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 19 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 This article will be updated as new restrictions are announced, implemented, or repealed.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?
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 – From midnight on 21 June 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 – Up to 100 people are allowed to gather publicly and privately per single undivided space. Up to 300 people can gather together in total over multiple spaces.
South Australia – Gatherings of up to 75 people are allowed indoors, as long as the four square metres per person rule is met.
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.
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. Further details, including how many spectators will be allowed, will be released in the coming days.
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 – Gatherings of up to 80 people are allowed outsideOn 26 June, caps on public gatherings will no longer apply, though everyone must still maintain physical distancing.
Western Australia – Up to 100 people are allowed to gather outside at the moment.
South Australia – Up to 20 people can gather outside for non-work reasons. You must continue to practice physical distancing with anyone you don’t live with.
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 – Residents in aged care facilities can have one visit per day, of up to two visitors, for no longer than two hours. But from Monday 22 June, multiple visits will be allowed in one day, and residents will be permitted to go outside on trips, and hairdressers will be allowed in. Children under 16 will 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 up to two visitors at one time per day, including doctors. 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. Visits cannot take place in communal areas.
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 – Yes, restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, hotels and RSLs can seat up to 80 diners per dining room, as long as there is one person per four square metres. You can find out what constitutes a dining room here. Each dining area must also have separate waitstaff. Any alcohol must be purchased with a meal. Under stage 3 rules, brought forward to 26 June, there will be no cap on public gatherings. Venues will only be allowed one person per four square metres.
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. Alcohol may be served without a meal at licensed premises, as long as patrons are seated. Food courts can also reopen to seated patrons.
South Australia – Yes. Up to 300 people will be allowed in venues, with up to 75 people per room/ enclosed area. There must be four square metres per person. Pubs, wineries and cellar doors are allowed to serve alcohol without food, but only to seated patrons. FUnder stage 3 rules, expected to be introduced in July, a venue’s attendance limit will require four square metres per person.
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. Under stage 3 rules, expected to be introduced in July, a venue’s attendance limit will require four square metres per person.
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.