Fri, 27 Mar 2020 - 10:32
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COVID-19 Restrictions for Australians

As the medical experts and the National Cabinet have advised, all Australians should stay at home, unless shopping for essentials, travelling to and from work - where they cannot work from home, going to school and exercising.

Visitors should be kept to a minimum and people should not gather in groups in outdoor spaces.

Australians should practice good hygiene and social distancing wherever possible by keeping 1.5 metres apart from others and applying the 4 square metre per person rule.

The National Cabinet continues to monitor the evolving situation and will adjust restrictions as necessary and based on the advice of the medical experts.
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Non-Essential Gatherings

National Cabinet has agreed to restrict non-essential gatherings to no more than 500 people outside or more than 100 people inside.

All non-essential gatherings must have no more than one person per 4 square metres.

Already Restricted:

  • Pubs, registered and licensed clubs
    • Exceptions: bottle shops attached to these venues
  • Hotels
    • Exceptions: accommodation
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes
    • Exceptions: Takeaway and delivery; cafés or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless, workplace canteens can provide takeaway
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship
  • Food courts
    • Exceptions: Takeaway and delivery
  • Auction houses
  • Real estate auctions and open house inspections
    • Exceptions: Private appointments for inspection allowed
  • Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours
  • Spas and massage parlours
  • Gaming and gambling venues
  • Strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues
  • Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums
    • Exceptions: Live streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible with social distancing observed
  • Amusement parks and arcades
  • Play centres (indoor and outdoor)
  • Community and recreation centres
    • Exceptions: Facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.
  • Health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres
  • Allied health services
  • Boot camps, personal training operating outside and inside
    • Exceptions: For outside events, limited to groups of no more than 10 people and social distancing must be exercised.
  • Social sporting-based activities, excepting:
    • Individual or small group sporting activities can take place if adhering to the 1 person per 4 square metre rule.
    • For example, couples and small groups of friends may continue to exercise outdoors (walking, running, cycling) so long as the 1 person per 4 square metre rule is observed, and appropriate social distancing is maintained.
    • Other club activities, such as golf or tennis, can continue if the relevant state or territory government has approved the club to remain open – and as long as the 1 person per 4 square metre rule, appropriate social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures are implemented.
  • Swimming pools
  • Galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites
  • Libraries, community centres, and youth centres
  • Local government non-essential facilities and services (such as libraries and pools)
  • Community facilities (such as community halls, clubs, RSLs, PCYCs
  • Weddings
    • Weddings can be conducted with no more than five people, including the couple, the celebrant and the witnesses. The 4 square metre rule and social distancing must be observed.
  • Funerals
    • Funerals must be limited to no more than 10 people. The 4 square metre rule and social distancing must be observed.
    • Note: These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.

Restrictions on the following items will be a decision for each state and territory:

  • Outdoor and indoor markets
    • Exceptions: Food markets will continue to operate in all states and territories
  • Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses
    • Exceptions: Permanent residents and workers
  • Caravan and camping parks
    • Exceptions: Where people live permanently in caravan parks or are staying in caravan parks as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available, they may continue to do so.


National Cabinet agreed to extend the deadline for the suspension of semi urgent Category 2 and 3 elective surgeries at private hospitals to 11.59pm on 1 April 2020.

After this time, based on the advice of the medical experts, all non-urgent elective surgery will be temporarily suspended. Only Category 1 and some exceptional Category 2 surgery will continue until further notice. This will apply in both the public and private health systems.

By cancelling certain elective surgeries, the National Cabinet is acting to preserve resources including protective equipment to help prepare public and private health services to prepare for their role in the COVID-19 outbreak.

Every patient waiting for elective surgery is assessed by their treating medical professional as Category 1, 2 or 3 per the following definitions:

Category 1 – Needing treatment within 30 days. Has the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point where the patient’s situation may become an emergency

Category 2 – Needing treatment within 90 days. Their condition causes pain, dysfunction or disability. Unlikely to deteriorate quickly and unlikely to become an emergency

Category 3 – Needing treatment at some point in the next year. Their condition causes pain, dysfunction or disability. Unlikely to deteriorate quickly.
Decisions on the category of patients are at the discretion of their treating medical professional.


The health advice on schools has not changed and it is not recommend that schools be shut at this time.

Some states may end their first term early or have limited pupil free days. 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.

Medical experts have advised that childcare centres and universities are essential and should continue at this time, but with risk mitigation measures in place and adhering to social distancing.

Overseas Travel

  • The Australian Government has prohibited Australians from travelling overseas
    • Exceptions, which will be approved by the Australian Border Force, will apply to a range of categories of travellers, including:
      • For those citizens ordinarily resident overseas.
      • Where travel is essential or necessary.
      • Where travel is in our national interest.
      • On compassionate and humanitarian grounds.
  • Australian borders closed to all but Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members.
    • Exceptions include:
      • New Zealand citizens who normally reside in Australia (subclass 444) can come to Australia.
      • The Australian Border Force Commissioner may consider additional exemptions including for persons with critical skills and diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia.
      • Citizens of some countries can transit through Australia to return home.
  • The Australian Government has banned cruise ships from foreign ports (including round trip international cruises originating in Australia) from arriving at Australian ports for an initial 30 days.
  • We are working to extend the restrictions on cruise ship access to Australian ports for a further 2 months to 15 June 2020, and for it to apply to any vessel undertaking a domestic, overnight cruise including all Australian and international vessels. A review of the extension period will occur three weeks before its expiry, with the outcome notified to industry.
  • All non-Australian flagged cruise ships currently in Australia will be directed to depart Australian waters as soon as possible, excluding vessels that have previously been approved entry or were home porting in Australia at the time the cruise ship ban was implemented. Where necessary, vessels leaving Australia should be permitted to re provision to facilitate departure.
  • Home ported cruise ships that wish to remain in Australia should seek approval from the Government and should remain with the minimal crew required to ensure maintenance and safe operation.
    • The following exceptions apply:
      • Australian flagged vessels.
      • International cruise ships en route having departed their last overseas port and destined for Australia prior to the ban taking effect on 0001 AEDST 16 March 2020.
      • Australian cruise vessels (domestic cruise ships) operating within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone can continue to operate without restriction.
      • Round Trip Cruises that were already in progress and returning to Australia prior to the ban
  • All travellers to Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days, either at home or in a hotel.