How COVID-19 restrictions stand in your area
It’s been a tough few months for Australian businesses, and the SME community has had to come to terms with some very challenging lockdowns. For most states restrictions are easing, but for others tighter restrictions are being brought back. Here we explain where restrictions stand at a Federal level – and how the rules apply to your state/territory. We’ll continue to update these details as the situation changes.
Easing of restrictions at a national level
In May 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a number of relaxations in COVID-19 restrictions, with a 3-phase plan to help get the economy moving.
While this is how the game plan stands at a national level, it’s important to note that state/territory governments have the discretion to make their own decisions around COVID-19 easing.
A 3-stage plan
Under the Federal plan, restrictions will be eased through three different stages.
- Stage 1: Re-opening restaurants, cafes, and shops. Five visitors allowed at home, and 10 in businesses and public spaces. People are still encouraged to work from home, and some interstate recreational travel will re-start.
- Stage 2: ‘Most’ businesses will re-open with physical distancing and hygiene. Larger gatherings of up to 20 people allowed at venues such as cinemas and galleries. More retail openings on sector-based COVID- safe plans.
- Stage 3: All Australians return to work with physical distancing and hygiene measures in place. Public gatherings with no person limit will be allowed as long as the 4 square metre per person rule is followed, all interstate travel will resume. Food courts, pubs and clubs will open (with some restrictions). A resumption of trans-Tasman, Pacific Island and international student travel may be allowed. For outdoor sporting events the government will allow attendance of up to 25% capacity at stadiums that have capacity of less than 40,000.
How is your state/territory re-opening after COVID-19?
Some states have fared better than others during the Coronavirus pandemic, so it stands to reason that each state/territory is able to find its own, appropriate level of easing and, in some cases, tightening back up where outbreaks re-occur. Here’s what the situation looks like as of today in your part of Australia:
From 15 May 2020:
- Some beauty therapy business will be opened including nail salons, with a maximum of 10 people at a time
- 10 people are allowed to dine in at restaurants and cafes (dining in pubs and cafes in outback areas where there are no cases is limited to 20 people)
- Recreational travel up to 150km from home for day trips is permitted
- Weddings can have 10 guests. Funerals can have 20 guests indoors, 30 outdoors
- Open homes and auctions will be allowed with up to 10 people.
From midday 5 June 2020:
- Restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs permitted to open to more patrons. Venues able to seat up to 20 people per dining area if they have an approved COVIDSafe plan. For example, a pub can host 20 punters inside and another group in an outdoor beer garden.
From 13 June 2020:
- Community sport to resume.
From midday 3 July 2020 Stage 3 Easing of Restrictions comes into effect, one week earlier than originally scheduled:
- Private, non-commercial (e.g. home) gatherings permitted of up to 100 friends and family
- Weddings and funerals up to max 100 people
- For businesses of 200 square meters or above, the maximum number of customers at any one time is determined by the 4 square meter per person rule
- For business below 200 square meters, they can have one person per 2 square meters up to 50 persons at a time
- Casinos, gaming and gambling venues (including electronic gaming machines), non-therapeutic massage, saunas and bathhouses, nightclubs and food courts can re-open with a COVIDSafe Plan
- Office-based workers can return to their place of work
- Sport, recreation and fitness organisations may re-open following a COVIDSafe Industry Plan. Activity including competition and physical contact is permitted on the field of play. Indoor sports facilities can open with one person per 4 square meter rule off the field of play. Outdoor sports facilities can open with 1.5 meter physical distancing off the field of play.
- Up to 25,000 spectators or 50% of capacity (whichever is the lesser) permitted at Queensland’s Major Sports Facilities, subject to a COVIDSafe Plan
- Concert venues, theatres and auditoriums can open and have up to 50% capacity or one person per 4 square meters (whichever is greater), with a COVIDSafe Plan
- More events allowed, subject to certain requirements being followed. For events fewer than 500 people, no approval is needed where the official COVIDSafe Event Checklist is followed; for events of 500 to 10,000 people a COVIDSafe Event Plan must be approved by local public health units; for events over 10,000 people a COVIDSafe Event Plan must be approved by the Queensland Chief Health Officer.
View ‘What Stage 3 means for your business’ fact sheet from the QLD Government here.
From midday 10 July 2020:
- State borders re-opened to visitors from other states, except Victoria. All entrants must complete and sign a border declaration stating they have not been in Victoria within the last 14 days. Penalties apply for false statements.
- Any person entering Queensland who has spent time in any area in Victoria during the past 14 days will be subject to mandatory police-enforced hotel quarantine, at their own personal expense.
From 1am, 1 August 2020:
- State borders closed to visitors from Greater Sydney (comprising 31 government areas).
From 8 August 2020:
- Entry to Queensland is temporarily restricted by the Chief Health Officer under the Border Restrictions Direction, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You are only permitted to enter Queensland in accordance with the Border Restrictions Direction (No.11) which may require additional documentation, and a completed Queensland Border Declaration Pass.
- A pass does not guarantee entry into Queensland as this is determined by an Emergency Officer at the border checkpoint in accordance with the current published public health directions of the Chief Health Officer. QLD border restrictions and COVID-19 Hotspots are constantly being reviewed. Changes could mean you are no longer eligible to enter QLD or will be required to quarantine at your own expense.
New South Wales
From 15 May 2020:
- Shopping and retail premises are open to the public
- Food and drink premises can open, but only to seat a maximum of 10 customers at any one time, this includes cafes and restaurants, a restaurant within a registered club or pub, or a cellar door that serves food
- For businesses that can open, each owner can make decisions about what makes the most sense for their situation
- Employees must be able to work from home where it is reasonably practical to do so.
From 1 June 2020:
- Regional travel with family and friends permitted within NSW can resume, with no person limits.
- Pubs, cafes, clubs and restaurants are able to seat 50 patrons per dining area, with no maximum limit on venues, as long as there is four metres square of overall space per person. All patrons will need to be seated and individual bookings cannot be larger than 10 people. Penalties will apply to venues if health orders are breached.
- Art galleries, libraries and museums are permitted to open, with special rules around health and safety.
- Beauty and nail salons can begin treatments under strict COVID-safe guidelines. Safety plans will include measures such as one person per 4 meters including both staff and clients, up to a maximum of 10 clients at any one time, records of attendance, cleaning requirements and removal of magazines.
On 9 June 2020:
- The NSW Government launched the COVID Check online tool for businesses. Through the tool, businesses will be told what they need to do to ensure they are COVIDSafe. This may include physical distancing, cleaning and record keeping requirements. Once businesses have completed the steps and finalised their COVIDSafe plan they will be able to complete an online self-declaration. Read more and access the COVID Check tool here.
From 11 June 2020:
- Good news for house party fans – 20 people permitted to gather in homes, outside and in public places
- Food courts permitted to re-open for diners, with up to 20 people permitted, ensuring social distancing is adhered to.
From 13 June 2020:
- Fitness facilities including gyms, yoga classes, dance studios, indoor pools and barre studios allowed to re-open with up to 10 people per class and 100 people in an indoor venue
- Tattoo and massage parlours will also be allowed to re-open with up to 10 clients.
From 1 July 2020:
- No limits for number of people permitted at indoor venues such as cafes, restaurants, churches and funeral venues. The number of people allowed is instead dictated by the space rule of one person per four square meters.
- Outdoor cultural and sporting venues with capacity of up to 40,000 people can seat 25% of their normal capacity.
From 11:59pm 7 July 2020:
- NSW border is closed to all travellers from VIC, who may be fired or jailed if the requirement is breached.
From 24 July 2020, some restrictions are tightened in response to “hotspot” outbreaks:
- Cafes and bars will not be able to take bookings of more than 10 people (previously bookings of up to 20 were allowed) and every patron must be seated at these venues.
- There is a maximum of 300 people allowed in pubs. Pubs must also register their COVIDSafe plans with the NSW Government and have a dedicated hygiene marshal to oversee social distancing, cleaning and hygiene in the venue. The hygiene marshal must be dressed in distinctive clothing.
- Any business found in breach of the public health orders could face penalties of up to $55,000 per initial occurrence and further $27,500 penalties for each day an offence continues.
- Weddings and corporate events are limited to 150 people and “high risk activities” such as dancing must not occur.
- Funerals and places of worship are limited to 100 people.
- The one person per four meter square rule still applies to all of these venues/gatherings.
From 29 July 2020:
- All business venues must assign one staff member as a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal who will be in distinctive clothing and responsible for ensuring all aspects of the COVID-19 Safety Plan are being adhered to including overseeing social distancing, cleansing and ensuring the accuracy of record keeping. Large hospitality venues with a capacity of more than 250 people must have a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal on duty whenever the venue is open. Smaller hospitality venues with a capacity of less than 250 people must have a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal during peak periods, and at least during lunch from 12pm to 3pm and dinner from 5pm to 9pm.
- All gyms and fitness centres must register and have a COVIDSafe plan, and have a dedicated COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshall on duty at all times.
From 2 August 2020:
- The NSW Government is strongly encouraging greater use of masks in high-risk public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including when on public transport or in supermarkets. It is recommended that staff of hospitality and customer-facing venues i.e. cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs wear a mask whilst working.
From 12:01am on 7 August 2020:
- NSW residents returning from VIC must go into mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
From 15 May 2020:
- Cafes and restaurants including pubs and clubs offering seated in-house dining, are allowed to seat up to 10 patrons at one time if they can follow physical distancing
- Auction-houses can proceed with a maximum of 10 people
- Hairdressers and barbers are obliged to seek and record customer details.
From 30 May 2020:
- Gatherings of up to 20 people allowed
- Gyms permitted to re-open.
From 13 May 2020:
- Gatherings of up to 10 outdoors and 5 visitors in homes allowed. Victorians have been asked to limit their circle to just family and friends
- Weddings can have up to 10 guests and 20 people can attend funerals indoors, 30 people outdoors. Walking groups, fishing, hiking and golf are allowed subject to physical distancing
- A renewed State of Emergency is in place until midnight 31 May.
From 1 June 2020:
- Gatherings of 20 people in a home and overnight stays at private residences and tourist accommodations allowed
- Beauty salons, spas and tattoo parlours allowed to open for up to 20 people
- Restaurants and cafes can resume dine-in service with up to 20 patrons per enclosed space.
From 22 June 2020, assuming relaxed measures have been successful to date the following has been proposed:
- Restaurants and cafes permitted 50 patrons per enclosed space (potentially increasing to 100 patrons during the second half of July)
- Gyms and indoor cinemas to re-open.
From 1 July 2020, until 24 July 2020:
- The following Melbourne postcodes are under lockdown measures: 3012, 3021, 3031, 3032, 3038, 3042, 3046, 3047, 3051, 3055, 3060 and 3064. For these postcodes the state restrictions imposed in March and April are reintroduced, meaning residents can only leave home for work, to provide care, to exercise or to buy groceries.
- The VIC Premier stressed that for those whose postcodes are not in the specified lockdown zones, it does not mean they can move freely across the state.
From 11:59pm on 8 July 2020, lockdown measures are extended to include all Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire residents. For locked down areas:
- The only reason people are allowed to leave their homes is for shopping for essential items and food, medical reasons and caregiving, work and study, and exercise.
- No visitors are allowed in people’s houses, public gatherings are restricted to two people outside your household and school holidays have been extended by one week, except for Year 11 and 12 students as well as special needs students.
- Cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants must revert back to takeaway only.
- Further, from 11.59pm on 22 July 2020, masks are compulsory for people over the age of 12 who leave their homes in Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. A $200 fine can be served to those who fail to follow the rules.
From 6pm on 2 August 2020, for an estimated 6 weeks until 11:59pm on 13 September 2020, the state is under Stage 4 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions. This means:
- From 5am to 8pm, the only reason people are allowed to leave their homes is for shopping for essential items and food, medical care and caregiving, work, and exercise.
- For the 31 metropolitan Melbourne local government areas, the rules are tighter during ‘curfew’ hours – from 8pm to 5am – where people can only leave home for work, medical care and caregiving.
- Masks continue to be compulsory when out of home.
- Exercise is limited to a maximum of one hour per day and no more than five kilometres from your home. Group size will be limited to a maximum of two – you and one other person – whether you live with them or not (common sense exception applies that if you’re a parent with little ones, you can take them with you).
- Shopping is limited to one person per household per day. Again, the five-kilometre rule will apply where possible (common sense exception applies that if your closest supermarket is further than five kilometres, you can still shop there).
- Study at TAFE and uni must be done remotely.
- Schools, kinder and early education services will return to remote and flexible learning – across all year levels – with onsite supervision only available for students who really need it i.e. children whose parents are permitted workers and vulnerable kids who can’t learn from home.
- From 11:59pm on 5 August 2020, weddings in Melbourne cannot occur.
- Rules for regional Victoria are different. There is no curfew but there are restrictions on entering metropolitan Melbourne.
- ‘State of Disaster’ status has been evoked, meaning Victorian police are granted additional powers to make sure people are complying with public health directions.
Read the Victorian Premier’s full statement, made on 2 August 2020, here.
From 11:59pm on 5 August 2020, in line with the state’s Stage 4 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions status, further restrictions apply for businesses:
- Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, newsagencies, post offices —plus everyone involved in frontline response — will continue to operate.
- Retail stores need to close, but will be permitted to operate contactless ‘click and collect’ and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place, and hardware stores can remain open onsite, but for tradespeople only.
- Most manufacturing and administration businesses need to close. Those which must continue in order to provide vital products and services, such as food production, waste collection and supply chain logistics must do so under tighter safety restrictions.
- In certain vital industries where the risk of outbreak is higher, mandated reductions to the number of onsite workers will apply. For example warehousing, distribution centres and businesses in the meat industry must scale back to two-thirds their normal onsite workforce. For major construction sites, it means the absolute minimum required for safety — but no more than 25 per cent of the normal workforce onsite. Small-scale construction will be limited to a maximum of five people onsite.
- All open workplaces must develop a COVIDSafe plan by no later than 11:59pm on Friday 7 August, which should be focused on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace. Workplaces that are continuing to operate will also have additional requirements including extra PPE (which could include gowns, masks and shields), staggering shifts, staggering breaks, health declarations and more support for sick workers to ensure they stay home.
- For those that are closing their doors, it must happen by 11:59pm on 5 August 2020 unless there are specific circumstances that mean they need longer to shutdown safely.
- And for those businesses and industries that fall into grey areas when it comes to their operation, the dedicated Industry Coordination Centre within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions will consider their case.
- People working in permitted industries will maintain access to kinder and childcare for their children under Stage 4 restrictions. Permits will be issued to workers who are working in a permitted industry, either on site or from home and do not have someone else in their household who can look after their children.
- Permitted Worker Scheme Penalties of up to $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 for businesses will apply to employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the worker permit scheme or who otherwise break the rules. See full list of restricted industries here.
Read the Victorian Premier’s full statement regarding business restrictions, made on 3 August 2020, here.
Download the government’s ‘Guide for business – Stage 4 restrictions’ here.
From 18 May 2020:
- Gatherings increased to 10 people for indoor and outdoor areas, with physical distancing of 1.5 metres and a maximum of one person per 4 square metres applicable
- Restaurants and cafes in all settings (including restaurants in pubs, clubs, hotels and RSLs) open for table service for up to 10 patrons at a time
- Border controls remain in place. Domestic travelling Tasmanian residents can quarantine in their primary residence if it is suitable
From 25 May 2020:
- Kindergarten to Year 6 students return to classrooms, as well as Year 11 and 12 students at extension schools and colleges.
From 3pm, 5 June 2020 the state moves into Stage 2 of restriction lifts, including:
- Cinemas and theatres permitted to re-open.
- People limitations rise to 20 people at a time for indoor and outdoor venues, including restaurants/cafes, cinemas, museums, galleries, and theatres
- Beauty services (including tattoo, nails, waxing, facials, tanning and non-therapeutic massage) available for up to 20 people in venue at a time
- Driving instruction lessons permitted to continue
- Gyms and indoor fitness permitted to re-open, and indoor and outdoor sports transition to competition without spectators
- Up to 50 guests may attend funerals.
From midday 26 June 2020:
- Up to 500 people allowed at outdoor venues and up to 250 people at indoor venues
- Cap of 20 per household visitors remains, using the recent spike in VIC as a cautionary tale
- The 1 person per 4 square metre rule is eased to 2 square metres
- Community sport, contact trainings, gaming venues, markets can all re-open.
From 11 May 2020:
- There are no restrictions on travel within SA though any non-essential travel within the state is discouraged
- Outdoor dining is available for restaurants and cafes, up to a maximum of 10 people
- Property auctions and open inspections will be available from Monday for up to 10 persons.
From 22 May 2020:
- Restaurants able to seat up to 20 patrons; 10 indoor and 10 outdoor.
From 1 June 2020:
- Pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes allowed up to 80 people.
From 5 June 2020:
- Pubs and clubs permitted to serve alcohol without a meal.
From 20 June 2020:
- All border restrictions lifted.
From 4 August 2020:
- The number of people allowed to gather in a home drops from 50 (current) to 10.
- Pubs and restaurants are only allowed to serve alcohol to seated patrons.
Businesses across Western Australia need to comply with conditions outlined in the COVID Safety Guidelines and prepare a COVID Safety Plan before they re-open, to protect staff and customers.
From 18 May 2020:
- Cafes and restaurants can provide meal service, including within pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and casinos, for up to 20 patrons
- Western Australians are encouraged to return to work, unless they are unwell or vulnerable.
- Regional travel restrictions are relaxed with travel allowed:
- between South West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt and Perth-Peel regions
- between Mid-West, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions
- within Goldfields-Esperance region
- within Kimberley Local Government areas
- Travel exemptions are still required to enter WA.
From 6 June 2020:
- Indoor and outdoor gatherings of 100 people allowed, with some venues allowed up to 300 subject to spacing rules.
- Galleries, beauty services, gyms, theatres and cinemas allowed to re-open.
From 27 June 2020:
- No restrictions on number of people at gatherings, subject to a 2-square meter per person rule
- No requirement for seated-service at licenced venues
- No requirement for businesses to keep a patron register
- Major sport and entertainment venues allowed to operate under a 50% capacity rule (meaning Optus Stadium can allows 30,000 attendees)
- Crown Casino’s gaming floor can re-open under agreed restrictions, including only every second machine being available
- Border restrictions remain in place until further notice.
Businesses must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan to show how requirements will be met around physical distancing and hygiene practices.
Activities and venues able to open since 15 May 2020 include:
- Shopping centre food courts
- Restaurants, cafes, and bars for the consumption of food — excluding gaming areas, with no more than 10 customers at a table
- Organised outdoor training activities for sport teams without physical contact
- Beauty therapy salons for non-facial services such as nails, massage and tanning
- Personal services businesses should limit the time a customer remains at the business to 2 hours per visit.
From 5 June 2020:
- Plans to move into third and final stage of lifting restrictions.
- State travel restrictions lifted, however interstate borders remain closed.
Need more information?
Head to Australia.gov.au and click on the link for your state/territory.
Prepared by OnDeck Capital Australia Pty Ltd ABN 28 603 753 215 (“OnDeck”) for general information purposes only. Content may belong to or have originated from third parties and OnDeck takes no responsibility for the accuracy, validity, reliability or completeness of any information. Information current as at 3 August 2020. You should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, financial or any other decisions. Loans issued in Australia are subject to the terms of a loan agreement issued by OnDeck. Loans are subject to lender approval. OnDeck® is a Registered Trademark. All rights reserved.