COVID-19 restrictions remain fluid as sporadic outbreaks occur. That said, here’s how the situation stands at 1 December 2020. If in doubt, head to your State/Territory government’s COVID-19 online resources for the latest updates.
Queenslanders can celebrate the festive season with gatherings of 40-50 people in homes and public spaces[i]. All restricted businesses (such as cafes and restaurants) can open, in line with the COVID Safe Framework, which calls for 1 person per 2 square metres. Businesses must keep a customer contact register, storing details for at least 56 days[ii].
Wedding ceremonies can have up to 200 people (both indoors and outdoors) and dancing is permitted. Up to 200 people can attend a funeral[iii].
Seating for indoor ticketed venues (such as cinemas) can increase to 100% with patrons to wear masks on entry and exit. Outdoor events can have up to 1,500 patrons. A COVID Safe Event Checklist is a must[iv].
All businesses must support working from home.
The Qld border opens to Victoria and NSW on 1 December 2020[v]. However, travellers who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot within the last 14 days will be turned away at the border[vi]. While COVID-19 hotspots are updated regularly, at 1 December 2020, specific parts of South Australia are designated COVID-19 hotspots[vii].
New South Wales
From 1 December 2020, up to 50 people can visit a residence as long as an outdoor space is being used. It’s recommended no more than 30 people gather if the residence has no outdoor area[i].
Up to 50 people can gather outdoors in a public space. Small hospitality venues (up to 200 square metres in size) will be allowed to have 1 person per 2 square metres indoors[ii].
Weddings and funerals can include up to 300 guests subject to relevant density limits. Venue operators must generally ensure there are at least 4 square metres of space for each person on the premises or in the area, as applicable. The capacity at the venue must not exceed the maximum allowed for the venue[iii].
Employers must allow employees to work from home where it is reasonably practical to do so[iv].
Dine & Discover NSW vouchers, worth a total of $100 per adult, will become available from late January 2021. The Dine & Discover NSW vouchers will be divided into two categories:
- Two $25 vouchers to be used for eating in at restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and clubs from Monday to Thursday, excluding public holidays.
- Two $25 vouchers to be used for entertainment and recreation, including cultural institutions, live music, and arts venues, available 7 days a week, excluding public holidays[v].
There are no limitations on people who live in NSW travelling within NSW. Travellers who have been to South Australia in the last 14 days are required to complete a NSW entry declaration form. This includes people returning home to NSW and visitors from other states[vi].
The ACT has no limit on household gatherings[i]. From Wednesday 2 December, if businesses and venues want to have more than 25 people across their venue, they can apply the 1 person per 2 square metres of usable space rule in both indoor and outdoor spaces provided they use the Check In CBR app to collect patron contact details. Venues will have until Wednesday 16 December 2020 to register with Check In CBR to meet this requirement[ii].
If businesses and venues are not using the Check In CBR app, they must continue to apply the venue capacity rule of 1 person per 4 square metres of usable space indoors and 1 person per 2 square metres of usable space outdoors[iii].
Patrons must be seated when consuming alcohol in indoor spaces but can stand while eating[iv].
Large indoor performance venues (with forward-facing and tiered seating, such as theatres and arenas) can have events up to 65% capacity, up to 1,500 people, provided the events are ticketed and seated and a COVID Safe Plan is in place for each event.
Enclosed outdoor venues with permanent tiered seating and grandstands can have up to 65% capacity, up to 1,500 people, provided events are ticketed and seated and a COVID Safe Plan is in place for each event.
Cinemas and movie theatres can sell up to 65% capacity of each theatre up to 500 people, provided they use the Check in CBR app to collect patron contact details. Otherwise, cinemas and theatres must continue to adhere to 50% capacity[v].
From 13 December, Victorians can host up to 30 people in their home for Christmas Day. Babies under 12 months won’t count towards the cap. Prior to the 13th, the number of visitors to a home is limited to 15 per day[i].
Outdoor gatherings in a public place – the park, or the beach, is limited to 50 people. Weddings and funerals can host 150 guests[ii].
Smaller hospitality venues can have 1 person for every 2 square metres – up to 50 customers. QR code record-keeping is still mandatory. Cinemas, galleries and museums can host up to 150 people indoors[iii].
Contact and non-contact sporting clubs can have up to 150 people indoors with a group size of up to 20 and 500 outdoors with groups of up to 50[iv].
Up to 25% of employees will be able to head back to their workplace. Unless nominated by an employer, Victorians need to keep working from home[v].
Masks are to be worn indoors and on public transport – and where social distancing is not possible. Masks are no longer mandatory outdoors as long as social distancing can be maintained[vi].
Gatherings at households are limited to up to 40 people at any one time, not including residents of the household[i]. Tasmanians can travel and stay anywhere within Tasmania.
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. The number of people permitted at businesses/activities (other than households) is 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[ii].
The maximum density limit is 1 person per 2 square metres[iii]. 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).
Tasmanian businesses are being encouraged to register for a new Tasmanian Government app system to assist recording of patron contact details[iv]. The Check in Tas app system will be able to be used by venues and patrons to record and store patron details. The app is designed to assist venues meet the current Public Health requirement to record contact details of individuals or one member of a group of patrons who spend more than 15 minutes on the premises.
Although a range of methods are available for venues and patrons to record details of their visits to hospitality venues, the Check in Tas app will enable the Department of Health to store the contact details for 28 days before they are automatically destroyed. Use of the Check in Tas app is free to venues to and patrons.
South Australia (SA) will be classified as a low-risk area from 3 December 2020[v]. People are no longer required to self-isolate if they arrived in Tasmania before 5:30pm on 16 November and had spent time in South Australia in the previous 14 days. Travellers who have spent time (during the 14 days before arriving in Tasmania) in South Australia will still be required to quarantine upon arrival in Tasmania, but may be permitted to undertake their quarantine at home or approved suitable premises[vi]. The most effective way of registering an intended quarantine location is through the G2G PASS system.
Victoria will be classified as a low-risk area from 27 November 2020. Travellers who have only spent time in Victoria or other current low-risk areas, in the 14 days prior to arrival in Tasmania will not have to quarantine[vii].
People arriving in Tasmania from Victoria from 27 November, should register their travel and contact details via the Tas e-Travel system to receive a Tas e-Travel QR code[viii].
Anyone planning travel to SA must complete a Cross Border Travel Registration[i].
From 1 December 2020, licensed venues no longer have to adhere to a patron cap providing they have QR reader technology in place (see below) to capture customers’ details for contact tracing[ii]. Density restrictions are set at 1 person per 4 square meters indoors, and 1 person per 2 square meters outdoors[iii]. There is a maximum booking size of 10 people per group[iv].
The maximum number of people permitted at homes for private gatherings is 10[v] unless 10 people permanently reside at the residence. Physical distancing is strongly encouraged.
Wearing a face mask is not mandatory, but it is recommended when out in public if physical distancing isn’t possible[viii].
COVID SAfe Check In, part of the mySA GOV app will roll out from 1 December 2020[ix]. Businesses with a COVID-Safe plan will receive a new COVID-Safe plan via email that includes a QR code to print off and display in a prominent location within your business. Any new COVID-Safe plans created online will generate a QR code to print off and display.
Interstate travellers are now permitted to enter WA, subject to meeting strict conditions[i]. Travel from South Australia into WA is not permitted unless travellers meet strict exemption criteria[ii].
Western Australia has a 2-square-metre rule – the total number of people at a public gathering or at home can’t exceed more than 1 person per 2 square metres. For example, a venue can only hold a maximum of 100 people if it spans 200 square metres[iii].
From 5 December, food and licensed venues plus other businesses such as gyms and hair salons, must keep a contact register for contact tracing purposes. To assist businesses and venues, the WA Government has developed the free, SafeWA app, an online contact register system that uses QR Codes for patrons and staff to scan to register their attendance[iv].
The use of Safe WA is not mandatory. Alternative formats for mandatory contact registers include other electronic tools or a paper-based system. Businesses must still maintain a written contact register for people who choose not to use the app[v].
Failing to comply with the new requirements to maintain a contact register could result in fines and penalties of up to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a body corporate or 12 months’ imprisonment[vi].
Strict border controls apply for all access points to the Northern Territory, and anyone arriving in the Territory must complete a Border Entry Form. Arrivals who have travelled from or through a declared hotspot in the past 14 days must stay in mandatory supervised quarantine at a designated facility at their own expense for 14 days[i].
There’s no limit to how many people can gather indoors or outdoors in the NT, but social distancing is recommended[ii].
The NT now requires businesses, organisations and venues to collect customer contact details as part of the COVID-Safe Check-In system[iii].
The Territory Check In app makes it easier to collect customer contact details. The data’s stored securely by NT Health for quick contact tracing if needed[iv].
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