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Common questions about the rules

FAQs about changes to the public health orders about gatherings.

What you need to keep doing

We need to stay COVID safe by keeping up our high rates of testing and by practising physical distancing and good hygiene. 

Wherever you go, take care

In every place, at every time, be careful. Assume that people around you have the virus and that you have the virus. 

Stay home if you're unwell

Maintain physical distancing and use outdoor areas for visits is possible. Don't visit vulnerable people if you have even the mildest of symptoms.

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Border closures from 8 July

From Wednesday 8 July, NSW will temporarily shut its border with Victoria to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and jobs of NSW citizens. 

In most cases, people entering NSW from Victoria will be required to have a current NSW border entry permit. Service NSW will receive and assess applications.


The Service NSW permit application system is experiencing high levels of demand. Some people may experience delays in securing a permit.

You can still demonstrate your eligibility to cross the border to Police by carrying relevant documentation based on your category of exemption.

Apply for a NSW border entry permit

The NSW Government eased certain restrictions from 1 July to allow the community to be more active and get businesses back to work.

NSW can only do this following the hard work and sacrifice of our community. We have now reduced the number of cases to a manageable level and used this time to increase our ability to deal with more intensive care cases.

We are at this point because everybody has followed health advice about physical distancing, hand hygiene and staying home when sick.

In order to stay on top of the virus, we can’t let down our guard.

Yes but you should not leave your home if you have even the mildest symptoms such as tiredness, runny nose or a sore throat.

You should also have a conversation with the people you are spending time with to ensure they do not have symptoms.

Everyone must continue to practise physical distancing and good hand hygiene

Every state has its own circumstances and must be able to move at its own pace.

NSW will consider changes when it is safe to do so, based on the data and best available health advice.

This advice will be based on testing, tracing and tracking cases and using technology such as the COVIDSafe app.

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 are at greater risk of more severe symptoms if they are infected with COVID-19.

This means you may want to be more cautious about who you choose to see and where you choose to go.

However, if you or someone near you is feeling unwell or has even mild symptoms, NSW Health advice is that you stay home and get tested

Extra care should be taken when visiting those over 70 or those with a pre-existing condition.

Maintain a physical distance of more than 1.5 metres wherever possible and consider using the available outdoor areas such as the backyard or verandah when visiting someone’s home.

Above all, do not visit even if you have the mildest symptoms.

For more information read our COVID-19 advice for vulnerable people.

Yes. It is extremely important that we all stay vigilant and maintain the rules. We cannot afford to be complacent.

NSW Police will continue to work with the community to help maintain the gains we have made together. 

This decision will always be based on data and the best available health advice. NSW will monitor the impacts of the latest round of eased restrictions.

Find out about the current restrictions

NSW Health provides guidance to assist political parties create and maintain a COVID-safe environment for their staff, volunteers and the community during campaigning for the Eden-Monaro By-Election.

This guidance applies to election day (4 July 2020) and to any pre-poll promotion of a candidate, such as in a shopping centre or at pre-polling booths.

All campaigning activities must be conducted in accordance with the Public Health (COVID-19 Gatherings and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020 and your obligations to your staff and volunteers under relevant Work Health and Safety laws.

Visit NSW Health for more information.

Visiting or meeting up with family and friends

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.  

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

Yes, it is 20 visitors in total including children.

No. You can have guests from any household so long as it does not exceed 20 visitors in total. 

You are able to be outdoors with up to 20 people in total.

This could be to exercise or a family picnic. It’s up to you, as long as no more than 20 people are gathering together.

Even within the gathering, you should maintain physical distancing.

Yes, 20 people in total may gather in a public place.

An overnight stay as part of a visit to someone’s house is allowed.

Funerals, memorial services and wakes

The maximum number of people allowed at a funeral or memorial services is one person per 4 square metres of space. If the service is held at a place of public worship, funeral home, crematorium or place of residence it can have at least 50 people regardless of its size.

The one person per 4 square metres rule also applies to gatherings held immediately after the service.

If a place of public worship, a funeral home or crematorium does not have enough space to provide 4 square metres of space per person for more than 50 people, they can have up to 50 people if reasonable steps are taken to ensure that there is 1.5 metres between guests.

This is a very difficult situation. We really urge anyone with even one of the COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, including sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever, muscle or joint pain, a change in taste or smell, or fatigue, to stay away from gatherings and get tested as soon as possible.

Funeral organisers are encouraged to consider live streaming the service or providing a video link for those who cannot attend due to illness or travel restrictions.

If you know of people who are at high risk of developing COVID-19 complications, such as elderly people or people with existing health conditions affecting their immunity, consider offering an online service. This allows everyone to pay their respects in a COVID safe way. 

The risk of significant illness may be different for a 67-year-old person and a 37-year-old. However, no age group is immune from potentially severe outcomes from COVID-19 infection. Personal responsibility and common sense need to be front of mind to keep you, your loved ones and your community safe, especially at this difficult time. 

Small music groups are permitted but wind instruments, such as flutes, oboes and clarinets, are discouraged due to the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Musicians should stay at least 1.5 metres from each other and 3 metres from the congregation. 

Consider having one singer rather than a group. Group singing, as in a band or choir, poses a much higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.

When choosing a venue, make sure there is room for the singer to stay at least 3 metres from others when singing, and avoid group singing.

If you would like a guest book, consider asking guests to bring their own pen, or have a plan to clean any shared pens as well as the area around the book.

If you would like one less concern at this difficult time, consider alternatives like a digital guestbook that can be filled in from home.

Talk to the funeral director about alternatives to books, booklets, or other shared objects used during the service. 

We also encourage online or electronic alternatives to any cash collections to be taken up in memory of the deceased.

Many precautions are general measures that people have become familiar with, such as physical distancing, frequently washing or sanitising your hands and getting tested if you have any COVID-19 symptom, even a mild one. 

Other precautions are more specific to slightly larger gatherings, such as funerals and memorial services. 

If the funeral is being held in a church, for example, we suggest erecting protective barriers around frequently touched objects of worship such as shrines, relics or fonts.

Listen to any requests from your funeral venue or place of worship to reduce any crowding at the entrance or exit of the facility. This is important for everyone’s safety. You may be asked to enter or exit at a particular time to reduce crowding.

Individuals should take personal responsibility by staying away from funerals, memorial services and wakes, and getting tested if they have even the mildest symptoms, including sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever, muscle or joint pain, a change in taste or smell, or fatigue. 

Personal responsibility is key to protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our communities against the spread of COVID-19.

You may want to designate someone to assist with this at the entrance as well as during and after the service or speak to the funeral director ahead of time about assisting with this type of situation.

Australia’s international borders are currently closed.

People coming from overseas are restricted and will be required to quarantine at the port of their arrival in Australia for at least 14 days.

Where possible, for the safety of all, delay mourning activities until after the quarantine period.

Exemptions may be granted on a “gate pass” basis where the funeral is not large and the person attending will be able to adequately maintain their physical distance from others.

It is very important that the overseas mourner is supported in maintaining their physical distance and that they are not encouraged to breach the conditions of their exemption. This is to protect all involved.

A separate small event for the overseas relative at the conclusion of their quarantine period may be more appropriate.

Visas, where required, are the responsibility of the Australian Border Force.

Places of worship and other venues should have a mechanism in place to ensure the clear display of the conditions of entry. These conditions should be available to the public on the organisation’s website and social media platforms. 

Conditions should also be clearly displayed at all entrance points.

You should discuss the venue’s cleaning policy with the venue operator.

Under the NSW Health checklist, venues should ensure any areas frequented by staff or visitors are cleaned and disinfected at least daily.

Staff should frequently clean and disinfect shared surfaces. This includes door handles, lift buttons, handrails, seating, tables and sinks and staff rooms.

Staff should wear gloves when cleaning and wash hands thoroughly before and after with soap and water.

Think about how hygiene risks can be minimised by avoiding the following:

  • 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 which 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.

People entering the premises to attend a funeral are required to provide their name and contact details to the occupier of the premises for contact tracing purposes. Records must be kept for at least 4 weeks. Organisers must ensure records are used only for the purposes of tracing COVID-19 infections and are stored confidentially and securely.

If a guest or other person attending the funeral is diagnosed with COVID-19, NSW Health will ask that you provide this record to assist with contact tracing.

In addition, encourage guests to download the COVIDSafe app, which supports contact tracing while protecting personal information under the Commonwealth Privacy Act.

Travel and holidays

NSW will temporarily shut its border with Victoria to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and jobs of NSW citizens. The closure will be effective from 12.01am Wednesday, 8 July and follows the concerning spread of COVID-19 in Melbourne. 

Residents in NSW must still comply with border restrictions imposed by other states and territories if they wish to travel outside of NSW. 

Yes. You can travel to regional NSW for holiday purposes.

Yes. You can travel for work in NSW.

There is no limit on the distance you can travel for work.

We advise not to catch public transport during the peak times for travel.

There is no limit on the distance that a person may travel to visit another household, so long you are not exceeding the maximum number of people allowed to visit another home.

Only residents and essential personnel will be permitted to travel to Lord Howe Island, and anyone returning to the island will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

For information on Australia's immigration and border arrangements during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

Outdoor activities and pools

Yes, so long as there are no more than 20 people in total if they are from different households.

Remember to maintain physical distancing and get tested and stay home if you are unwell. 

Yes. Remember to maintain physical distancing

Get tested and stay home if you are unwell. 

You can use outdoor exercise and playground equipment, but do so with caution.

  • Wash your hands before and after you use this equipment.
  • Assume the person who has used the equipment before you has the virus.

Do not go out if you’re sick and maintain physical distancing.

Remember that the public gathering rule of no more than 20 applies.

Pools can operate but must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Businesses that are open

Pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants must apply the 4 square metre rule.

People from different households should maintain physical distancing.

All food and drink premises will be required to have COVID-19 Safety Plans to ensure good hygiene and safety rules are in place.

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.

Going to a gym, dance, martial arts or other fitness training facility

Gym or recreation classes or sports activities must have no more than 20 participants, plus the instructor and any assistants, per class.  

There may be multiple classes in a room if there is enough space to accommodate this under the one person per 4 square metre rule and the classes remain separate.

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

Physical distancing is still important and one of the key steps in protecting yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19

The NSW Government checklist for gyms and other fitness and sport facilities includes a comprehensive list of requirements around physical distancing, given its importance in protecting us all from COVID-19.

Gyms as well as yoga, pilates, dance and other fitness studios must ensure they allow for one person per 4 square metres.

When you’re in the studio you should be able to take two steps in any direction without risk of collision – this is around 1.5m distance. If you can’t, it’s probably too crowded and you should bring this to the attention of your instructor.

Gyms are advised to promote physical distancing with markers on the floor, including where people are asked to queue. In addition, they should move or block access to equipment to maintain at least 1.5 metres between people. 

Think of physical distancing as part of the new normal.

Dance studios, gymnastics centres, martial arts training studios and other types of facilities involving parents and other spectators are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Spectators will be included in the one person per 4 square metres rule – so you may be asked to wait outside.

Whether to go to the gym or engage in any other activity is a personal decision.

Each of us needs to balance our own personal risk when it comes to resuming activities we enjoyed before the spread of COVID-19. This risk may be different for a 67-year-old person and a 37-year-old. However, no age group is immune from potentially severe outcomes.

You can however minimise the 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
  • changing clothes and showering at home, rather than at the gym, is also recommended.

Check that the business has a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. Businesses should clearly display the COVID-related conditions of entry on public platforms, including their website, social media platforms and at the venue entrance.

Gyms and other fitness facilities should have a policy for excluding staff and visitors who are unwell, even if they only have mild symptoms. 

Again, we ask that individuals take personal responsibility by staying away from public places and getting tested if they have even the mildest symptoms.  

Gyms and other fitness studios and centres should ensure good hand hygiene facilities are available, including at the entry and throughout the venue.

If you do not see these present you have an indication that it is unlikely to be practicing safe hand hygiene.

Under the NSW Government checklistgyms should ensure

  • any areas frequented by staff or clients are cleaned at least daily with detergent or disinfectant
  • frequently touched areas and surfaces are cleaned several times per day with a detergent or disinfectant solution or wipe (including EFTPOS equipment, handrails, tables, countertops, doorknobs and sinks)
  • there is a checklist showing the gym is being cleaned regularly.

You can ask the business about their cleaning policy and observe whether you see this in practice.

Only you can decide whether you wish to take the risk of entering the premises.

Gyms and other fitness businesses should assess the safe capacity of communal facilities such as showers, change rooms and lockers.

Businesses should communicate this at the entrance and have strategies in place to reduce crowding and promote physical distancing.

Where practical, they should stagger the use of communal facilities. 

However, the safest practice is for you to change and shower at home if at all possible. 

Gyms and other fitness centres should ensure bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap and paper towels. 

In addition, they should have posters with instructions on how to wash your hands with soap and water.

NSW Health encourages contactless payment options to help protect against the transmission of COVID-19. 

According to the NSW Government checklist, gyms and other fitness businesses should provide staff training in COVID safety:

  • staying away from work when sick
  • physical distancing
  • cleaning requirements
  • managing sick clients.

They must also advise staff who have respiratory symptoms or fever to be immediately tested for COVID-19 and remain in isolation at home until they have received their result. 

Businesses should consider putting in place a process to ensure staff can access testing easily and ensure staff are aware of their leave entitlements if they are sick or required to self-quarantine.

Employers should also make staff aware of the COVIDSafe app and the benefits of the app to support contact tracing if required. The Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 must be complied with in relation to the COVIDSafe app. 

Any surfaces touched by clients should be cleaned with a detergent or disinfectant solution between each client.

You should observe this occurring and voice your concerns or leave the premises if you do not see this in place.

In some gyms cleaning wipes will be made available – the best strategy is to clean the equipment for yourself before and after use.

Gym staff should also clean areas used for high-intensity cardio classes with detergent and disinfectant after each use.

Gyms and other fitness studios should reduce the sharing of equipment where practical and ensure these are cleaned with detergent and disinfectant between use. 

They should also make detergent/disinfectant and gloves accessible for visitors to use, should visitors wish to use them. 

While businesses should play their part in making their facility COVID-safe, it also up to us to take responsibility for our own health and safety. You should wipe down all gym equipment before and after you use it with disinfectant wipes or detergent. 

Gyms, dance studios, martial arts centres and other fitness businesses are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan. They should also have processes in place, where reasonably practicable, to keep a record of the name and a mobile number or email address for all staff, clients, visitors and volunteers for a period of at least four weeks. 

They should ensure records are used only for the purposes of tracing COVID-19 infections and are stored confidentially and securely.

In addition, businesses should cooperate with NSW Health if contacted in relation to a positive case of COVID-19 at their premises to help stop transmission. 

Download the COVIDSafe app and keep it running if possible.

Last updated: 1 July 2020

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