The latest COVID-19 outbreaks have seen lockdowns introduced and/or restriction changes to many Australian states and territories, here’s what the current restrictions are across the country.

Note: These restrictions are correct as of 11.30am, Wednesday, 21 July, 2021, given the volatile nature of COVID-19 and the delta variant, you should regularly check your local Government websites to obtain the most recent information.

Australian Capital Territory: The requirement to wear face masks in the ACT ended at 11.59pm on Friday 9 July 2021.

The ACT Government encourages wearing a face mask where physical distancing is not possible, such as public transport or crowded indoor venues.

Food and drink businesses are subject to the following restrictions:

  • A venue can have more than 25 people if the venue has no more than 1 person per 2 square metres in each usable space, either indoors or outdoors.
  • A venue needs an exemption to hold more than 1,000 people.
  • Restrictions on numbers exclude staff.

Usable space is space in which people can freely move around, but doesn’t include:

  • staff-only, closed-off and unused areas
  • stages and similar spaces
  • restrooms, changerooms and similar spaces
  • areas with fixtures, fittings, and displays

Food and drink businesses can operate as follows:

  • Food courts can open for dine-in and takeaway.
  • Bars, pubs and clubs can serve alcohol — with or without food with no limit on the size of group bookings.
  • Patrons can order at the bar or counter.
  • Patrons can eat and drink alcohol while standing indoors or outdoors.
  • Patrons can use entertainment facilities at venues, such as pool tables, jukeboxes and darts — but they should stay in their groups and return to their seats when finished. Venues should clean entertainment facilities frequently.
  • Live music is allowed if singers stay at least two metres from each other, band members and the audience.
  • Cellar doors can provide wine tastings without food.
  • Nightclubs are open if they meet the same rules as licensed venues — see above.
  • Dancing is allowed in indoor spaces of venues — on dedicated dance areas — if there’s no more than one person per two square metres with a maximum cap of 25 people.
  • Self-serve food and beverage areas such as buffets are prohibited.
  • Patrons shouldn’t congregate and groups shouldn’t mingle with other groups.

Hospitality venues and licensed premises must have a COVID Safety Plan. They must display the number of patrons allowed in their venue under COVID-19 restrictions.

Patrons must provide contact details to help with contact tracing. It’s also important to keep practising physical distancing and good hygiene.

New South Wales: If you live in, usually work in, or usually attend a university or other tertiary education facility in Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas, you are subject to a stay-at-home direction. You must stay at home — unless you have a reasonable excuse and it’s absolutely necessary to leave, or you haven’t been in Greater Sydney for 14 days.

If you have a reasonable excuse to and absolutely must leave your home, stay within your local area. Don’t travel outside your local area if you can avoid it.

If you’ve been in Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, for any reason since Monday 21 June 2021, you must follow the stay-at-home rules for 14 days from the date you left the area.

The following hospitality businesses in Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, must close:

  • Food and drink premises, except for:
    • selling food or drink for people to eat or drink off site
    • selling food to be consumed in a person’s room if in a hotel or motel
    • if the premises are part of a shopping centre, selling food or drink for people to eat or drink outside of the shopping centre
  • Pubs and registered clubs, except for:
    • selling food or drinks for people to eat and drink off site and
    • providing accommodation, including allowing food and drinks to be consumed in a person’s room.
  • Micro-breweries or small distilleries holding a drink on-premises authorisation under the Liquor Act 2007, or cellar door premises — except to sell food or drinks for people to consume off premises.
  • Casinos, except for selling food or drinks for people to consume off site and providing accommodation, including allowing food and drinks to be consumed in a person’s room
  • Nightclubs.

All hospitality businesses in NSW must use the Service NSW COVID Safe Check-in app to electronically register customers, staff and visitors — including maintenance workers and delivery drivers.

Rest of NSW

  • Hospitality premises may have the greater of 25 people or one person per four square metres.
  • Drinking alcohol while standing at indoor venues is not allowed. You must be seated to drink alcohol.
  • Dancing is not allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs — however, dancing is allowed at weddings for the wedding party only, if there’s no more than 20 people on the dance floor at any one time.
  • Singing by audiences at indoor shows is not allowed. People may only sing in non-residential indoor premises if they’re performers and they’re performing or rehearsing, the premises are an educational establishment or the singing is part of a singing lesson.
  • Masks are compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces and at organised outdoor events.

All hospitality businesses in NSW must use the Service NSW COVID Safe Check-in app to electronically register customers, staff and visitors — including maintenance workers and delivery drivers.

Hospitality businesses include all food and drink premises, casinos, micro-breweries, small distilleries, pubs, small bars, registered clubs, retail businesses and offices.

Businesses also need to check in customers collecting takeaway orders.

Northern Territory: Lockdowns in both Greater Darwin and Alice Springs have ended, and travel is permitted across the Territory. All previous restrictions that were in place have been lifted.

Cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, food courts and other venues that serve food and drinks can open. You can drink alcohol without ordering food.

All licensed gaming activities — including TABs — can open. Customers should follow the 1.5 metres physical-distancing rule at all venues.

The Territory Check-In App is mandatory for use in all NT businesses, shopping centres, venues and events. Pen and paper check-in is permitted if you don’t have a smartphone.

You will be required to check in everywhere you go, no matter how long you spend at that location.

Queensland: All of Queensland including Townsville and Palm Island — but excluding South East Queensland — will be under the same restrictions, including:

  • There will be no limit on gatherings in homes. However, you will need to keep a list of who attends a gathering if it exceeds more than 100 people.
  • There will be no limit for people gathering in outdoor public spaces.
  • People in home quarantine will still need to follow their home quarantine requirements — regardless of where they are in the state.

Current restrictions for South East Queensland, Townsville and Palm Island
The lockdown in Brisbane City Council and Moreton Bay Regional Council areas has ended. Restrictions still apply for the following local government areas:

  • Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Townsville (including Magnetic Island), Palm Island, Ipswich, Logan City, Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Somerset, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and the Gold Coast.

The following restrictions will apply in Townsville and Palm Island until 6:00am Friday 16 July 2021 and in South East Queensland until 6:00am Friday 23 July 2021:

  • you must be seated to drink or eat in cafes and restaurants.
  • businesses and venues can only have 1 person per 4 square metres inside, and 1 person per 2 square metres outdoors, while smaller venues up to 200 square metres can have 1 person per 2 square metres with a maximum of 50 people
  • private gatherings are limited to 30 people
  • up to 100 people can attend weddings and funerals
  • only 20 people can dance at weddings.

All of Queensland including Townsville and Palm Island — but excluding South East Queensland — will be under the same restrictions, including:

  • Three people per four square metres or 100% allocated seated and ticketed capacity will apply to indoor premises including restaurants, cafes and pubs.
  • Self-service food will be allowed.
  • The three people per four square metres rule will apply to indoor play areas — which will also need to comply with the COVID Safe Checklist available at covid19.qld.gov.au.

Restrictions for the rest of Queensland
If you have been in any of the local government areas that have additional restrictions in place, you are required to wear a mask indoors and outdoors wherever you are in the state.

  • All indoor premises and events can have an occupant density of one person per two square metres, or 100 per cent capacity with ticketed and allocated seating — whichever is greater.
  • Outdoor areas can have an unlimited number of people.
  • People can stand in hospitality settings to eat and drink, in indoor and outdoor areas, if there’s a COVID Safe Event Plan or Event Checklist in place.
  • Dance floors are allowed indoors and outdoors. Dance areas include the areas near and in front of performance stages. There can only be 1 dancer per 2 square metres in the dance area.
  • All hospitality industry businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs, must use the Check In Qld app to collect contact information.
  • Takeaway and food-delivery services can continue.
  • Food courts can open, but self-service buffets in hospitality venues are not allowed.

Physical distancing rules still apply. You should remain 1.5 metres away from others, where possible.

Self-service food, such as buffets, is allowed.

Hospitality businesses must collect and store contact information using the Check in Qld app for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 56 days. This includes restaurants, cafes, fast-food outlets and other venues that serve food and drink.

It also includes pubs, nightclubs, licensed clubs, RSL clubs, function centres, bars, wineries, distilleries, microbreweries and licensed premises in hotels.

South Australia: Level Five restrictions will be in place for seven days from 6pm, Tuesday, 20 July 2021.

The only reasons to leave home will be to care for someone, for essential work, to purchase essential goods such as food, exercise with people from the same household and healthcare, including COVID testing and vaccination. Venues are allowed to open for takeaway and delivery.

Masks (covering the mouth and nose) are required in:

  • High risk settings
  • Health care services
  • Passenger transport services
  • Public places

Only one person per household per day may leave the premises for the above reasons, unless accompanied by a dependant or a person for whom they provide care if it is not practicable for such dependant or person to remain at home.

Shops may open and close at any time for the purposes of the provision of essential goods or services.

Goods may be loaded and unloaded at any time for the purposes of the provision of essential goods. A person may leave home to arrange collection and unloading of freight en route at the time of the commencement of this direction.

Tasmania: Hospitality venues such as restaurants, cafés, food courts, pubs, clubs, bars, RSLs and community clubs can accept up to 250 people per undivided indoor space and up to 1,000 people per undivided outdoor area at any one time.

The density limit at these premises is one person per two square metres.

Where the density limit is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies. For example, an indoor venue can’t hold more than 100 people if the floor space measures 200 square metres.

Staff, children and babies are included in the number and density limits.

Patrons can dance and drink while standing if the following is applied:

  • up to 100 people can dance and drink standing up at indoor venues
  • up to 250 people can dance and drink standing up at outdoor venues
  • for example, if a venue can accommodate 250 people based on the 2 square metres rule, you could have 50 people dancing, 50 people standing up to drink and 150 people sitting down to drink
  • Dine-in restaurant, café, pub and club patrons must provide contact details and time of entry of at least one member of their group for possible contact tracing purposes later.

You must practise physical distancing where practicable and observe good hygiene.

Restaurants can continue to offer delivery and takeaway services.

A range of businesses, venues, organisations and events must register for and use the free Check in TAS app to collect the contact details of patrons aged 16 years and older.

You must clearly display the Check in TAS QR code at all your premises or event entrances. You will receive this QR code after you have registered.

Tasmanians and visitors aged 16 years and older must check in to a range of businesses, venues, organisations and events with the Check in TAS app.

If you do not have an electronic device or are unable to use one, others in your group can check you in on their device or staff can check you in manually.

Victoria: All of Victoria is currently in lockdown and must comply with special restrictions, with Premier Daniel Andrews extending this by seven days this morning, to 11:59pm on Tuesday, 27 July, 2021.

Cafes, restaurants and other hospitality venues can provide take-away service only. Entertainment venues, such as clubs, are closed.

You must wear a face mask both indoors and outdoors — unless you’re at home or you have a lawful reason not to.

Restrictions for all of Victoria from 11:59pm, Thursday 15 July 2021, until 11:59pm, Tuesday 20 July 2021
You can only leave your home for these five reasons:

  • shopping for essential goods and services — limited to 1 person per household per day, within a 5km radius from your home, unless your closest shops are further away
  • for authorised work and permitted education — if you can work from home, you must work from home
  • exercise for a maximum of 2 hours — with 1 other person or members of your household, within a 5 km radius from your home
  • for caregiving, compassionate or medical reasons
  • to get vaccinated — unless you have COVID-19 symptoms, in which case you should go and get a COVID-19 test
  • You can also leave your home in an emergency.

You won’t be allowed visitors to your home — except your intimate partner. If you live alone, you can form a bubble with one person.

You must work from home if you can.

Western Australia: Perth and Peel are no longer subject to post-lockdown restrictions. Both regions are now under the same restrictions as the rest of Western Australia.

There are no capacity limits to gatherings or events.

However, it’s important that you stay at least 1.5 metres from people who are not from your household. Practise good hygiene.

COVID Safety Plans are still required for major events and venues. Venues must also continue to maintain contact registers and use the SafeWA app.

All hospitality premises can operate at full capacity — there are no capacity limits.

However:

  • Businesses require a COVID Safety Plan and must maintain a contact register — see below for detail.
  • Events with 500-2,500 patrons need to complete a COVID Event Checklist.
  • Events with more than 2,500 patrons need to complete a COVID Event Plan.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of TheShout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both TheShout and Bars and Clubs.

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