Business restrictions

Last Updated: 25 Sep 2020 8:39am

All businesses and workplaces are now permitted to operate, but must implement measures to meet the minimum COVID-19 safety standards and record this in a COVID-19 Safety plan. For more information go to COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework.

The number of people permitted at businesses/activities (other than households) is now determined by the density of the area, up to a maximum of:

  • 250 people for an undivided space in an indoor premises; and
  • 1,000 people in an undivided space outdoors.

The maximum density limit is one person per 2 square metres.

Where the number of people permitted according to the density limit is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies.

All people in any single undivided space count towards the maximum number of people permitted. For example, staff in a restaurant; spectators at a pool; and athletes, volunteers and coaches at a sporting facility are all counted within the maximum number of people permitted in that space. Children and babies also count towards the maximum number.

Where practicable, business operators, staff, volunteers and attendees should maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other people.

For mixed use venues with multiple indoor or outdoor spaces, the gathering limit applies separately to each single undivided space. For example, a large hotel with multiple, separate indoor spaces (eg conference room, bar, restaurant, foyer, beer garden), is permitted to have up to 250 people for each of these spaces (the density limit applies).

See Sport and recreation for more information.

The limits outlined above do not apply to the following specified premises, but the number of people on these premises should not exceed the total number specified in the occupancy permit for the premises under the Building Act 2016. The specified premises are:

  • Airports and premises used for public or commercial transport
  • Medical or health service facilities, including veterinary facilities
  • Disability or aged care facilities
  • Prisons, correctional facilities, youth justice centres
  • Courts or tribunals
  • Parliament
  • Schools, universities, education institutions, childcare facilities, child and family centres
  • Premises that deliver services and support to disadvantaged community members eg those providing homeless accommodation, boarding houses, emergency/social housing, child safety services, foodbanks, employment services, and migrant and refugee assistance
  • Indoor and outdoor spaces where people are transiting through
  • Emergency services
  • Commercial boats and pontoons (not including commercial boats or pontoons occupied by patrons – for example, tour boats are still required to comply with density requirements).

Read more about Gatherings, density limits and physical distancing.

Standing activities

Business restrictions have changed to allow standing activities – like darts, pool, eight-ball, snooker and karaoke – in licensed venues.

People attending an event in a licensed venue can move around freely, as long as they are not standing and drinking alcohol. For example, at a function or a networking event, people can stand and mingle, but they must to be seated while drinking alcohol.

Restrictions remain in place for dancing in all venues where food and alcohol is consumed because of the increased risk of close contact, particularly where alcohol is consumed, and difficulty of tracing contact among patrons. This restriction will be in place at least until the end of 2020.

Dancing is only permitted when it is pre-arranged, held in a separate room to where food and alcohol is consumed and contact information is recorded. For example, the following can occur:

  • a pre-arranged dance class in a separate room of a pub;
  • dance classes or dancing in a community hall; and
  • water, tea, coffee and other non-alcoholic drinks could be consumed in the same room as a dance class or dancing.

The only other exception is dancing at a wedding reception. The wedding couple, their parents/guardians and other bridal party members can dance.

The management of risk associated with these activities must also be covered in a venue’s COVID-19 Safety Plan.

If someone hires a venue, such as a community hall, they share with the venue owner/operator the responsibility for managing dance and other activities, including physical distancing and facilitating a safe entry and exit to the premises.