How far can you drive and what are the travel and border restrictions in Victoria, NSW and Queensland? How many people can you have over at your house in Tasmania, ACT, SA, WA or NT? Untangle Australia’s Covid-19 laws and guidelines with our guide
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Australians have been slowly emerging from Covid-19 lockdowns since the federal government announced a three-stage plan in May to ease restrictions across the country.
It is up to each state and territory to decide when and how far they will relax restrictions.
Here we try to answer some of the most common questions people have about the laws, based on the information current as of 26 June.
The federal government has said that by July all states and territories will remove attendance caps for indoor venues and instead abide by the four square metres per person rule. For venues with 40,000 seats or less, attendance must not exceed 25% of capacity.
These answers should not be treated as legal advice. This article will be updated as new restrictions are announced, implemented, or repealed.
Here, you can find the official state and territory restriction guides for NSW, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT.
How many people can I have over at my house?
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New South Wales – Currently 20 people from different households can visit. There is no limit to the number of guests you can have over per day, as long as there are no more than 20 at a time and guests can stay overnight.
Victoria – You can have up to five guests in your home, reduced to a total in-home gathering size of 20. The Victorian health department says you can have more than one set of visitors over per day, but that you should “be considered and use common sense”. You are allowed to have people stay over at your home.
Queensland – Up to 20 adults from different households are allowed to visit another home. The state government has tentatively announced that, from 10 July, up to 100 people may be allowed to gather in your home (for those of you who have homes big enough to accommodate 100 guests).
Tasmania – You can have up to 20 visitors over.
Western Australia – Since 27 June, you can have as many guests over as long as there is no more than one person per two square metres.
South Australia – There is no limit on how many guests you can have over, as long as there is no more than one person per two square metres and you keep a 1.5 distance from those you with whom don’t regularly associate.
Northern Territory – There is no limit on how many people can gather indoors or outdoors, but you must keep 1.5 metres between you and anyone with whom you don’t live.
ACT – There is no limit on household visitors.
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How many people can gather outside?
New South Wales – Currently public gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed. From 1 July community sport for children and adults will return in full, including contact sports. Spectators and participants will have to abide by the 4 square metre rule (the NSW government amended the public health act on 12 June to abolish the 500-person upper limit). Sports organisations must adapt competitions to meet this rule, in line with local government guidelines.
Victoria – Up to 10 people can gather outside for recreational purposes, or to engage in activities like hiking, jogging and other non-contact sport.
Queensland – Up to 20 people can gather outside. The plan is that from 10 July, up to 100 people will be allowed to gather inside and outside.
Tasmania – Up to 500 people are allowed in an undivided outdoor space.
Western Australia – There is no limit on the number of people allowed at public gatherings.
South Australia – There is no limit on the number of people allowed, as long as there is no more than one person per two square metres.
Northern Territory – There are no limits on gathering in the NT, but you should maintain physical distancing.
ACT – Up to 100 people can gather together outdoors.
Can I visit someone in an aged care facility?
Please note that in every state, all visitors must have received this year’s flu vaccination, unless they have a documented medical contraindication to receiving the vaccine. Visitors cannot enter an aged care facility if they have recently been overseas, been in recent contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, or are feeling unwell.
New South Wales – NSW Health provides guidelines for residential aged care facilities. Residents should only have one daily visit with a maximum of two visitors (immediately family or close friends), no large group visits or gatherings, and all visits should be short and take place in the resident’s room, outdoors or a specified area (instead of a communal area).
Victoria – Residents of care facilities, including aged care, can have up to two support visits each day, for up to two hours. The two visitors can go together, or in separate visits that total two hours. Those under the age of 16 can only visit if the resident is receiving end-of-life care or if they are in the company of an adult.
Queensland – Residential aged care residents can have one visit per day, for up to two hours. A maximum of two people can visit for the purpose of providing care and support.
Tasmania – As of Monday 22 June, residents in aged care facilities can have multiple visits of two people, with no restrictions on the length of visits or the total number of visitors they receive in a day. Residents are permitted to go outside on trips, and hairdressers can be allowed in. Children under 16 can also be allowed in. Additional visitors are allowed for the purpose of end of life support, or if needed to reduce distress and confusion given a residents’ medical condition.
Western Australia – Each resident in an aged care facility can have one care and support visit a day, with up to two visitors at a time. Only immediate social supports, like family members and close friends, professional help or advocacy services can attend.
South Australia – Residents can have one visit per day. Up to two people can visit them at the same time for the purpose of providing care and support. As of 20 June, children under the age of 16 years can visit, and aged care facilities can approve additional visits if this is appropriate or necessary.
Northern Territory – Residents can have up to two visitors at a time, and visits should be kept short. Children aged 16 years and under are not allowed to visit those in aged care facilities, except for special circumstances.
ACT – Residents can have one visit per day, of up to two people, for the purposes of providing care and support. Visits cannot last more than two hours. Those aged 16 years or younger can only visit on compassionate grounds for the purpose of visiting a resident at the end of life.
Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe or pub?
New South Wales – Yes, up to 50 people can dine-in at cafes, bistros, and restaurants, as long as there are four square metres of space allowed per person. Pubs, registered clubs and casinos, and cellar doors that serve food are also allowed to open their dining areas. However, alcohol can only be purchased with food, or to takeaway. A maximum of 10 people are allowed per booking. However, gatherings for or immediately after a wedding are allowed up to 20 guests. Gatherings immediately after a funeral or memorial service are allowed to book for up to 50 guests as long as the venue can accommodate that many people. All diners must provide their name and contact details, including a phone number or email address, to allow for contact tracing. Food courts can also reopen. From 1 July, the number of people allowed inside an indoor venue will be determined by the one person per four square metre rule.
Victoria – Yes, cafes, restaurants and other hospitality businesses like RSLs and bowling clubs are able to seat up to 20 patrons in an enclosed space (find out what constitutes an enclosed space here). There can only be one customer per four square metres and tables must be spaced at least 1.5 metres apart. Venues are also required to keep the first name and phone number of every customer to help with contact tracing, if necessary. Alcohol will only be available to purchase with meals. From 12 July , the number of diners allowed will increase to 50. Food courts will still only be able to offer delivery and takeaway. Under stage 3 rules, expected to be introduced in July, a venue’s attendance limit will require four square metres per person.
Queensland – Yes, restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered clubs, RSL clubs and hotels (with a Covid-Safe Checklist) can seat up to 20 patrons at any one time, as long as they can allow four square metres per person. Places in the outback are allowed up to 50 locals (who must show proof of residence) at any one time. Casinos are allowed to seat diners, but bars and gaming will have to stay closed. From 10 July, up to 100 people will be allowed to dine in. Food courts will be allowed to reopen. Under stage 3 rules, expected to be introduced in July, a venue’s attendance limit will require four square metres per person.
Tasmania – Up to 250 are allowed in an undivided space, as long as there is no more than one person per two square metres. Up to 500 people are allowed in an undivided outdoor space, density requirements also permitting.
Western Australia – Yes, cafes and restaurants (including in pubs, bars, hotels, casinos, clubs) can open to up to seated diners, with one person per every two square metres. Venues are allowed to serve food and alcohol to non-seated patrons. There is no requirement for businesses to maintain a patron register.
South Australia – Yes, as of 29 June, restaurants, cafes, pubs, food courts, nightclubs and casinos can open, as well as standing hospitality venues. There is no limit on the number of people allowed, as long as there is no more than one person per two square metres. Drinking at a bar, or while standing, is allowed. Communal food, like buffets and salad bars, are not permitted.
Northern Territory – Yes. All businesses are allowed to reopen as long as they have a Covid-19 plan. The two-hour limit has been lifted, meaning night clubs can reopen. You will be able to purchase alcohol from a bar. Licensed gaming activities, including TAB, will start again.
ACT – Yes, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues offering seated dining can host up to 100 patrons in each indoor or outdoor space, as long as there is one person per four square metres. This limit excludes staff. Bars, pubs, and clubs can serve alcohol in groups of up to 10 seated patrons, without a meal. From 10 July, food courts will be allowed to open to seated patrons.
How far can I travel on holiday within my state?
New South Wales – There are no limitations on travelling within the state, including for a holiday. A number of caravan parks and camping grounds have also reopened.
Victoria – There are no restrictions on how far you can travel within the state. You are allowed to stay in a holiday home or private residence, and tourist accommodation, including caravan parks and camping grounds, where there are no shared communal facilities.
Queensland – You are allowed to travel anywhere in Queensland for recreational purposes, other than in certain designated remote communities. Camping and holiday accommodation sites, including caravan parks, are allowed to open.
Tasmania – There is no limit on where you can go within the state.
Western Australia – Residents are allowed to leave their homes for recreational activities including picnics, fishing, boating or camping. Recreational travel to most nearby regions is now allowed, except to some remote Aboriginal communities.
South Australia – There are no restrictions on travel within South Australia. Some Aboriginal communities across the state have chosen to close access to their townships and lands to non-essential outside visitors. Non-essential visitors to these communities have to quarantine for 14 days and be granted permission.
Northern Territory – There are no restrictions on travel within the Northern Territory.
ACT – There is no limit on where you can travel.
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Can I holiday in another state?
New South Wales – Residents are allowed to leave NSW, and visitors don’t need to quarantine. Since 1 June, anyone in Australia has been able to travel to regional NSW for a holiday.
Victoria – There are no restrictions on leaving or entering Victoria. Since 1 June, overnight stays at tourist accommodation, caravan parks and camping grounds without communal facilities, have been permitted.
Queensland – No, entry into Queensland is prohibited unless you have applied for and been granted an exemption. But Queensland is set to open its borders from 10 July, as long as case numbers remain low.
Tasmania – All non-essential travellers to Tasmania, including returning residents, must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Non-Tasmanian residents must carry out their quarantine in government-provided accommodation.
Western Australia – You cannot enter Western Australia unless you are granted an exemption on application. There is no date for when the interstate border will reopen.
South Australia – People from Queensland, WA, the NT and Tasmania can enter South Australia without having to quarantine for 14 days. But people from NSW and Victoria will have to – until 20 July, when the quarantine requirement will be lifted for all domestic travellers.
Northern Territory – Unless you have been granted an exemption, anyone entering the Northern Territory must complete 14 days of mandatory self-quarantine. International arrivals still have to undertake a Government-mandated and supervised quarantine, and are required to pay $2,500 per person, or $5,000 for a family of two or more, to cover the cost. The NT will open its borders to domestic travellers on 17 July.
ACT – There are no border restrictions.
How many people can attend a wedding or funeral?
New South Wales – Up to 20 people, plus the couple, those conducting the wedding, the photographer and the videographer, are allowed at weddings in NSW. Those attending will have to provide their name and contact details for contact tracing, if necessary. There is now no limit on the number of people allowed to attend a funeral, as long as there are four square metres per person if held indoors.
Victoria – How many guests you can have depends on whether you are hosting the ceremony at home or elsewhere. If it is held at a venue, the celebrant, couple being married, and 20 people will be allowed to attend a wedding. Up to 50 people will be allowed to attend a funeral, in addition to the officiant and funeral staff, as long as there are four square metres allowed per person. But if a wedding or funeral is held in a home, only 20 people in total will be allowed to attend (including the celebrant and couple/ officiant and staff). Under stage 3 rules, expected to be introduced in July, attendance limits will require four square metres per person.
Queensland – Up to 20 people can attend a wedding. Funerals can have up to 100 guests from 16 June. The next of kin at funeral services is required to collect contact information for all attendees and keep the list for at least eight weeks to facilitate contact tracing, if required. A maximum of 100 people should be allowed to attend weddings from 10 July.
Tasmania – Up to 250 people can gather in an undivided indoor space, and up to 500 people can gather in an undivided outdoor space. In both cases, the number of people present must also not exceed one person per two square metres.
Western Australia – There is no limit on the number of people who can gather together, as long as there is no more than one person per two square metres.
South Australia – Weddings can have up to 75 attendees, not including the celebrant, venue staff or any other person required to facilitate the wedding. Up to 75 can also attend a funeral. This excludes those officiating the funeral or any staff required to carry out the funeral. If the ceremony involves food or drinks, no shared utensils can be used. Social distancing must be observed.
Northern Territory – There is no limit on the number of attendees.
ACT – Up to 100 guests can attend weddings or funerals, as long as there is no more than one person per four square metres. Under stage 3 rules, expected to be introduced in July, attendance limits will require four square metres per person.
Can I go to church?
New South Wales – Yes, 50 people can attend religious gatherings and places of worship, as long as the four square metres physical distancing rule can be observed. The states chief health officer has urged congregations to reconsider activities that might spread the virus-like group singing and passing round of collection baskets. From 1 July, the number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the one person per four square metres rule.
Victoria – Yes, places of worship can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies of up to 20 people, plus the minimum number of people reasonably required for the service, is allowed in a single, undivided indoor space. There must be four square metres per person. At least one hour should be allowed between services or ceremonies to reduce the risk of crowds.
Queensland – Yes, up to 20 people can visit a place of worship or attend a religious ceremony. This number will increase to 100 people from 10 July.
Tasmania – Yes, up to 250 people can gather in an undivided indoor space, as long as there are two square metres per person.
Western Australia – Yes, and attendance is only limited by the two square metre rule.
South Australia – Yes, and attendance is only limited by the two square metre rule.
Northern Territory – Yes, but you can only be there for less than two hours. There is no limit on how many people can attend a place of worship at the same time.
ACT – Up to 100 people, the four square metre rule permitting, can attend religious ceremonies and places of worship, not counting those conducting the ceremony.
Are schools back in session?
New South Wales – Yes, all students went back to school full-time on Monday 25 May.
Victoria – Yes, as of 9 June, all students have returned to the classroom.
Queensland – Yes, all students are back at school as of Monday 25 May.
Tasmania – Yes, as of 9 June, all students have returned to the classroom.
Western Australia – Yes, all students returned on 18 May. Parents and visitors are also now allowed on school grounds. Events and activities such as assemblies, excursions, choirs, exams, sports training and swimming classes can resume, in line with distancing requirements. School libraries can also open for up to 100 people in a shared space at a time. From 27 June, all gathering limits, including the 100/300 rule, will be removed.
South Australia – Yes, they reopened for term 2.
Northern Territory – Yes, since 20 April all NT students have been expected to physically attend school.
ACT – Yes, all students have returned to school as of 2 June.
Can I shop for clothes and other ‘non-essential’ items?
New South Wales – Yes.
Victoria – You are only supposed to shop for necessary goods and services. Most businesses are also required to keep a record of names and contact details of customers in case contact tracing is later required.
Queensland – Yes, retail shopping for non-essential items is back on.
Tasmania – Yes, you are allowed to leave your home to use businesses or services that are allowed to operate, which includes retail stores.
Western Australia – Yes.
South Australia – Yes.
Northern Territory – Yes.
ACT – Yes.
Are salons, spas and other beauty services open?
New South Wales – Hairdressers and barbers can open, but must allow four square metres per person within the premises and should minimise personal contact with the customer. Nail, waxing, tanning, and beauty salons can open to 10 customers at a time. There can only one person per four square metres (including staff) on the premises, and providers must have a Covid-19 Safety Plan. Tattoo and massage parlours are allowed to reopen, with restricted numbers.
Victoria – Hairdressers and barbers are allowed to be open, but they are required to take your name and contact details should contact tracing become necessary. Beauty therapy, spray-tanning, waxing and nail salons, spas and massage parlours and tattoo and piercing services are able to reopen. Up to 20 customers are allowed on one premise, subject to the four square metre rule. Providers will still need to log customers’ contact details.
Queensland – Yes, beauty therapy and nail salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlours, spas, and non-therapeutic massage parlours (with a Covid-Safe checklist) can open to up to 100 people on site.
Tasmania – Yes, hairdressers and barbers can open. Beauty services and day spas can reopen withno cap on the number of people allowed inside, as long as there is one person per four square metres. Saunas and bathhouses will be allowed to open from 13 July.
Western Australia – Yes, all beauty services, including nail, tanning and waxing salons, as well as saunas, bath houses, wellness centres, float centres, spas and massage centres may reopen, for up to one person per two square metres.
South Australia – Yes, hairdressers and barbers, along with beauty salons, nail and tattoo parlours, non-therapeutic massage providers, spas, saunas and bathing can open, as long as the total number of people on site doesn’t exceed one person per two square metres.
Northern Territory – Yes, hairdressers, and nail, massage and tanning salons, tattoo and piercing parlours and any other beauty services can open.
ACT – Yes, hairdressers and barbers are allowed. Beauty therapy businesses, including nail salons, tanning and waxing services, day spas, including massage parlous and tattoo businesses are allowed to reopen to up to 100 people, but cannot exceed one person per four square metres, including staff. They must keep a record of customers to enable contact tracing, if needed.
What about cinemas, entertainment venues, museums and libraries?
New South Wales — Museums, galleries and libraries are allowed to reopen to guests, as long as four square metres is allowed per person and they have a Covid-19 safety plan. Groups and tours aren’t allowed to run, and all library returns will go through a 24-hour quarantine. National Trust and Historic Houses Trust properties can open, as long as they follow the four square metres rule (including staff). Indoor cinemas and theatres must stay closed. From 1 July, the number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the one person per four square metres rule. For venues with 40,000 seats or less, attendance must not exceed 25% of capacity.
Victoria – Galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, amusement parks, zoos and arcades are allowed to open up to 20 customers per separate space, with four square metres per person. Drive-in cinemas are also allowed to recommence food and drink operations. From 12 July , the number of people allowed in these venues will increase to 50 per separate space. Up to 50 customers will be allowed to watch a film per cinema at movie theatres. Customers not from the same household will have to sit at least 1.5 metres apart, and the four square metre rule will apply. Concert venues and theatres will be able to reopen to 50 viewers per separate space. From 20 July, electronic gaming at pubs, clubs and casinos will restart, per social distancing requirements.
Queensland – Libraries, along with museums, art galleries, and historic sites, can have 20 visitors at a time. Indoor cinemas, concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums, nightclubs, outdoor amusement parks, zoos and arcades are set to reopen on 10 July. All venues will be allowed to host up to 100 people at a time on site.
Tasmania – Up to 250 people can attend each undivided space in indoor recreational facilities, such as libraries, arcades, play centres, cinemas, museums, national institutions, historic sites, and galleries, the two square metre rule permitting. Up to 500 people are also allowed per undivided outdoor space.
Western Australia – Community facilities, libraries, galleries, museums, theatres, auditoriums, cinemas, and concert venues can all reopen, along with Perth Zoo, wildlife and amusement parks, arcades, skate rinks and indoor play centres. All venues can have as many people, as long as there is one person per two square metres. The two square metre rule only includes staff if the venue holds more than 500 patrons. 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 will be allowed to reopen under temporary restrictions.
South Australia – Libraries, community and youth centres, cinemas, theatres, galleries and museums can have one patron per two square metres. Indoor play centres, arcades and amusement parks are also allowed to open. Swimming in public pools is allowed.
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 can open.
ACT – Up to 100 people are allowed at cinemas and 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. There can only be one person per four square metres throughout the venue. Organised tour groups of up to 20 people (excluding staff) will be permitted, as long as they run for less than two hours. Audiences must remain seated at live performances.
Can I go to the gym? What else can I do for exercise?
New South Wales – Gyms, fitness centres and studios (like dance studios) are allowed to open for up to 10 people per class, and a maximum of 100 people per venue. Indoor pools and saunas will also be allowed to reopen, with restricted numbers. Up to 10 people can gather in public, meaning that outdoor boot camps and non-contact sports are allowed. You can use outdoor gym equipment in public places, with caution, and engage in recreational activities like fishing, hunting and boating. Up to 10 people can swim in outdoor pools at a time. You can contact your local council to see if parks and beaches are open in your area; most historic sites and some beaches in national parks have been closed. From 1 July, children’s community sport competitions will be allowed to restart.
Victoria – No: gyms, yoga studios, and fitness classes, and indoor personal training are prohibited. Up to 20 people can gather outside for activities like hiking, jogging , bike riding, canoeing, kayaking and other non-contact sports. Outdoor boot camps of up to 20 people plus the trainer are also allowed. Outdoor swimming pools can have 20 patrons per enclosed space and three swimmers per pool lane. Playgrounds, outdoor gums, and skateparks have also been open since 26 May. As of 22 June, indoor sports facilities, like gyms, can open up to 20 clients at a time, per separate enclosed space, as long as the four square metre rule is followed. Only 10 people are allowed per group per activity. Children are allowed to compete in contact sport, but non-contact sport will also be allowed for all ages. Skiing is also permitted now. . Adults can begin training for contact sport from 13 July and begin playing from 20 July.
Queensland – Yes, gyms, health clubs, yoga studios and community sports clubs can reopen to 20 people at a time. Up to 20 people can gather outside, play non-contact sport, and participate in outdoor group training and bot camps. Parks, playgrounds, skateparks and pools are open to up to 20 people at a time. The state government plans to increase this number to 100 people from 10 July.
Tasmania – Yes, up to 250 people are allowed in an undivided indoor venue, as long as there are two square metres per person. A multi-purpose Outdoor gathering limits have increased to 500. Full contact training and full competition sport (contact and non-contact) is allowed, as is the sharing of equipment, change rooms and other facilities.
Western Australia – Gyms, health clubs, and indoor sports centres can reopen for up to one person per two square metres. Gyms can operate unstaffed but must undergo regular cleaning. Contact sport and training can also recommence, and playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment and skate parks can be used.
South Australia – Yes, gyms and indoor fitness classes can operate, subject to the one person per two square metres rule. Outdoor and indoor training and competitions for non-contact is allowed, as is the use of golf courses, tennis courts and public gym equipment.
Northern Territory – Yes. Gyms, fitness studios, and indoor training activities like Cross Fit are allowed to operate. You can also officiate, participate and support team sports, like football, basketball, soccer and netball.
ACT – Yes. Indoor gyms and fitness centres are allowed to reopen to up to 100 people in any enclosed space, as long as there is only one person per four square metres. Patrons are allowed to take part in circuit training, individual weight training, and use gym equipment. That includes yoga, barre, pilates, and spin facilities, boot camps, personal training, swimming pools, organised sport activities, and dance classes. Up to 20 people can take part in outdoor bootcamps and other non-contact training or sport. Full contact training for sport, dance and martial arts, as well as circuit training, is allowed. Communal facilities, such as change rooms, can reopen if a risk assessment has been done and a strict cleaning regime has been put in place.
Who decides if I am breaking the new laws?
Generally, enforcement will be left up to the discretion of police officers.
States have expressed different approaches, for example, the ACT says it will be issuing a warning in the first instance, while Victoria has adopted a more hardline attitude to those break social distancing rules.
NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller said he would personally review all physical-distancing fines issued in the state.
“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, however, it appears these 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.