Settlement Guide

Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions, state by state and territory

Police check permits and ID of drivers at a checkpoint for traffic coming from Melbourne into Geelong. Source: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

The coronavirus restrictions across Australia are changing. They vary depending on where you live as States and Territories make changes based on their needs and concerns. Here are the current measures for states and territories.

SBS COVID-19 National information, CLICK HERE

This information is continuously updated but we also recommend checking the links to each state authority for full detail and exceptions.



Victoria - easing restrictions

 

Melbourne’s Stage 4 lock-down has been extended until at least the end of September 2020 under the government's roadmap to reopening the state. 

Victoria’s restrictions are easing at a different pace in Melbourne and Regional Victoria. To know the details, visit the roadmaps: 

Melbourne

  • Curfew starts from 9 pm
  • Exercise allowed up to 2 hours daily
  • People living alone can receive the visit of one nominated person ("social bubble")
  • Public outdoor gatherings of two people or a household


Summary of Steps towards COVID Normal
(subject to public health advice)

  • First Step (13 September)

First step only applies to Metro Melbourne.
Expanded social interaction (see above “Latest”)

  • Second Step

Regional Victoria (13 September)
Social bubbles, visitors and staged return of education.
Metro Melbourne (28 September)
Social bubbles, phased return of some workforces and education.

  • Third Step 

Regional Victoria (16 September)
Increased reopening for sport, recreation, ceremonies and special occasions.

  • No restrictions on leaving home
  • Spend time with others outside where possible
  • Public gatherings: up to 10 people outdoors
  • Visitors allowed at home from 1 other household (up to 5 people)
  • Schools return to onsite learning from Term 4 with safety measures
  • Hospitality open for predominantly outdoor seated service only
  • All retail open, except personal care (hairdressers open)

Metro Melbourne  (26 October)
Major industries return, increased reopening for education, sport, recreation, ceremonies and special occasions.

  • Last Step (23 November)

State-wide
Increased numbers for gatherings and hospitality.

  • COVID Normal

No restrictions for gatherings, visitors, hospitality or sport.

“COVID Normal” means:
- no new cases for 28 days
- no active cases (state-wide)
- no outbreaks of concern in the rest of the country


Applies to all Victoria


Diagnosed persons and close contacts

Persons diagnosed with coronavirus have to self-isolate and persons who are living with a diagnosed person, or who have been in close contact with a diagnosed person, to self-quarantine as well: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/202008/Diagnosed%20Persons%20and%20Close%20Contacts%20Directions%20%28No%2010%29%20-%2016%20August%202020.pdf

Hospital visitors

Entry into hospitals is restricted. Paid workers and volunteers can enter as usual, but there are restrictions on the age and number of visitors for patients, and limits on the duration of visits: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/202008/Hospital%20Visitor%20Directions%20%28No%2010%29%20-%2016%20August%202020.pdf

Fines

  • Not wearing a mask carries a penalty of $200.
  • Victorians failing to isolate after testing positive or being identified as a close contact will have to pay a $4957 fine.
  • According to the case, a single fine could rise to $20,000.

Masks

All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live. The fine for not wearing a mask is $200. Masks aren't compulsory for children under 12 years old. More info on masks: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-masks-covid-19
 
Financial support 
  • The Federal Government has introduced a $1,500 "disaster payment" for paid pandemic leave in Victoria. It's available for workers in Victoria who need to self-isolate but do not have sick leave or payments through JobKeeper or JobSeeker, and expected to benefit short-term visa holders in particular.

  • The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment replaces the Victorian Government’s $1500 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support payment.

  • A one-off $300 payment for Victorian workers, including parents and guardians, who are required to self-isolate while they wait for the results is available. 

Employer

Schools

Staggered return to school is planned from Term 4 (5 October) in Regional Victoria and 26 October for Metro Melbourne (Years 3 to 10).

  • All students across the state return to home-based learning
  • Flexible and remote learning is in place for every student across Victoria. This includes VCE students, who had been learning on campus.
  • Specialist schools will remain open
  • Students of parents who have to work outside their home, have the option to go to school and be supervised.
  • General Assessment Test (GAT), has been moved to the start of Term 4.
  • More information: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/department/Pages/learningfromhome.aspx

Childcare centres

  • Only vulnerable children and those of essential workers are allowed to attend childcare during the six weeks of Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne.
  • For the rest of the families, there’s a childcare “rescue package”.
  • It has been called “triple guarantee” because it aims to be a guarantee for parents, childcare services and childcare employees.

For families who need to keep children at home, the package means:

  • 30 days of extra absences without losing the placement
  • Keeping the child enrolled without cost for the service during the absent period

For childcare providers, it involves:

  • Extra payments from the government to fill the gap

State of disaster

• Gives Police greater power and allows authorities to suspend acts of Parliament.
• It was decided to make sure the government had clear power to impose and enforce a curfew.
• Appoints Police as authorised officers, removing the current need for police to have a health department official with them on jobs like compliance checks.

 

New South Wales

Latest COVID-19 case locations in NSW: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates

  • immediately self-isolate until 14 days after you were last in any of the COVID-19 locations 
  • get tested even if you have no symptoms
  • watch for COVID-19 symptoms and get retested should any symptoms recur
  • even if you get a negative test, you must stay in isolation for 14 days

Gathering limits

  • 20 guests inside the home and 20 for gatherings in a public place.
  • Religious services: maximum number of people attending any venue must not exceed 100 people, subject to the 4 square metre rule.
  • Weddings: the maximum number of people cannot be greater than 150 people subject to the 4 square metre rule and registration as a COVID-Safe business.
  • Funerals and memorial services: The maximum number of people should be the lesser of one person per 4 square metres or 100 people.

Businesses and recreational activities

NSW gyms and fitness centres must:

  • register and have a COVID Safety Plan
  • have a dedicated COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal on duty at all times (one staff member as a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal who will be in distinctive clothing and responsible all aspects of the COVID-19 Safety Plan are being adhered to including overseeing social distancing, cleaning and ensuring the accuracy of record keeping.)

Pubs, restaurants, bars, cafes, food and drink premises, micro-breweries, cellar doors, casinos, registered clubs, small bars and casinos:

  • limiting bookings to a maximum of 10 people.
  • a digital record must be created within 24 hours.
  • weddings and corporate events will also be limited to 150 people, subject to the four-square metre rule.
  • Funerals and places of worship will be limited to 100 people.

Business and events operators must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and keep a record of all people entering the premises: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/covid-safe-businesses

Cultural and sporting events at outdoor venues with a maximum capacity of 40,000 are allowed up to 25 percent of their normal capacity.

Children community sport and adult sports have resumed.

Travel

NSW has temporarily shut its border with Victoria. People returning to New South Wales from Victoria are forced into two weeks of hotel quarantine.

The hotel costs are waived for a month (12 August to 11 September 2020) to ease the financial burden on returnees. The fee will be waived retrospectively and apply to NSW residents already in hotel quarantine.

Border zone residents can apply for a NSW border entry permit (https://disasterassistance.service.nsw.gov.au/bcpermit/borderCheck) to cross the border into NSW, with certain conditions for a border zone Victorian resident:

  • is authorised to enter and remain in NSW only for work, education, medical or health care, or providing or receiving care to a vulnerable person, and
  • must not travel to any part of NSW that is outside of the border zone and
  • must not enter NSW if they have travelled in Victoria outside the border zone within the previous 14 days.

Check if you live in a border zone here: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/border-zone-address-check

People flying into New South Wales from overseas
are also forced into two weeks of hotel quarantine but at their own expense (AUD 3,000) https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/nsw-to-charge-returned-international-travellers-for-hotel-quarantine

Special provisions have been made for:

  • residents of border communities
  • people performing critical services
  • interstate residents transiting through NSW. 
  • Travellers from interstate can visit NSW for a holiday but will need to comply with the rules of their home state when returning.
  • Individuals who fail to comply with the new rules could face up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $11,000 or both.
  • Many caravan parks and camping grounds are open. Travellers planning to visit national parks should check www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au for further information.
  • Visiting residential aged care facilities or a health service is restricted.

More info: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/what-you-can-and-cant-do-under-rules/border-restrictions


Schools

  • Any NSW student with symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to return to school until they test negative.
  • School formals, dances, graduations and other social events are not permitted.
  • Schools will hold a year 12 assembly without parents to recognise the completion of school.
  • Only providers that are essential to the delivery of curriculum can continue to provide services and programs.
  • Interschool activities must remain within the local community or zone.
  • Parents/carers and other non-essential visitors are not allowed on the school site.
  • All group singing (choirs) and/or other chanting activities, as well as the use of wind instruments in group settings, are not permitted.
  • Canteens and uniform shops can open at the principal’s discretion
  • Day field trips to outdoor locations with no physical distancing requirements can take place

More NSW Education: https://education.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/advice-for-families#School2 
More NSW information: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19

 

Queensland


Gathering limits

Gatherings in homes and public spaces have been reduced to a maximum of 30 people, except for the Listed Local Government Areas in greater Brisbane.

These areas are now subject to additional restrictions:

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Ipswich
  • Logan City
  • Scenic Rim Region
  • Somerset Region
  • Lockyer Valley Region
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Redland City

More information about the areas: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/restricted-areas-covid-19

The restrictions are:

• Limiting gatherings to a maximum of 10 people in homes and public spaces
• Restricting visitors to residential aged care and disability accommodation facilities
• Restricting visitors in public and private hospitals.


Businesses and recreation

From June to December 2020 casual workers who do not have access to sick leave will be given a $1,500 lump sum payment from the Queensland Government if they test positive for coronavirus. It also covers workers not eligible for the JobKeeper program, which was restricted to long-term casual employees.

One person per 4 square metre rule applies to:

  • Number of customers in a business (for smaller venues below 200 square metres, one person per 2 square metres up to 50 persons)
  • Museums, art galleries, libraries and historic sites.
  • Sport, recreation and fitness organisations when following a COVID Safe Industry Plan.
  • Competition and physical contact on the field of play
  • Indoor sports facilities
  • Up to 25,000 spectators or 50% of capacity (whichever is the lesser) at Queensland’s Major Sports Facilities, with a COVID Safe Plan
  • Concert venues, theatres and auditoriums (or up to 50% capacity) with a COVID Safe Plan

Outback

50 people permitted at any one time for dining in: (with COVID Safe Checklist): 

  • restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered and licensed clubs, RSL clubs and hotels for locals only (must show proof of residence) – no bars or gaming.
  • Recreational travel within the outback only if you live in the outback.

Indigenous communities - bio-security areas 

State Government and Indigenous leaders have agreed on a three-stage plan to ease restrictions in Federal Government-designated bio-security areas.  

Designated communities will transition from the current federal emergency bio-security restrictions to state-based arrangements 

STAGE 1: People entering or re-entering a community will have to self-quarantine where safe to do so. However, quarantine exemptions will remain in place for essential workers, those travelling through communities without stopping and those granted an exemption. 

STAGE 2: Chief Health Officer will publish a direction that enables communities to become part of ’safe travel zones’ so residents can easily travel within based on public health advice.  

STAGE 3: Quarantine restrictions for entry into remote Indigenous communities will be removed, with the Burke and Cook Shires to be subject to the same provisions as other areas of Queensland under the Roadmap to Easing Restrictions: https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/government-actions/roadmap-to-easing-queenslands-restrictions

Travel restrictions

  • Anyone travelling from NSW or ACT is banned from entering Queensland.
  • Any person that has been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot during the past 14 days, including Victoria, must not enter Queensland.
  • Returning Queenslanders will be sent to mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
  • Any person travelling from Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory may enter Queensland subject to completing and signing a border declaration and undertaking to present for a COVID-19 test if they develop symptoms. This is how to apply to the pass: https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/government-actions/border-closing 
  • The Queensland Government has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in remote communities to implement a three-stage plan to safely ease restrictions in designated areas: https://www.datsip.qld.gov.au/resources/datsima/covid/remote-communities-roadmap.pdf

Schools

  • All students are attending schools.    

More Queensland schools information: https://qed.qld.gov.au/about-us/news-and-media/novel-coronavirus
More information: https://www.qld.gov.au/covid-19/government-actions/roadmap-to-easing-queenslands-restrictions


South Australia 

Gathering limits

  • Gatherings at private residences may not have more than 50 per gathering. 
  • Gatherings at a private place, other than a private residence (indoor or outdoor) are now restricted to no more than 100 people.
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants: can only serve alcohol to patrons who are seated, away from any bar or ordering area.
  • The 40 km travel buffer zone for cross border communities in Victoria and South Australia has been reinstated
  • People transiting to SA through Sydney or Canberra airports from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland or Tasmania will no longer be required to undertake 14 days self-isolation.

Businesses and recreation

All businesses, activities and gatherings allowed under Step 3 are listed in the Public activities direction no 3: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/emergency-declarations/public-activities

  • Businesses and defined public activities with an existing COVID-Safe Plan do not need to complete a new plan
  • If you have an existing COVID-Safe Plan but are now opening up more space or areas, you must create a new Plan.
  • Businesses and defined public activities that do not have a COVID-Safe Plan must complete a plan before they can commence operating: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/recovery/create-a-covid-safe-plan


Travel restrictions

  • Regional travel is allowed within South Australia.
  • No one can enter South Australia, if coming from Victoria, not even South Australia residents
  • Only essential travellers can enter SA from Victoria, including cross border community members.
  • Cross border community members at the South Australian / Victorian border have to reapply under a different category of Essential Traveller. If they have an approved travel status, they don't need to apply for a new approval if they are:

-undertaking year 11 or 12 high school education at a secondary school
-transporting by private vehicle a person who is undertaking year 11 or year 12 high school education
-agricultural/primary industry workers with property close to the SA/VIC border.

  • Travellers from NT, QLD, TAS and WA are allowed to enter South Australia directly without restriction.
  • Travellers from NSW or overseas need to self-isolate. Also, if you have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has.
  • South Australia’s borders are open to Canberrans since 16 September 2020, and travellers don’t need to isolate for 14 days on arrival.
  • During the 14 days of isolation you must stay at home (or hotel room) and not leave unless you need to seek urgent medical care.
  • If you are planning travel to South Australia, complete the Cross Border Travel Registration at least 3 days before you leave, regardless of where your travel begins: https://www.police.sa.gov.au/online-services/cross-border-travel-application

Schools

South Australian schools have been open since the beginning of term 2 and students are encouraged to attend, following the term 2 operating guidelines for SA public schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.education.sa.gov.au/sites/default/files/term-2-operating-guidelines.pdf 

More information: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/recovery 


Western Australia


Phase 4

Western Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed and it’s now on Phase 4 (out of 6 phases) of the state roadmap.

  • The planned date to enter Phase 5 (15 August) has been pushed back to 24 October, but health advisers might recommend pushing it further.
  • WA roadmap in English and other languages: https://www.wa.gov.au/government/publications/covid-19-roadmap
  • all existing gathering limits and the 100/300 rule are removed
  • gathering limits only determined by WA’s reduced 2 square metre rule (only for staff at venues that hold more than 500 patrons)
  • removal of seated service requirements at restaurants and pubs
  • no requirement to maintain patron register at restaurants, cafes and bars
  • all events permitted except for large scale, multi-stage music festivals
  • unseated performances permitted at venues such as concert halls, live music venues, bars, pubs and nightclubs
  • the casino gaming floor reopening under agreed temporary restrictions.

Travel restrictions

Schools

  • Western Australian public schools opened at the beginning of Term 2 for all families who choose to send their children to school.
  • For students who learn from home, distance education packages and resources are being provided.
  • Parents/guardians can enter school grounds to drop off or pick up their children. 

More Western Australia schools information: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-education-and-family-advice
More information: http://www.wa.gov.au/covid19roadmap


Tasmania


Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

Tasmanian workers are now eligible for a $1,500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if they cannot work because they need to self-isolate or quarantine.

It is a lump sum payment to help workers during their 14 day self-isolation period.

Gathering limits

  • Home: up to 20 people at any one time, not including household residents.
  • The maximum number of people includes staff, volunteers, children and babies.

Businesses and recreation

  • Number of people determined by the density of the area: maximum of 250 indoors and 500 outdoors.
  • The maximum density limit is one person per 2 square metres: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/families-community/gatherings-density-and-physical-distancing
  • Where the number of people permitted according to the density limit is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies.
  • People attending an event in a licensed venue can move around freely, but they must be seated while drinking alcohol.

More business retractions information: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/business-and-employees/business-restrictions

Travel restrictions

  • Tasmania’s State of Emergency has been extended until 26 October
  • 1 December is the planned date to relax Tasmania’s borders
  • You can travel and stay anywhere within Tasmania, but you must comply with the restrictions on gatherings and household visits.
  • Returning from Queensland: Returning Tasmanians who have spent time in the areas of City of Brisbane, City of Ipswich and Logan City are required to complete 14 days quarantine in government-designated accommodation.

Find updated Tasmania travel information: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/travellers-and-visitors/coming-to-tasmania


Online Travel Registration

  • Anyone intending to travel to Tasmania from another part of the country or overseas must register on the new online travel registration system called G2G PASS by going to https://www.g2gpass.com.au, before making their submission to request entry permission.
  • The Good to Go App has to be filled out accurately in terms of where the passenger may have been in the past 14 days and fines can go up to $16,800 or up to 6 months jail for those who provide incorrect information.

Schools

All classes have resumed, and all students are attending schools. 
More information:  https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/ 

 

Northern Territory


Gathering limits

  • There are no gathering limits in the NT, but people are asked to abide by social distancing of 1.5 metres
  • Weddings and funerals are allowed

Businesses and recreation

  • Exercise, outdoor gatherings, swimming, fishing and boating are allowed
  • Skate parks, pools, playgrounds are outdoor gyms allowed to open
  • From May 15 cafes, restaurants, bars, sports training, indoor markets, gyms, libraries, galleries and museums are allowed to open
  • Operate all licensed gaming activities including a TAB.
  • Team sports such as football, basketball, soccer and netball.
  • Cinema or theatre, concert hall, music hall, dance hall, nightclubs
  • Attend a bar without food being consumed.
  • All previously restricted services at beauty therapy and/or cosmetic services
  • All previously restricted services at tattooing or body art and piercing services
  • Attend an amusement park, community centre, recreation centre or play centre.
  • Attend community and sporting competitions with spectators in approved seating configuration. If above 500 people the event requires a separately approved COVID-19 Safety Plan.
  • All businesses, facilities and services previously restricted can now resume ensuring adherence to key principles.
  • Major events will be approved on a case by case basis.

Travel restrictions

  • Arrivals to the Territory from overseas will be directed into mandatory supervised quarantine at the Howard Springs quarantine facility and charged $2,500
  • Interstate Arrivals to the NT have to follow 6 steps:
    • Check quarantine requirements
    • Fill in the Border Entry Form
    • Print your form
    • Sign the declaration on arrival
    • Monitor your health
    • Keep up to date with declared Hotspots

More info about each of the 6 steps: https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel/quarantine

  • As borders re-opened for the rest of the country on 17 July, there is NT Police presence in all borders and airports indefinitely.
  • Australia's remote Northern Territory (NT) will keep its borders closed to coronavirus-affected states for at least another 18 months (from August 2020) People from those hotspots can still enter the territory but must complete a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine at their own cost.

The designated biosecurity zones have been lifted. Unless closed for seasonal closures, parks and reserves will be open and accessible to Territorians. 

Conditions and access to parks in the Northern Territory (NT) can change at short notice. Check the below websites before visiting: 

Schools

  • From 20 April 2020, all Northern Territory students are expected to physically attend school
  • Where families elect not to send their child to school, the child must be learning from home

More Northern Territory schools information: https://education.nt.gov.au/publications/information-for-term-2-2020?SQ_VARIATION_814972=0
NT Roadmap: https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/steps-to-restart/roadmap-new-normal

Australian Capital Territory

Gathering limits

More information on gatherings: https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/protecting-yourself-and-others/groups-and-gatherings

Travel 

  • Travelling to the ACT from NSW or Queensland: People who have been in the Greater Sydney Area are advised not to visit or work in high-risk settings, including aged care facilities, hospitals and correctional facilities, for a period of 14 days after leaving the Greater Sydney Area. There is no requirement for these people to quarantine.
  • Travelling to the ACT from Victoria: Anyone (other than ACT residents) travelling from Victoria will be denied entry to the ACT unless they are granted an exemption by ACT Health. Entry to the ACT from Victoria is now only possible through Canberra Airport, by air.
  • ACT residents from Victoria are required to enter quarantine until 14 days after leaving Victoria, and notify the authorities 72 hours before the intended travel date.

Businesses and recreation

  • From 18 September 2020, Canberra restaurants, cafes and bars can host 25 people regardless of the venue's size.
  • Bars, pubs, and clubs can serve alcohol to seated patrons in groups of up to 10 per booking or table without serving a meal.
  • Full-contact training for sport, dance and martial arts is now allowed.
  • The following can open, observing the one per 4 square metre rule for up to 100 people (including staff):
  • Places of worship and religious ceremonies.
  • Cinemas and movie theatres
  • Indoor and outdoor amusement centres, arcades, and play centres
  • Gyms, health clubs, fitness, dance
  • Swimming pools
  • Community sport and organised sporting activities
  • Choirs, bands and orchestras
  • Personal services (beauty and nail salons, tattoo, massage parlours, etc.)
  • Caravan parks, campgrounds and camp sites


Health Services protection

  • A new digital screening tool is available to determine if it is safe for someone to enter a health facility. It involves answering a series of simple questions. A green tick or red cross will indicate whether or not it is safe to enter: https://screening.covid19.act.gov.au/
  • Tighter visitor restrictions to health centres:
  • One visitor per patient, per day.
  • Admitted babies or children may have one parent/carer


Education 

  • All classes in public schools have returned to on-campus learning. 
  • The ACT will be the first state to reintroduce international students in July 2020, in line with the federal government’s phased return of international students. 

More information: https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/updates

 


  • People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.
  • Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am. The full list of restrictions can be found here: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/updated-restrictions-announcement-2-august-covid-19
  • If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
  • News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus