Skip to main content

Square metres rules

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

On this page

Responsibilities of occupiers

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

The square metres rules do not apply to premises that are

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


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

Gatherings excluded from the square metres rules

The square metres rules do 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:
Top of page