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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.

Update on restrictions

27 January 2021

Following the announcement by the Premier on 27 January 2021, restrictions will be changing across the Greater Sydney region from Friday 29 January 2021.

The changes will affect the number of visitors allowed at a residence, outdoor gatherings and capacity limits at weddings, funerals and some venues. There are also changes to the requirements for wearing a face mask.

Read the latest update on COVID-19 restrictions.

On this page

Visitors, gatherings and social activities

Greater Sydney region

  • Up to 5 visitors from any number of households may visit another household on any day.
  • No more than 30 people can gather outside in a public place which includes public parks, reserves, beaches, public gardens and spaces. 

Regional and rural NSW

  • Up to 50 visitors from any number of households may visit another household at any one time.
  • No more than 100 people can gather outside in a public place which includes public parks, reserves, beaches, public gardens and spaces. 

Find out more about the rules below.

About the rules

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 rules and restrictions for

About the rules

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.

Check the rules and restrictions for

About the rules

There are different limits on public gatherings across NSW.

The limits depend on whether the gathering is in

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

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

When you check in at a business with a COVID-19 Safety Plan, your name and contact details are recorded for the purpose of contact tracing.

If a positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed to have visited the premises, you will be contacted and advised what you need to do to.

Update your Service NSW account with your contact details and download the Service NSW app to protect yourself and others and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

See the list of confirmed 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.

If you have a booking or have been invited to an event, check the invitation for arrival and departure times as you may be asked to enter or exit at a particular time and use a specific doorway 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 result of your test. 

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. In some indoor settings, you must wear a face mask

Rules and restrictions

About the rules

Stay up to date with the latest travel information if you are planning to travel within NSW or interstate.

You will need to comply with any rules in place at your destination.

When returning home you will need to comply with any rules that apply to people entering your area 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 use 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

There are no specific restrictions for people over 70 about self-isolating or staying home. You can choose when you go out, where you visit, and when to have visitors. 

However, 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.

For more information read our COVID-19

Travel and holidays

Travelling to another state from NSW

A number of states have updated their border information and requirements for travellers from NSW.

You are advised to visit the website for the state you will be travelling to for detailed information.

Rules and restrictions apply if you have been in a Queensland affected area and you are entering or have entered NSW on or after 2 January 2021.

There are no other restrictions around travelling to or from regional or rural NSW, or other areas of NSW.

However, NSW Health currently recommends delaying non-essential travel within NSW, especially between Greater Sydney and regional and rural areas.

Learn more about rules and restrictions for:

Rules and restrictions

Check the rules for visitors and gatherings that apply to


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

COVID-19 Safety Plans

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 indoor and outdoor areas
  • 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 and dancing.

Check the rules and restrictions for

COVID-19 Safety Plans

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 indoor and outdoor areas
  • 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
  • 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

COVID-19 Safety Plans

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.

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. The advice from NSW Health will continue to be updated with further clarifications as the situation evolves.

See the information for sports and recreation activities and what you can and can’t do under the rules.

Find out more about 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 most recent easing of restrictions.

It is up to the business.

Get the latest information about the maximum number of people allowed to attend hospitality venues and events at hospitality venues.


  • Venues must assign one staff member as a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal  who will be in distinctive clothing (such as a shirt or badge) and responsible for ensuring all aspects of the COVID-19 Safety Plan are being adhered to including overseeing social distancing, cleaning and ensuring the accuracy of record keeping. 
  • Large hospitality venues with a capacity of more than 250 people must have a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal on duty whenever the venue is open.
  • A COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal during peak periods is recommended for smaller hospitality venues with a capacity of less than 250 people.
  • Gyms must have a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal when there are more than 25 people using the gym at the same time.

  • All customers (unless only collecting takeaway) must sign in by providing accurate contact details (name and phone number or email address) and their time of entry.
  • Electronic check-in (such as QR codes) is mandatory at hospitality venues. 
  • The COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal should ensure the accuracy and legibility of records.

People from different households should maintain physical distancing.

  • Move or remove tables and seating to support 1.5 metres of physical distance where possible.
  • Reduce crowding and promote physical distancing with markers on the floor where people are asked to queue, such as at a bar.

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.

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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