Limits on public gatherings for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Public gatherings significantly increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading. On 29 March the National Cabinet agreed to further limit most indoor and outdoor non-essential gathering to 2 people. Rules on essential gatherings are also in place. Find out what limits apply.

Why these limits are important

These limits help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are especially important for at risk people, such as older people and those with chronic conditions.

Individual states and territories may choose how to reinforce the requirements.

Non-essential gatherings

Stay at home unless you are:

  • going to work or education (if you are unable to do so at home)
  • shopping for essential supplies such as groceries, return home without delay
  • going out for personal exercise in the neighbourhood, on your own or with one other
  • attending medical appointments or compassionate visits

Whenever you are out of the home, always practice good physical distancing and hand hygiene.

This is especially important for people of the over age of 70, those over 60 years who have existing health concerns and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the aged of 50 who have existing health concerns.  These groups should limit the contact with others as much as possible when away from home.

The following facilities were restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • pubs, registered and licensed clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and night clubs
  • restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies)

From 12:00am on 26 March, these restrictions were extended to the following:

  • food courts (except for take away)
  • auction houses, real estate auctions and open houses
  • personal services ( beauty, nail, tanning, waxing and tattoo salons)
  • spa and massage parlours, excluding health related services such as physiotherapy
  • amusement parks, arcades and play centres (indoor and outdoor)
  • strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues.
  • galleries, national institutions, historic sites and museums
  • health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres and swimming pools
  • community facilities such as community halls, libraries and youth centres, RSL and PCYC
  • gaming and gambling venues
  • indoor and outdoor markets (excluding food markets). States and territories will make their own announcements about this.

Weddings can be conducted with no more than 5 people, including the couple, the celebrant and the witnesses. The 4 square metre rule and social distancing must be observed.

Funerals must be limited to no more than 10 people. The 4 square metre rule and social distancing must be observed.

Hairdressers and barbers can continue to operate under strict new rules. The 4 square metre rule and social distancing must be observed. 

Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast, campsites, caravan parks and boarding houses will be a decision for each state and territory.

The health advice on schools has not changed and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) does not recommend that schools be shut at this time. Some states may end their first term early.

If parents choose to keep their children home from schools that are open, they must be responsible for their children’s conduct and make sure they adhere to social distancing.

States and territories are making decisions regarding schools based on local circumstances. Visit your state or territory government website for more information.

Essential gatherings

Essential activities include:

  • essential workplaces, where you cannot work from home
  • health care settings
  • pharmacies
  • food shopping
  • schools and universities, where you cannot study from home
  • public transport and airports

These essential gatherings must apply social distancing and good hygiene practices, including:

  • being able to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between people
  • providing hand hygiene products and suitable rubbish bins, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal

Aged care facilities

Special restrictions remain in place for aged care facilities to protect older Australians.

Public transport

Public transport is essential at this stage but will be reviewed regularly.

Always use appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices when travelling on public transport.

Non-essential travel is to be avoided.

Last updated: 
29 March 2020

Help us improve

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.