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Square metres rules

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

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.

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Restrictions for Greater Sydney area

Check the venue restrictions that apply to the Greater Sydney area including the Blue Mountains, Northern Beaches, Central Coast and Wollongong.

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
  • on the premises because of an emergency.

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

Maximum number of people

An occupier of premises must not allow more than 25 people on the premises if the size of the premises is insufficient to ensure at least 2 square metres of space for each person.

This rule does not apply to a place of residence, holiday home or short-term rental or exempt gatherings.

See the capacity rules outlined for specific activities and premises in the COVID-19 Safety Plans including

What to include in your measurement

In calculating the space available for each person on any premises, only the areas that are open to the public are to be included in the calculations.

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 2 square metres rule: 87.45 ÷ 2 = 43 people
  • Maximum number of people using 4 square metres rule: 87.45 ÷ 4 = 21 people

COVID-19 Safety Plans

Category Industry
  All other industries
Accommodation, holidays and tourism Caravan parks and camping grounds
Hotels and accommodation
Arts, entertainment and venues Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, drive-in cinemas
Community centres and halls
Controlled outdoor events 
Function centres 
Functions and conferences
Markets: artisan, clothing, craft (non-food)
Museums and galleries
Outdoor music rehearsal and performance 
Theme parks and amusement centres
Ceremonies and events Funerals, memorial services and wakes
Controlled outdoor events
Places of worship and religious gatherings
Outdoor protests
School formals
School graduation ceremonies
Wedding ceremonies and receptions
Health services General practice and other primary health service providers
Hospitality Pubs, clubs, bars, breweries and casinos
Restaurants, cafes and food courts
Manufacturing, warehouses and offices Manufacturing and warehousing
Office environment (including call centres)
Personal services Beauty and other services
Sex on premises venues
Sex services
Strip clubs
Food services and agriculture Abattoirs and meat processing
Food processing
Retail and grocery
Property and construction Auctions and open houses
Construction and tradespeople
Sport and recreation Betting agencies
Community sporting competitions and full training activities
Indoor recreation, yoga, pilates and dance studios, martial arts training facilities
Major recreation facilities, stadiums, showgrounds, racecourses
Regional agricultural shows
Swimming pools, saunas and spas
Zoos, reptile parks and aquariums
Transport and boating Commercial vessels
Maritime operations
Party buses
Taxis, hire cars and ride share services
Transport freight and logistics operations

Gatherings exempted 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


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