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Four square metre rule

How to apply the 4 square metre and 2 square metre rules to calculate the maximum number of people allowed at a venue.

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Changes to rules for outdoor dining

From Friday 16 October 2020, a 2 square metre rule will apply to outdoor areas at hospitality venues that have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Maximum number of people

Significant event

You must have the right COVID-19 Safety Plan for your venue and event. Penalties apply for breaching public health orders.

There are specific limits on the number of people who can attend a significant event which includes a corporate event, religious service, funeral or memorial service (or gathering afterwards), and wedding (or gathering afterwards).

The maximum number of people for a significant event is 1 person per 4 square metres of space, subject to a cap of:

  • 300 people for a corporate event
  • 300 people for a religious service at a place of worship
  • 100 people for a funeral or memorial service or a gathering after a funeral or memorial service
  • 150 people for a wedding or a gathering after a wedding

If a significant event is held at a hospitality venue the 2 square metre rule for outdoor areas will apply.

Hospitality venues

Electronic entry recording is mandatory at hospitality venues from Monday 23 November 2020.

Electronic entry recording includes QR codes or electronic membership cards.

You must have the right COVID-19 Safety Plan for your venue and event. Penalties apply for breaching public health orders.

The maximum number of people you are allowed is:

  • one person per 4 square metres of space in indoor areas, plus one person per 2 square metres of space in outdoor areas
  • up to a total of 300 persons.

If you have two or more separate areas, this maximum applies per separate area.

Responsibilities of occupiers

Occupiers of premises must follow the rules to calculate the capacity of a venue if required under the public health orders.

The 4 square metre rule does not apply to premises that are places of residence, caravan parks and camping grounds, holiday homes and short-term rentals, certain commercial vessels or certain essential gatherings.

Learn more about what you can and can't do under the rules.

How the rules work

The rules help to determine the maximum number of people who can be on a premises. It does not determine the distance between people.

Physical distancing means reducing the close physical contact we have with people and staying 1.5 metres away from people we don't live with.

NSW Health recommends physical distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. People living in the same household do not need to be 1.5 metres from each other.

Occupiers of premises should consider how their COVID-19 Safety Plan will allow customers to practice physical distancing.

For community safety, encourage physical distancing

Physical distancing means staying 1.5m from another person

Calculating the number of people for the size of your premises

Who to include in your calculations

When you are working out the maximum number of people allowed on the premises, do not include people who are working on the premises.

For food and drink businesses, do not include people who are ordering or collecting orders that will not be consumed on the premises.

What to include in your measurement

To work out the maximum number of people allowed on your premises at any one time, use the relevant calculation for the size of your floor space.

  • Premises up to 200 square metres in total: include the whole area in your calculation.
  • Premises more than 200 square metres in total: only include publicly accessible areas in your calculation. Generally, a publicly accessible area is an area where customers are allowed. This includes entry points, browsing areas and walkways, waiting rooms, and restrooms. It does not include staff-only areas such as offices.

Calculate your area

  1. Measure the length of your space.
  2. Measure the width of your space.
  3. Multiply the length by the width to calculate the area in square metres.
  4. Divide the area of your space (calculated in square metres) by 4 to calculate the maximum number of people allowed.

 

Number of people 4 square metres
Minimum space required
2 square metres
Minimum space required
1 4 square metres 2 square metres
10 40 square metres 20 square metres
20 80 square metres 40 square metres
30 120 square metres 60 square metres
40 160 square metres 80 square metres
50 200 square metres 100 square metres
60 240 square metres 120 square metres
70 280 square metres 140 square metres
80 320 square metres 160 square metres
90 360 square metres 180 square metres
100 400 square metres 200 square metres

Example

  • Length = 8.25 metres
  • Width = 10.6 metres
  • Square metres: 8.25 x 10.6 = 87.45
  • Maximum number of people using 4 square metre rule: 87.45 ÷ 4 = 21 people
  • Maximum number of people using 2 square metre rule: 87.45 ÷ 2 = 43 people

Gatherings excluded from the 4 square metre rule

The 4 square metre rule does not apply to normal operations for the following activities and premises which are considered essential gatherings.

  1. Airports
  2. Transport, including in vehicles or at truck stops, stations, platforms or stops or other public transport facilities
  3. Hospitals and other medical or health service facilities
  4. Emergency services and emergency services training
  5. Prisons, correctional facilities, youth justice centres or other custody facilities
  6. Disability or aged care facilities
  7. Courts and tribunals
  8. Parliament
  9. Supermarkets, grocery stores, shopping centres and markets that mostly sell food, but not other retail businesses
  10. Office buildings, farms, factories, warehouses, commercial vessels (excluding vessels providing tours or hosting functions or parties), commercial fishing operations, mining or construction sites
  11. Schools, universities, other educational institutions or childcare facilities, excluding events that involve members of the community in addition to staff and students
  12. Hotels, motels or other accommodation facilities
  13. Outdoor space for the purposes of transiting through the place such as Pitt Street Mall or Parramatta Square
  14. Food banks and other services that assist vulnerable and homeless people
  15. Early education and care facilities

For more detail, see the public health orders

Last updated: 23 November 2020

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