue's website and social media platforms.

If you are required to register at the venue with a QR code, download the Service NSW app

If you feel unwell

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, including sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever, muscle or joint pain, a change in taste or smell, or tiredness, you should not attend an event. 

Get tested as soon as possible and self-isolate until you get the test result. 

Check the specific rules and restrictions for

COVID-19 can spread outdoors. However, the transmission of COVID-19 is more common indoors where

  • there may be less space to physically distance
  • people may come into contact with droplets (produced by sneezing or coughing) and airborne particles (produced by talking, singing and shouting) more easily. 

If you’re catching up with friends or family, choose an outdoor location if possible. You still need to practise good hand hygiene and try to keep 1.5 metres distance from anyone you don’t live with.

Gathering outdoors reduces the risk of transmission of COVID-19 because infectious droplets and airborne particles are more quickly diffused in the open air than in spaces with less ventilation.

While UV radiation (sunlight) can assist by inactivating coronaviruses on surfaces – it does not kill them if they are already inside your body. The biggest benefit of being outdoors is that the fresh air diffuses droplets and airborne particles more quickly which means you are less likely to get infected if there is an infectious person present.

If gathering indoors opening windows and doors can help ventilate a room and more quickly diffuse any infectious droplets or airborne particles that may be present. This can help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Learn more about the rules for wearing a face mask

Rules and restrictions may change quickly if a hotspot, concerns notice, or area of concern is identified or issued. 

Check the latest information if you are planning to travel within NSW or travel interstate and comply with any rules that apply

  • to the places you travel through including roads, bus terminals, train stations and airports
  • when you are travelling, including requirements to wear a face mask during a flight in NSW
  • at your destination
  • to people entering your home location when you return from the place you have visited. 

If you become unwell you should get tested for COVID-19 and cancel or defer your travel plans until you receive a negative test result.

When travelling, try to maintain physical distancing wherever practical.

Practice good hand hygiene and wear a face mask if you

  • cannot maintain physical distancing
  • are in crowded or poorly ventilated settings
  • are in a situation where the wearing of face masks is required under a public health order.

Take extra care if you’re around vulnerable people.

Outdoor settings generally present a lower risk of transmission than indoor settings. Try to arrange for holiday gatherings to take place outdoors as much as possible and comply with the limits and requirements for outdoor gatherings.

Aged care facilities, seniors and vulnerable people

Aged care residents are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and are more vulnerable to serious complications if they do become infected.

Read more about

While there are no specific COVID-19 restrictions for seniors, NSW Health advises that people over 70 or those with a pre-existing condition are at greater risk of more severe symptoms if they are infected with COVID-19.

To learn more, read our COVID-19

Travel and holidays

Check the government website for your destination to get the latest health advice and information on any border restrictions that may apply.

There are no restrictions on travelling within NSW.

Rules and restrictions

Check the rules for visitors and gatherings that apply to holiday homes and holiday rentals in


The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website has information on where to go, things to do, and the restrictions in place to keep visitors safe. 

The Jervis Bay Territory is a Commonwealth administered territory, occupying the Bherwerre Peninsula, and forming the southern boundary of Jervis Bay. 

If you are planning to go to Jervis Bay

For information on border arrangements to protect Australia against COVID-19 visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

Special events: weddings, funerals, live music and group singing

Check the rules and restrictions for

The event organiser or venue operator will prepare a COVID-19 Safety Plan for weddings to address the requirements including

  • the number of people allowed to attend a wedding or gathering after a wedding
  • venue capacity – square metres rules that apply
  • attendance of seniors and vulnerable people.
  • registration of staff and guests for the purpose of contact tracing
  • safe handling of guestbooks, programs, booklets and donations
  • service of food and drink
  • live music, singing and dancing.

Check the rules and restrictions for

The event organiser or venue operator will prepare a COVID-19 safety plan for a funeral, memorial service or wake to address the requirements including

  • the number of people allowed to attend the service or gathering afterwards
  • venue capacity: square metres rules that apply
  • attendance of seniors and vulnerable people.
  • registration of staff and guests for the purpose of contact tracing
  • safe handling of guestbooks, programs, booklets and donations
  • performance of live music and singing
  • service of food and drink. 

NSW Health has developed guidance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission when singing, chanting or performing music.

Find out more about 

Australia has strict border measures in place and there are very limited flights available to and from Australia.

Visit the Department of Home Affairs website to find out more about the restrictions on people coming from overseas.

Sport, exercise and recreation

Check the rules and restrictions for

Gyms, swimming pools and indoor recreational facilities are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan to address the requirements including

If you feel unwell

Do not go to training if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, however mild. Get tested and stay home until you have received your test results.  

Check the rules on outdoor public gatherings for

Remember to

If you are unwell, get tested and stay home. 

Take care when using outdoor exercise and playground equipment by washing your hands before and after you use any equipment.

School sporting events will increase capacity from 8 March 2021. Read more on the new restrictions for NSW schools

See the NSW Education response to COVID-19 for the latest advice on school sports and activities. 

  • Don’t go if you’re unwell, and instead get tested.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • If you’re a spectator, stay 1.5 metres apart or wear a mask if you can’t. This includes before, during and after sporting activities.
  • Avoid carpools with people from different households where possible.
  • You may need to consult your local club or state sporting organisation or state sporting organisation for people with disability to determine whether your activities are affected by these recommendations.

State sporting organisations and sporting organisations for people with disabilities and other sector organisations should read the advice from NSW Health and determine how the recommendations and advice impact on their activities.

Visit the Office of Sport website for the latest information.

Read about sports and recreation activities and what you can and can’t do under the rules.

Check the COVID-19 Safety Plans for sport and recreation businesses and organisers

Businesses that are open

Each business can make decisions about what makes the most sense for them in light of the current restrictions.

It is up to the business.

Get the latest information about rules for hospitality venues and events at hospitality venues in

Find out about requirements for

Related apps

Service NSW App

Service NSW

You can check in to COVID Safe businesses who are using their NSW Government QR Code, via the Service NSW app.

NSW National Parks-National Parks and Wildlife Service

NSW National Parks

Get all the information you need to explore Australia’s greatest national parks including Blue Mountains, Kosciuszko, and Sydney Harbour.


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