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What you can and can't do under the rules

Find out how public health orders affect where you can go and what is open, closed or restricted.

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Keep your distance

If you have to leave home, stay at least 1.5 metres away from others.

Look after yourself and others

Wash your hands regularly and keep in touch with family and friends by phone, social media or video calls where possible.

Family and domestic violence support

Find out what to do if it's not safe for you to stay at home. You can call our Domestic Violence Line anytime on 1800 65 64 63.

Visiting other people at home

From Friday 1 May, two adults (and any dependant children) can visit another person's home to provide care or support.

If you are feeling unwell, you should not visit other people at home. Even if you have only mild symptoms like tiredness or a sore throat, find out about testing at a COVID-19 clinic.

Read more about the two people visitation rule.

Stay at home rules

You must stay at home, unless you are going to:

  • work (where you can’t work remotely)
  • school or an educational institution
  • shop for food or other goods and services
  • medical reason or caring for others
  • exercise.

By staying home you'll help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect your community. Find out what you can and can't do at home.

You may only leave home with a reasonable excuse, including to

  • visit another household, provided the visitors include up to 2 adults and their dependant children (from Friday 1 May)
  • avoid injury or illness or escape a risk of harm

  • deal with emergencies or on compassionate grounds

  • access childcare

  • provide care or assistance (including personal care) to a vulnerable person or to provide emergency assistance

  • attend a wedding (limited to a total of 5 people) or funeral (limited to a total of 10 people, excluding the person/s necessary to conduct the funeral e.g. funeral director)

  • move to a new place of residence, or between your different places of residence (a holiday is not an acceptable reason)

  • donate blood

  • undertake legal obligations

  • access social services, employment services, services provided to victims (including as victims of crime), domestic violence services, and mental health services

  • continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children for children who do not live in the same household as their parents or one of their parents

  • if you are a priest, minister of religion or member of a religious order, go to a place of worship or to provide pastoral care.

Gatherings, behaviour and public places

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Do not gather with more than 2 people in public, except for gatherings with members of the same household.

This rule does not apply to a gathering:

  • for work purposes
  • where the gathering consists only of members of the same household
  • for a wedding or funeral (which are subject to 5 and 10 person limits)
  • to facilitate a move to a new place of residence
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to provide emergency assistance, or
  • which is an essential gathering described below.

Your place of residence is not considered a public place.
 

In a place that may remain open to the public, occupiers and operators of the premises must not:

  • allow persons to enter or stay on the premises (whether outdoor or indoor) if the size of the premises is insufficient to allow for 4 square metres of space for each person (the 4 square metre rule)
  • allow 100 or more people to enter and stay on indoor premises at the same time (the 100 person rule), and
  • allow 500 or more people to enter and stay on outdoor premises at the same time (the 500 person rule).

The 4 square metre rule and the 100 person and 500 person rules do not apply to an essential gathering.

Certain retail stores (including those in shopping centres) are required to follow the 4 square metre rule. Retail stores are not subject to the 100 person rule.

Restrictions apply to the number of people who can attend weddings and funerals at places of worship, with:

  • 5 people only for weddings 
  • 10 people only for funerals.

Gatherings for the normal business of the following places are essential gatherings

  • airports
  • transportation (including vehicles, stations, platforms and stops)
  • hospitals or other medical or health service facilities
  • emergency services
  • prisons, correctional facilities, youth justice centres or other places of custody
  • disability or aged care facilities 
  • courts or tribunals
  • Parliament
  • supermarkets, food markets or grocery stores 
  • shopping centres
  • retail stores
  • office buildings, factories, mines, farms and constructions sites
  • schools, universities, other educational institutions and child care facilities
  • hotel, motel or other accommodation facilities
  • outdoor thoroughfares.

Where a place can remain open, all people should follow NSW Health advice about social distancing and personal hygiene and always try to maintain 1.5 metres from all other people at all times. Individuals are responsible for following this advice to protect themselves but also to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

Gathering in a public place is limited to two people.

There are certain exceptions to this rule, including for a gathering:

  • for work
  • of residents from the same household
  • for a wedding (limited to a total of 5 people including the person conducting the service)
  • for a funeral (limited to a total of 10 people, not including the staff preparing and conducting the service e.g. funeral director)
  • to move into a new home or business premises
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to fulfil a legal obligation including attending a court or tribunal, satisfying bail requirements or participating in legal proceedings).

The two person rule does not apply to people travelling in cars, or gatherings at public transport stops, stations or platforms. Read more about the two people visitation rule

In a place that may remain open to the public, occupiers and operators of the premises must allow at least 4 square metres of space for each person on the premises.

The 4 square metres of space per person rule doesn’t apply in a person’s place of residence. However, people should always follow NSW Health advice regarding social distancing.

Public spaces are designed for everyone in the community to share and they are a great place to exercise and stay active.

During COVID-19 restrictions, it’s important that we use public spaces in a way that keeps everyone safe.

Enjoy our great parks and parklands for exercise but make sure you keep following the rules about social distancing.

Check your local council’s website for the latest information on parks in your area. You can also find out how some of our state parks and parklands are being managed by visiting:

COVID-19 presents a more serious risk to:

  • 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:

Additional measures have been introduced to provide you with greater protection.

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.

Gathering in a public place is limited to two people.

There are certain exceptions to this rule, including for a gathering:

  • for work
  • of residents from the same household
  • for a wedding (limited to a total of 5 people including the person conducting the service)
  • for a funeral (limited to a total of 10 people, not including the staff preparing and conducting the service e.g. funeral director)
  • to move to into a new home or business premises
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to fulfil a legal obligation including attending a court or tribunal, satisfying bail requirements or participating in legal proceedings).

The two person rule does not apply to people travelling in cars, or gatherings at public transport stops, stations or platforms.

In a place that may remain open to the public, occupiers and operators of the premises must allow at least 4 square metres of space for each person on the premises.

Public spaces are designed for everyone in the community to share and they are a great place to exercise and stay active.

During COVID-19 restrictions, it’s important that we use public spaces in a way that keeps everyone safe.

Enjoy our great parks and parklands for exercise but make sure you keep following the rules about social distancing.

Check your local council’s website for the latest information on parks in your area. You can also find out how some of our state parks and parklands are being managed by visiting:

COVID-19 presents a more serious risk to:

  • 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:

Additional measures have been introduced to provide you with greater protection.

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.

Businesses, places and services that are open, closed or restricted

Accommodation

  • Crisis and temporary accommodation
  • Disability or aged care facilities
  • Hotels, motels or other accommodation
  • Youth hostels

Education and childcare 

  • Childcare facilities are not required to close, so if your centre is open you can still take your children.
  • Schools remain open, however parents are encouraged to keep their children home where possible. No child will be turned away from a school in NSW.
  • TAFE and educational colleges
  • Universities

Food and beverages

  • Bottle shops
  • Truck stops (truck drivers and passengers can consume food and beverages on or off the premises, others must take away)

Healthcare

If you need a health service or therapy, call ahead if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or are feeling unwell.

  • Chemist
  • Doctors and medical centres
  • Hospitals
  • Pathology
  • Physiotherapy
  • Remedial or therapeutic massage services

Beauty and personal care

  • Spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons and tanning salons can only open to sell their products. This covers any business premises, regardless of whether it operates in a retail outlet or in a private home.
  • Any business providing mobile services must comply with all relevant laws, including work, health and safety and public health laws, as well as local council and planning requirements. Social distancing should be followed when visiting homes.

Auctions

  • Fibre and crop auctions
  • Auctions for food supply (including livestock auctions for food supply)

Shopping

You may leave your house to shop for food or other goods and services. This includes for pets and vulnerable people.

Volunteering

You may leave your house if needed in your role as a volunteer for a charity.

  • Foodbanks and homeless shelters have not been closed

Work

You can go to work if you cannot work from home.

Examples include:

Community facilities and cultural buildings

  • Community halls
  • Galleries, museums and libraries
  • Historic Houses Trust of NSW
  • National Trust properties

Entertainment and events

  • Betting agencies and gaming lounges
  • Cinemas and theatres
  • Concert halls, music halls and dance halls
  • Amusement centres (for billiards, pool, pinball machines or video games)

Personal services

  • Massage parlours
  • Tattoo parlours
  • Strip clubs and sex services premises

Beauty and personal care

  • Spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons and tanning salons can only open to sell their products. This covers any business premises, regardless of whether it operates in a retail outlet or in a private home.
  • Any business providing mobile services must comply with all relevant laws, including work, health and safety and public health laws, as well as local council and planning requirements. Social distancing should be followed when visiting homes.

Real estate and auction houses

  • Auction houses (excluding auctions for food supply, including livestock for food supply, or a fibre or crop auction)

Sport and recreation

  • Indoor sporting events
  • Local sporting competitions
  • Public swimming pools
  • Indoor recreation facilities (squash courts, indoor swimming pools, gyms, table tennis centres, health studios, bowling alleys and ice rinks)
  • Outside gym equipment in public places
  • Outdoor playgrounds
  • Skate parks

Accommodation

Caravan parks and camping grounds

  • Closed to the public, except for
    • people who are permanent residents or overnight travellers
    • persons working in the local area
    • persons who have no other place of permanent residence or whose primary place of residence is temporarily unavailable. 
  • If you were staying at a caravan park or camping ground before 26 March 2020 under a booking you can continue to stay until the end of that booking. 

Casinos

  • Open for accommodation only. Food and beverages can only be served to guests in their rooms.

Pubs and registered clubs

  • Open for accommodation only. Food and beverages can only be served to guests in their rooms.

Food and beverages

Takeaway food must be consumed off the premises. 

  • Cafes and restaurants
  • Shopping centre food courts
  • Pubs and registered clubs
  • Micro-breweries, small distilleries and cellar door premises
  • Truck stops (excluding truck drivers or their passengers who can consume food or beverages on or off the premises. Premises can include driver rooms, driver lounges or similar facilities located at roadhouses, roadside rest areas and service stations used by truck drivers in connection with their work)

Healthcare

Private homes

Caring for others

  • It is reasonable to leave your home or visit a home to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person. Follow social distancing and personal hygiene advice from NSW Health. 

Legal and justice

Court or tribunals

Prisons, correctional facilities, youth justice centres or other places of custody

Community Corrections

Lifts / elevators

  • Stay 1.5 metres away from others and wait for the next lift when you need to avoid overcrowding

Outdoor spaces

Personal services

  • Hairdressers and barbers: the 4 square metre rule applies within the premises and personal contact with the customer should be minimised. Either go to the hairdresser or barber alone or with one other person.
  • Spas and nail, beauty, waxing and tanning salons

  • Any business providing mobile services must comply with all relevant laws, including work, health and safety and public health laws, as well as local council and planning requirements. Social distancing should be followed when visiting homes.

Places of public worship

Weddings

  • Maximum of 5 people: the couple, celebrant and 2 witnesses

Funerals

  • Maximum of 10 people excluding the person/s necessary to conduct the service e.g. funeral director

Religious services

  • Services can be streamed or recorded as long as only the person/s conducting the service and the person/s involved in enabling it to be streamed or recorded are present

Real estate and auction houses

  • Open house inspections: private viewings by appointment only
  • Auctions for food supply (including livestock), fibre or crops can take place whether indoors or outdoors (4 square metre rule applies and auctions must comply with the gatherings rule).

Shopping

You may leave your home to shop for groceries and essentials. You may also assist vulnerable people by shopping for them.

  • Markets: food markets are open
  • Retail stores: 4 square metre rule applies in the store and you must comply with the gatherings rule and only travel to and enter the store with one other person or with members of your household

Sport and recreation

  • Exercising outdoors: you may leave your home to exercise. You must ensure you only exercise with one other person, however all members of the same household may exercise together, even when more than two people. Follow social distancing and personal hygiene advice from NSW Health. 

Travel

  • You should postpone or cancel any travel plans. See detailed travel and transport advice including regional, interstate and international travel.

Penalties for breaching orders

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.

Reporting a breach of the rules

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

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