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What you can and can't do under the rules

Follow the rules around gatherings, and stay safe whether you are working, visiting family and friends, or going out.

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Recent and upcoming changes

Outdoor gatherings

From Friday 23 October 2020,  up to 30 people can gather in an outdoor public place.

Protests

From Friday 23 October 2020, a protest or demonstration about governmental or political matters of no more than 500 people will be permitted in an outdoor public place. The person principally responsible for organising the protest or demonstration must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan

Hospitality venues

From Friday 23 October 2020, hospitality venues such as restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs can take group bookings of up to 30 customers per booking and up to 30 customers per table. This excludes weddings, funerals and corporate events which have specific rules for the number of people who can attend.

Religious gatherings

From Friday 23 October, places of worship and religious services can have up to 300 people, subject to the 4 square metre rule, provided a COVID-19 Safety Plan is in place. There are separate requirements for weddings and for funerals and memorial services.

Gyms – safety marshals

From Friday 23 October, gyms will be required to have a COVID-19 safety hygiene marshal on duty only when there are more than 20 people in the gym at one time. 

Weddings can include up to 300 guests

From 1 December 2020, the number of people who can attend a wedding increases to 300 people subject to the four square metre rule indoors and two square metre rule outdoors.

Travellers arriving from New Zealand

From Friday 16 October, you do not need to enter mandatory quarantine when you fly from New Zealand into NSW, if you have not been in a New Zealand COVID-19 hotspot in the past 14 days. Check local requirements prior to travelling. 

Follow the rules and keep our community safe

The best way to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19 is to

Learn more

Visitors allowed at a residence and outdoor gatherings

Up to 20 visitors may visit another household at any one time. The total number of visitors includes adults and children. (A member of the household is not counted as a visitor.)

  • There is no daily limit to visitors to your home, so long as you do not 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.  
  • You can have guests from any household so long as it does not exceed 20 visitors in total. 
  • An overnight stay as part of a visit to someone’s house is allowed.

If there are more than 20 visitors at a home, every person will be held individually responsible for a breach of the public health order.

As the home is a high transmission area, the NSW Chief Health Officer strongly recommends a COVID-Safe precautionary approach of having no more than 10 visitors at a time. 

Strata buildings

Visit NSW Fair Trading for information for people living and working in strata and community schemes.

People who are not counted as visitors

Under the public health orders, some people at your home will not be counted as visitors if they need to be at your home to 

  • engage in work

  • provide childcare

  • fulfil responsibilities as a carer

  • provide a service, care or assistance to a vulnerable person or for compassionate reasons 

  • fulfil contact arrangements between parents and children under the age of 18 or between siblings 

  • help a member of the household to move in or out of the home 

  • avoid an injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm 

  • assist in an emergency situation.  

A COVID-19 Safety Plan is required by real estate agents to allow people to view or inspect a home to buy or rent it or to attend an auction. People attending a home for this purpose will not be counted as visitors.

People who are at higher risk

People who are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection include:

  • people aged 70 years and over
  • people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions
  • people with a compromised immune system
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions.

If you are in one of these groups, follow the guidance for vulnerable people.

Under the public health order, there are restrictions on people from different households meeting up together in a public place as defined in the Summary Offences Act 1988.

No more than 30 people can gather outside in a public place which includes public parks, reserves, beaches, public gardens and spaces. 

Under the order, a public gathering means a meeting or assembly of persons for a common purpose in a public place. 

The maximum of 30 people does not apply to

Under the public health order, a significant event means a corporate event, funeral or memorial service, a wedding service, or a gathering following a funeral or memorial service or wedding service.

If you are organising a significant event that is permitted to be held in a public park, a reserve or a public garden, you must complete and register a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

The number of people you can have at your event will depend on the type of event.

See the separate advice that applies for

Weddings, funerals and religious services

You can have a maximum of 150 people at a wedding or a gathering following a wedding service, subject to the 4 square metre rule. You must complete and register a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your event.

Up to 20 people in the wedding party are permitted on the dance floor. There cannot be rotation of people on the dance floor beyond the official wedding party. 

People attending will be required to provide their name and contact details so that they can be used for contact tracing.

For outdoor weddings at a hospitality venue

If a wedding or gathering following a wedding is held at a hospitality venue in an outdoor area and there is electronic entry recording, you may have up to 150 people and apply the one person per 2 square metre rule.  You must complete and register a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your event.

Increase to the number of guests from 1 December 2020

The number of people who can attend a wedding will increase to 300 people from Tuesday 1 December 2020, subject to the 4 square metre rule indoors and 2 square metre rule for outdoors.

The maximum number of people who may attend a funeral or memorial service or a gathering following a funeral or memorial service, is the lesser of one person per 4 square metres or 100 people. Funerals at outdoor public places or a place of residence are subject to the same limits.

Places of public worship, funeral homes and crematoria must also be registered as a COVID Safe business.

People attending the service will be required to supply their name and contact details so that they can be used for contact tracing.

Read common questions about attending funerals, memorial services and wakes and find out about COVID-19 Safety Plans for

For outdoor services at a hospitality venue

If a funeral or memorial service, or gathering following a service is held at a hospitality venue in an outdoor area and there is electronic entry recording, you may have up to 100 people and apply the one person per 2 square metre rule.  You must complete and register a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your event.

The number of people in a place of public worship is subject to the 4 square metre rule and must not exceed 300 people.

The maximum applies to the whole of the venue, even where men and women worship in separate areas.

The venue must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and be registered as a COVID Safe venue to keep staff, volunteers and visitors safe.

For religious services held at a location other than a place of public worship, the principal organiser is responsible for developing and complying with a COVID-19 Safety Plan. 

If a place of public worship has separate buildings, the maximum number of people in each separate building is subject to the 4 square metre rule and the requirements of the public health order to a maximum of 300 people. 

If there are separate buildings, each building should have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.

The maximum number of people at a religious service (not including weddings and funerals) wherever held must not exceed 300 people, subject to the 4 square metre rule.

A wedding held in a place of public worship may only have up to 150 people (300 people from 1 December 2020) subject to the 4 square metre rule.

A funeral or memorial service held in a place of public worship may only have up to 100 people subject to the 4 square metre rule.

People attending a religious service will be required to provide their name and contact details when they enter so that they can be used for contact tracing. It is strongly recommended that people attending services in places of worship wear a mask.

Develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your church, meeting house, mosque, synagogue, temple or another place of worship to help your community connect safely.

Services can be streamed or recorded to enable people to engage in worship.

Hospitality venues, events and musical activities

Venue operators must generally ensure there are at least 4 square metres of space for each person on the premises.

Hospitality venues that use electronic entry recording may apply the one person per 2 square metre rule for outdoor areas. 

The capacity at the venue must not exceed the maximum allowed for the venue.

See the COVID-19 Safety Plans developed especially for:

Find out more about

Group singing and chanting remains a high-risk activity for transmission should someone involved be infected.

In order to mitigate this risk, a small group of up to 5 people may

  • sing together in one area if all singers face forwards and not towards each other
  • have physical distancing of 1.5 metres between each other and any other performers, and
  • 5 metres distancing from all other people in front including the audience and conductor.

Group singing of up to 5 people should only take place in a large, well-ventilated (preferably outdoor) setting.

Primary and preschool

In primary school and preschool settings, in-class educational activities such as group repetition, chanting, recitation or singing may occur, provided this takes place outdoors or in a well-ventilated indoor environment.

Teachers and any other adults present must maintain 1.5 metres physical distancing for these in-class educational activities.

This activity is permitted due to the importance of these activities in children’s education and development, and the lower transmission risk between primary students.

Musical groups

Musical instrument ensembles may continue.

Players of non-reeded woodwind instruments (such as flutes and recorders) should maintain

  • a physical distance of 3 metres from others in the direction of air flow, and
  • 1.5 metres in all other directions.

Players of all other musical instruments (including reeded woodwind instruments) should maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres between each other and the audience/conductor.

Ensembles and other musical groups should rehearse and perform outdoors or in large, well-ventilated indoor spaces.

More information

See the NSW Health advice for school communities

Businesses that prepare and serve food and drink to customers on the premises or for takeaway need to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

From Friday 23 October there is generally a maximum of 30 people for a group booking and 30 people at a table at a hospitality venue, which includes casinos, food and drink premises, micro-breweries, small distilleries, pubs, registered clubs and small bars.

For detailed advice, business owners should refer to the COVID-19 Safety Plan for their venue type.

Penalties apply to venues found to breach the public health order rules.

For premises using electronic entry recording 

Hospitality venues that use electronic entry recording (such as QR codes) may calculate the maximum number of people on their premises as the lesser of:

For hospitality venues with more than one separate area, this maximum applies per separate area.

Significant events held at outdoor hospitality venues that use electronic entry recording may apply the one person per 2 square metres rule. The events are still subject to a maximum of

  • 300 people for corporate events
  • 150 people for weddings (300 people from Tuesday 1 December 2020)
  • 100 people for funerals and memorial services.

A corporate event is an event, hospitality or social activity organised, held or funded by a business or other organisation for staff, clients or stakeholders. 

The maximum number of people who can attend a corporate event cannot exceed 300 people or one person per 4 square metres, whichever is the lesser.

Future bookings exceeding the maximum number can be taken, providing the organiser complies with the rules in force at the time of the event.

Learn about the COVID-19 Safety Plan for conferences, functions and corporate events.

For outdoor corporate events at a hospitality venue

If a corporate event is held at a hospitality venue in an outdoor area and there is electronic entry recording, you may have up to 300 people and apply the one person per 2 square metre rule. You must complete and register a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your event.

Music performances and rehearsals can be held outdoors with a maximum of 500 people if

  • the person principally responsible for organising the rehearsal or performance develops and complies with a COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • all participants provide their contact details (name and phone number or email) where practicable.

  • Outdoor musical performances and rehearsals of up to 500 people are permitted if they meet the requirements of the COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • Music festivals within the meaning of the Music Festivals Act 2019 and including a music festival of more than 500 people but less than 2000 people, are not permitted.
  • Premises are not currently able to operate as nightclubs.

Under the public health order, an entertainment facility means a theatre, cinema, music hall, concert hall, dance hall and the like, but does not include a pub or registered club.

Entertainment facilities must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and can sell tickets for seated events at 50% of capacity, to a maximum of 1000 tickets, or they can use the 4 square metre rule to calculate capacity with no maximum number of people.

Events must be ticketed with ticketholders assigned to a seating area for the 50% capacity calculation to be used.

Alternatively, entertainment facilities may allow one person per 4 square metres on the premises, with no maximum capacity. 

Sport and recreation

Community sporting activities are allowed, including training sessions and contact activities.

A maximum of 20 people per class applies to gym and recreation classes such as yoga, tai chi and pilates.

For community sporting activities that involve more than 30 participants, the organiser must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan for community sporting competitions and full training activities.

  • Participants include players, people who are training, officials and spectators.
  • More than one parent may attend community sporting activities if physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres can be maintained between people that are not from the same household.
  • The maximum number of participants at a community sporting activity must not exceed 500 participants.
  • Record keeping for spectators must take place for all ticketed community sporting activities where this is practical.
  • See the latest advice for minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission if you're a community sports player or spectator.

Gyms must be registered as COVID Safe and have a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal present when there are more than 20 people using the gym at the same time.

  • The gym COVID Safety Plan applies to any gym that is an indoor recreation facility which is open to members of the public. This includes gyms that are in a hotel or workplace.
  • A gym does not include a dance, yoga, pilates, gymnastics or martial arts studio.

  • A maximum of 20 people per class applies to gym and recreation classes such as yoga, tai chi and pilates.

If a gym is not open to members of the public, such as a gym in residential premises, for example a home or an apartment building, these requirements do not apply.

Under the public health order, a major recreation facility means a building or place used for large-scale sporting or recreation activities that are attended by large numbers of people whether regularly or periodically, and includes theme parks, sports stadiums, showgrounds, racecourses and motor racing tracks.

Major recreation facilities

  • must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • are permitted to have up to 25% of normal capacity of the venue or 10,000 persons (whichever is lesser)
  • can admit ticketholders providing each person has been assigned to a seating area.

The 4 square metre rule applies to certain areas within major recreation facilities such as food and drink premises.

Where a major recreation facility is not hosting a ticketed and seated event, it can admit up to 500 people, or one person per 4 square metres (whichever is lesser).

Travel and holidays

If you're planning a trip, see the latest advice about travel and transport advice.

NSW-Victoria border restrictions

The NSW Government has temporarily closed the NSW-Victoria border‬. Under the public health order, anyone who has been in Victoria within the last 14 days must not enter NSW except in special circumstances. 

Learn more about

There are no limitations on people who live in NSW travelling within NSW.

For a holiday home or short term rental, the four square metre rule does not apply.

Up to 20 people may stay in a holiday home or holiday rental. More than 20 people can stay in a holiday home or holiday rental if they are all members of the same household.

If you are visiting a national park camping ground you must book ahead.

Learn more about

From 12.01am Friday 16 October, if you have been in New Zealand for the past 14 days, you do not need to enter mandatory quarantine when you fly into NSW.

If you arrived before 16 October and are already in quarantine, you must complete your quarantine period.

If NSW Health considers you an unacceptable COVID-19 health risk then you may be required to enter quarantine or leave Australia.

International travellers arriving in NSW will be charged for their hotel quarantine accommodation. This does not apply to travellers flying into NSW who have been in New Zealand for the previous 14 days.

Learn more about the cost of quarantine for international travellers.

Current restrictions on businesses

See the COVID-19 Safety Plan that applies to your business for guidance on 

  • whether a COVID-19 Safety Plan is required or recommended for your venue or event
  • who is responsible for the COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • whether you need to register as a COVID safe venue
  • when to apply the one person per 4 square metre rule and one person per 2 square metre rule
  • the maximum number of people permitted at specific venues and events.
If changes have been introduced for your industry since you last prepared a COVID-19 Safety Plan, see the latest version for new requirements.

Under the rules, employers must allow employees to work from home where it is reasonably practical to do so.

COVID-19 Safety Plans

Category Industry
  All other industries
Accommodation, holidays and tourism Caravan parks and camping grounds
Hotels and accommodation
Tours
Arts, entertainment and venues Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, drive-in cinemas
Community centres and halls
Function centres 
Functions and corporate events
Libraries
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
Parties
Places of worship and religious gatherings
Outdoor protests
School formals
School graduation ceremonies
Wedding ceremonies and receptions
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
Agriculture
Agricultural workers - border controls
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
Gyms
Indoor recreation, yoga, pilates and dance studios, martial arts training facilities
Major recreation facilities, stadiums, showgrounds, racecourses
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

Public health orders, record keeping and penalties

To deal with the public health risk of COVID-19 and its possible consequences, the Minister for Health and Medical Research has made a number of orders, under section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010:

Visit NSW  Legislation: COVID-19 related legislation for current orders, amendments and exemptions.

Where a person is required to record contact details under the current public health order, the person must:

  • record and keep the name and contact details (either a phone number or email address) and time of entry of every person including staff, customers (unless only collecting takeaway) and contractors, entering their premises for a period of at least 28 days
  • ensure the information recorded is stored confidentially and securely and only used for the purpose of tracing COVID-19 infections
  • on request, provide the information to the Chief Health Officer as soon as practicable and not later than 12 hours after the request is made.

Electronic entry recording for hospitality venues is strongly encouraged. 

Breach of orders made under the Public Health Act 2010 is a criminal offence and attracts heavy penalties.

In the case of an individual, the maximum penalty is $11,000, or imprisonment for 6 months, or both and a further $5500 penalty may apply for each day the offence continues. The NSW Police may also issue on-the-spot fines of $1000 for an offence.

In the case of any corporation, the maximum penalty is $55,000 and a further $27,500 penalty may apply for each day the offence continues.

Penalties apply to people who intentionally spit at or cough on 

  • a public official
  • another worker while the worker is at work or travelling to or from work

in a way that would reasonably be likely to cause fear about the spread of COVID-19.

You can report any person failing to follow these rules to Crime Stoppers.

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