- 1 Brisbane restrictions
- 2 How many people can I have over at my house?
- 3 When do I need to wear a mask?
- 4 How many people can gather outside?
- 5 Can I visit someone in an aged care facility?
- 6 Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe or pub?
- 7 How far can I travel on holiday within my state?
- 8 Can I visit another state?
- 9 How many people can attend a wedding or funeral?
- 10 Can I go to my place of worship?
- 11 Are schools back in session?
- 12 Are salons, spas and other beauty services open?
- 13 What about cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries and open houses?
- 14 Can I go to the gym? What else can I do for exercise?
- 15 Who decides if I am breaking the new laws?
- 16 What are my options for challenging a fine?
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Australian states and territories have different levels of restrictions to contain Covid-19.
Here we answer some common questions about restrictions in each state, based on the information available as of 19 January.
This article should not be treated as legal advice. It will be updated as restrictions are announced, implemented or repealed.
The Queensland government lifted a lockdown for greater Brisbane on 11 January, but some restrictions remain in place for anyone who has visited the area since 2 January.
Those restrictions include wearing masks in indoor places like shopping centres and supermarkets, gyms and places of worship and libraries.
Indoor venues are restricted to one person per four square metres and outdoor venues are restricted to one person per two square metres. Up to 20 people will be allowed in homes and public spaces and up to 100 guests at weddings and funerals.
These restrictions will be in place until 22 January. Full details are on the Queensland Health website.
How many people can I have over at my house?
New South Wales: residences in greater Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong are allowed a maximum of five visitors. In the rest of the state, people are allowed a maximum of 50 visitors in their homes at a time. However NSW Health strongly recommends having no more than 30 visitors at a time if the residence has no outdoor area. If there are more than 50 visitors at a home, every person can be held individually responsible for a breach of the public health order.
Victoria: you can have up to 15 visitors to your home each day.
Queensland: in greater Brisbane you can have 20 people in a home, including those who live there. Everyone else in Queensland can have up to 50 people inside their home.
Tasmania: a maximum of 100 people are allowed to gather at residential premises (including shacks) whether inside or outside.
Western Australia: there is no limit to the number of guests you are allowed as long as there is no more than one person per 2 sq metres.
South Australia: gatherings in private homes are limited to 50 people. All gatherings must observe the density requirements of one person per 2 sq metres.
Northern Territory: there is no limit on how many people can gather indoors or outdoors, but physical distancing is required. Gatherings of more than 100 require the completion of a Covid-19 checklist.
ACT: there is no limit on visitors.
When do I need to wear a mask?
States and territories have agreed that anyone catching domestic or international flights must wear a mask on the plane and in the airport. Some states have additional mask-wearing requirements to control outbreaks.
New South Wales: in the greater Sydney area, it is mandatory to wear masks in many indoor settings, including shops, public transport and places of worship. You must also wear a mask at the SCG for the third Test and A-league games.
Victoria: from 18 January, masks no long need to be worn in all public indoor settings. They must still be worn on public transport, in a taxi or ride sharing vehicle, in shopping centres and large retail stores.
Queensland: for anyone who has visited greater Brisbane since 2 January, masks must be worn in indoor places including shopping centres, gyms and on public transport until 22 January. .
How many people can gather outside?
New South Wales: public gatherings in greater Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong of up to 30 people are allowed. In regional NSW, public gatherings of 100 people are allowed. This limit does not apply if the group of people are all from the same household or if it is a controlled outdoor event.
Victoria: up to 100 people from any number of households can gather outside. 1.5 metres should be maintained between yourself and others not from your household.
Queensland: in greater Brisbane, the same restrictions on indoor gatherings apply to outdoor settings which means a maximum of 20 people, including those who live with you. Everywhere else in the state public gatherings are restricted to a maximum of 100; this does not apply to businesses operating with a Covid-safe plan.
Tasmania: up to 250 people are allowed in an undivided indoor space and up to 1,000 in an outdoor space, as long as there is at least 2 sq metres of space per person.
Western Australia: there is no limit on the number allowed at public gatherings as long as there is at least 2 sq metres of space per person.
South Australia: gatherings at public places are capped at 50, with density requirements of one person every 4 sq metres.
Northern Territory: there are no limits but you should maintain physical distancing. Gatherings of more than 100 will require completion of a Covid-19 checklist.
ACT: up to 500 people can gather together outdoors as long as 2 sq metres of space per person is maintained. If people wish to hold gatherings of greater than 500 people, they must seek an exemption in accordance with the COVID Safe Event Protocol.
Can I visit someone in an aged care facility?
Visitors cannot enter an aged care facility in any state if they have recently been overseas, been in recent contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, or feel unwell.
New South Wales: NSW Health provides guidelines for residential aged care facilities. No visitors are allowed at greater Sydney aged care facilities, except for visitors performing essential care functions, until 11.59pm on Wednesday 6 January. People from greater Sydney also cannot visit regional aged care facilities. There are no restrictions on people from regional areas visiting regional aged care facilities, unless they have been in a Covid hotspot, have Covid symptoms or are a close contact of someone who has Covid.
Victoria: there are no longer any restrictions on visits to care facilities in Victoria. People of any age can visit residents for as long as desired, as long as the rules set by the facility are followed. Face masks must still be worn.
Queensland: no visitors are allowed to aged care facilities and hospitals in the greater Brisbane area. In the rest of the state, residents can have as many visitors as the facility allows, but people who have been in Victoria on or after 21 December 2020 are not allowed to enter residential aged care facilities unless 14 days have passed since they were in Victoria. Employees, contractors, students, volunteers and support persons who have been in Victoria on or after 21 December 2020 may enter a residential aged care facility if the individual obtains a negative Covid-19 test in Queensland after returning from Victoria.
Tasmania: residents can have up to two visitors at one time. There is no limit on the number of visits in a day or the length of each visit. Residents are allowed to go outside on trips, and hairdressers can be allowed in. Additional visitors are allowed for end of life support, or if needed to reduce distress and confusion given a resident’s medical condition.
Western Australia: each resident can have one care and support visit a day, with up to two visitors at a time. Only immediate social supports, such as family and close friends, professional help or advocacy services can attend.
South Australia: people from NSW and people who have been in Covid hotspots are not permitted to visit SA aged care facilities. Aside from that, up to two people can visit at the same time for care and support. There is no limit to the length of each visit. Workers must wear a mask where physical distancing isn’t possible, and they can work at only one site.
Northern Territory: residents can have up to two visitors at a time. There is no limit on the number of visits in a day or the length of each visit.
ACT: residents can be visited by up to two people at a time. There is no limit on the number of visits in a day or the length of each visit.
Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe or pub?
New South Wales: yes, as long as venues observe the 4 sq metre per person rule up to a cap of 300 for each separate area at any time. All diners must provide name and contact details, including a phone number or email address, for contact tracing. Food courts have reopened.
Victoria: there are specific directions for differently sized indoor venues. Venues are capped subject to a density rule of one person per 2 sq metres, with no other cap. There are no longer any group booking limitations.
Queensland: Restaurants and cafes in greater Brisbane can reopen with one person per 4 sq metres, except for businesses with a floor space less than 200 sq metres which can have one person per 2 sq metres, up to 50 at a time. Diners must remain seated. Elsewhere in the state, restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered clubs, RSL clubs and hotels with a Covid-safe checklist can seat any number of patrons as long as the 2 sq metre per person limit is observed.
Tasmania: up to 250 are allowed in an undivided space as long as there is no more than one person every 2 sq metres. Up to 1,000 people are allowed in an undivided outdoor space, density requirements permitting.
Western Australia: cafes and restaurants (including in pubs, bars, hotels, casinos, clubs) can open to up to seated diners, with one person every 2 sq metres. There is no requirement for businesses to maintain a patron register, but they must display a COVID Safety Plan Certificate in a prominent location visible to patrons.
South Australia: restaurants, cafes, pubs, food courts, nightclubs and casinos have density requirements of one person per 2 sq metres.
Northern Territory: all businesses can reopen as long as they have a Covid plan.
ACT: restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues offering seated dining can host up to one person per 4 sq metres. Venues can register to host one person per 2 sq metres.
How far can I travel on holiday within my state?
Can I visit another state?
New South Wales: anyone can enter NSW.
Victoria: a permit system is in place for travel to Victoria from all parts of Australia. It is based on a traffic light system where different areas are classified red, orange and green. From 18 January most of greater Sydney, plus Wollongong and the Blue Mountains, was downgraded to orange which means people in these areas are able to travel to Victoria. They’ll need to get a test on arrival and self-isolate until receiving a negative result.
Ten NSW local government areas remain in the red zone. They are: Blacktown, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Inner West, Liverpool, Parramatta and Strathfield. People in these areas cannot travel to Victoria without an exemption.
Queensland: the Queensland border is open to all states and territories, unless you have been in a Covid hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter). Currently 35 local government areas covering Sydney, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains. Anyone travelling to Queensland who has been in NSW at any time since 1am Friday 11 December must complete a Queensland Border Declaration Pass before they enter Queensland.
Tasmania: Travellers who have been in high risk locations, which currently includes greater Brisbane and greater Sydney, are required to quarantine for 14 days either at a suitable premises or in government-designated quarantine (fees can apply). You can apply for an exemption as an essential traveller for critical work, health, compassionate or other reasons.
There are no restrictions on Tasmanians travelling to other states and territories.
Western Australia: travellers from medium risk states are not permitted to enter without an exemption through G2G PASS. If permitted entry, you must self-quarantine at a suitable premises for 14 days. If a suitable premises is not available, you will be directed to a government-approved quarantine facility at your own expense. Travellers from low risk states are allowed to enter with a G2G PASS, but must quarantine for 14 days as above. Travellers from very low risk states are allowed to enter with a G2G PASS without the need to quarantine.
South Australia: anyone travelling to SA must complete a cross-border travel registration. People arriving from greater Brisbane will need have a coronavirus test but will no longer have to quarantine. People from greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast are not allowed to enter, but people from the rest of NSW can go to SA. They must have a coronavirus test on days one, five and 12 after arrival.
Northern Territory: you can enter provided you fill out a border entry form up to 72 hours before arrival and present it upon entry. You will be required to legally declare you have not been in an area the state considers a Covid-19 hotspot in the past 28 days. Parts of Sydney are currently deemed a hotspot, although the greater Brisbane area is no longer considered one. Penalties of up to $5,000 and up to three years in prison apply for providing misleading information. Arrivals from a hotspot area must go into 14 days supervised quarantine at the traveller’s expense.
ACT: Ten local government areas in greater Sydney are considered hotspots by the ACT, meaning if you have been in one of the Covid-affected areas in the last two weeks, you will need to quarantine for 14 days. Northern beaches was removed from that list on 19 January. There are no restrictions on travel to other states and territories.
How many people can attend a wedding or funeral?
New South Wales: up to 100 can attend a wedding, subject to the 4 sq metre rule indoors and 2 sq metre rule outdoors. For weddings, up to 20 people in the wedding party are permitted on the dance floor. This applies only to members of the official wedding party and dancers cannot be rotated or substituted throughout the celebration. Funerals can be attended by up to 100 providing there is at least 4 sq metre per person. This applies to indoor and outdoor ceremonies. Those attending will have to provide name and contact details. In greater Sydney – which includes the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains – singing and chanting is not allowed at any indoor venue.
Victoria: Weddings and funerals are subject to a one person per two square metres density rule, with no other caps. A wedding or funeral held at a private residence is limited to up to 15 people. The four-square metre rule must be applied to limit the number of people on the dance floor and there can only be up to 50 people on the dance floor at one time, if space allows.
Queensland: in greater Brisbane, weddings and funerals are limited to 100 guests. Outside of the affected area, up to 200 can attend weddings and funerals at a professional venue or private residence as long as a Covidsafe plan is in place. Private wedding services in public areas or private homes can have up to 100 people in outdoor public spaces and 50 people in private properties. A record of names and contact details of each guest must be kept for 56 days.
Tasmania: in commercial spaces, up to 250 can gather in an undivided indoor space, and up to 1,000 in an undivided outdoor space. In both cases, the number present must also not exceed one person per 2 sq metres. Up to 100 people can gather at private residences. Rules apply to the number of people allowed to consume alcohol while standing.
Western Australia: there is no limit as long as there is no more than one person every 2 sq m.
South Australia: weddings are capped at 200 for commercial premises, 50 for private residences, and all attendees must register with SA Health. Funerals are capped at 50. Density limits of one person every 2 sq metres apply to both.
Northern Territory: there is no limit but gatherings of more than 100 will be required to complete a Covid-19 checklist.
ACT: there is no cap on the number of people who can attend weddings or funerals, as long as there is no more than one person every 4 sq metres. However organisers for events for between 201 and 500 people are required to notify ACT Health and submit their COVID Safe plan (via the online form), and events over 500 will need an exemption in accordance with the COVID Safe Event Protocol. Dancing at weddings is permitted.
Can I go to my place of worship?
New South Wales: the number of people in a public place of worship must not exceed 100, and the 4 sq metre physical distancing rule must be observed. An outdoor religious service is subject to the one person per 2 sq metre rule.
Victoria: religious gatherings are subject to a one person per 2 sq metres density rule, with no other caps.
Queensland: in greater Brisbane, places of worship can have one person per 4 sq metres and visitors must wear a mask indoors. In other parts of the state, places of worship can have one person per 2 sq metres.
Tasmania: up to 250 can gather in an undivided indoor space, as long as there are 2 sq metres per person.
Western Australia: attendance is limited only by the 2 sq metre rule.
South Australia: capped at 200. Attendance is limited only by the 4 sq metre rule.
Northern Territory: there is no limit on how many can attend at the same time but social distancing should be observed.
ACT: capped at 25 people across the entire venue. If a venue wants to have more than 25 people, it can have one person per two square metres of usable space in each indoor and outdoor space (excluding staff) provided they are using the Check In CBR app.
Are schools back in session?
Students in all states and territories are currently on holidays so restrictions are not current.
Are salons, spas and other beauty services open?
Yes, hairdressers, barbers, nail waxing, tanning and beauty salons, tattoo and massage parlours have reopened across the country. Businesses must meet density limits, and, in South Australia, service providers must wear a mask. In Victoria, masks are strongly recommended for both the client and the person providing the service.
What about cinemas, entertainment venues, museums, libraries and open houses?
New South Wales: museums, galleries and libraries, National Trust and Historic Houses Trust properties are open to guests, as long as 4 sq m is allowed per person and they have a Covid-19 safety plan. For large venues attendance to a ticketed event with allocated seating must not exceed 50% of capacity. The total number of people in a major recreational facility hosting a non-ticketed or non-seated event must not exceed one person per 4 square m (excluding staff) with no maximum capacity.
Victoria: entertainment and cultural venues such as music venues, museums, indoor and outdoor cinemas, and the casino are open, subject to capacity restrictions. Night clubs are also able to reopen. Brothels and strip clubs have reopened, but must have Covid-safe plans in place and follow strict patron limits.
Queensland: libraries, museums, art galleries, historic sites, indoor cinemas, concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums, nightclubs, outdoor amusement parks, zoos and arcades can reopen with a Covidsafe plan.
Tasmania: up to 250 can attend each undivided space in indoor recreational facilities, such as libraries, arcades, play centres, cinemas, museums, national institutions, historic sites and galleries, the 2 sq metre rule permitting. Up to 1,000 are allowed in each undivided outdoor space.
Western Australia: community facilities, libraries, galleries, museums, theatres, auditoriums, cinemas and concert venues can reopen, as can Perth zoo, wildlife and amusement parks, arcades, skate rinks and indoor play centres. All venues can have as many people as the one person per 2 sq metre rule allows. There is a 50% capacity cap on major sport and entertainment venues, such as the Optus Stadium, HBF Park and RAC Arena. All events are allowed, except for large scale, multi-stage music festivals. Unseated performances can go ahead at concert halls, live music venues, bars, pubs and nightclubs, and the casino gaming floor can reopen under temporary restrictions.
South Australia: venues are open, but density requirements must be observed, with a maximum of one person per 2 sq metres allowed at cinemas, theatres, concert venues, zoos, galleries, museums and historic sites.
Northern Territory: public libraries, art galleries, museums, zoos, cinemas and theatres, music halls, nightclubs, amusement parks, community centres, stadiums, sporting facility and similar entertainment venues are open.
ACT: movie theatres, indoor amusement centres, arcades, outdoor and indoor play centres, betting agencies, outdoor amusements and attractions, community and youth centres, galleries, museums, national institutions, libraries historic sites and zoos can sell seated (when applicable) tickets at no more than 50% of capacity of each venue. There can only be one person per 2 sq metres throughout the venue as long as the venue has the Check In CBR app.
Can I go to the gym? What else can I do for exercise?
New South Wales: gyms, fitness centres and studios (such as dance studios) may open for up to 30 a class. The total in a facility must not exceed one person in 4 sq metres, excluding staff. Indoor pools and saunas have also reopened subject to the one person per 4 sq metre rule in greater Sydney and one person per 2 sq metre rule in regional NSW. Community sporting competitions and training can go ahead as long as the number in a facility does not exceed one person every 4 sq metres, excluding staff, to a maximum of 500. You can use outdoor gym equipment in public, with caution, and enjoy activities such as fishing, hunting and boating.
Victoria: Personal training is allowed and exercise in a group of up to 100 in a public place is permitted. For indoor exercise classes, the cap is 50 people. In general, gyms are subject to the one per 4 sq metre density rule when staffed and the one per 8 sq metres when unstaffed. Outdoor sport recreational facilities, such as tennis courts, golf courses or bowling greens, are open with some restrictions. Outdoor and indoor pools have opened, with restrictions on capacity.
Queensland: Gyms, health clubs, yoga studios and community sports clubs can open for up to one person per 2 sq metres. People can gather outside (capped at 20 people in greater Brisbane), play non-contact sport and participate in outdoor group training and boot camps with physical distancing. Parks, playgrounds, skateparks and pools are open with physical distancing rules.
Tasmania: gatherings are limited to 1,000 people in the outdoors of a premises for community sport and 250 for an undivided space in an indoor premises, or a maximum of one person per 2 sq metres. Indoor pools are limited to 250 people in each single undivided space, or a maximum of one person per 2 sq metres. Outdoor pools are limited to a maximum of 1,000 people in the whole outdoor area of premises, or a maximum of one person per 2 sq metres.
Western Australia: gyms, health clubs, and indoor sports centres can reopen for up to one person per 2 sq metres. Gyms can operate unstaffed but must undergo regular cleaning. Contact sport and training has recommenced, and playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment and skate parks can be used.
South Australia: sport (including sports training), fitness and recreation activities are all subject to the one person per 2 sq metres rule.
Northern Territory: gyms, fitness studios and indoor training activities such as Cross Fit are allowed. You can also officiate, participate and support team sports, such as football, basketball, soccer and netball.
ACT: gyms and fitness centres are open to up to 500 people, subject to the one person per 2 sq m if they have the Check In CBR app and 4 sq metres per person if they don’t. Full contact training for sport, dance and martial arts, as well as circuit training, is allowed.
Who decides if I am breaking the new laws?
Generally, enforcement is left up to the discretion of police officers.
States have taken different approaches. For example, the ACT says it will issue a warning while Victoria has adopted a more hardline attitude to those breaking social distancing rules.
The NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller said he would review all physical-distancing fines.
“If I think it’s unreasonable, it will be withdrawn immediately and we’ll make personal contact with the individual,” he said.
What are my options for challenging a fine?
Not all states have specified this but it appears fines can be appealed using the same process as other fines issued by police.
Information on how to lodge an appeal should be available on your state or territory’s government website.
Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Australia’s state by state Covid restrictions and coronavirus lockdown rules explained | Australia news