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Four square metre rule

How the four square metre rule applies to premises under public health orders and how to calculate the maximum number of people allowed at a venue.

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The 4 square metre rule helps 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 one another and staying 1.5 metres away from people we don't live with.   

Allow 1 person per 4 square metres

4 square metre rule

Responsibilities of occupiers

Occupiers of premises must follow the 4 square metre rule (one person per four square metres) if required under the public health order.

This rule does not apply to premises that are places of residence, caravan parks and camping grounds, holiday homes and short-term rentals, major recreation facilities, certain commercial vessels or certain essential gatherings.

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

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.

Premises should consider how they can allow customers or groups of 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.

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 room (calculated in square metres) by 4 to calculate the maximum number of people allowed.


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


  • Length = 8.25 metres
  • Width = 10.6 metres
  • Square metres: 8.25 x 10.6 = 87.45
  • Maximum number of people: 87.45 ÷ 4 = 21

Gatherings excluded from 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 Schedule 2 of the public health order: Exempted Gatherings

Last updated: 1 July 2020

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