Australian COVID-19 Restrictions

On the 22 March 2020, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, announced new measures to protect Australians from coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The Prime Minister, and state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed to further actions to support social distancing measures already in place, and to protect the Australian community from the spread of coronavirus. Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed they would give effect to these restrictions through their own legislative processes and make announcements accordingly. 

Australians should expect these measures to be in place for at least 6 months.


Places of social gathering

National Cabinet agreed to move to more widespread restrictions on social gatherings.

Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed to implement, through state and territory laws, new Stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings, to be reviewed on a monthly basis.

Australians should expect these measures to be in place for at least 6 months.

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

  • Pubs, registered and licenced 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).

Isolated remote community hubs are not included in these restrictions.

Other facilities are not impacted, but will be considered under stage 2 restrictions, if necessary.

These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.

Leaders noted that these enhanced measures build on existing measures to slow the virus and save lives:

  • No non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people outside or more than 100 people inside.

  • All non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must have no more than one person per 4sqm. All Australians should expect their local businesses to be following this rule.

  • Where possible, keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others

  • Avoid non essential travel

  • Restrictions on entering aged care homes to protect older Australians

Leaders acknowledged that these new restrictions will change the way we live and expressed deep regret for those business owners and employees who will be impacted. The goal is to reduce the spread of the virus, to flatten the curve and to save the lives of fellow Australians.

State Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed they would give effect to these restrictions through their own legislative processes and make announcements accordingly.

Premiers and Chief Ministers will consider further Stage 2 restrictions if social distancing measures are not adhered to.

Additional prohibited activities and venues to apply from 11.59pm (local time) 25 March 2020

Business, premises or place


Food and drink


Takeaway service and home 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

Food courts

Delivery and takeaway can remain operational


Auction houses

Real estate auctions and open house inspections

Private appointments for inspection

Outdoor and indoor markets will be a decision for each state and territory

Food markets will continue to operate in all states and territories

Beauty and personal care services

Hairdressers and barber shops

Up to 30 minute appointments and the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies in the premises

Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours

Spas and massage parlours

Entertainment venues

Cinemas, nightclubs

Casinos, gaming or gambling venues

Strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues

Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums

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)

Leisure and recreation

Community and recreation centres

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

Boot camps, personal training operating outside and inside

For outside events, limited to groups of no more than 10 people and social distancing must be exercised.

Social sporting-based activities

Swimming pools

Residential facilities

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

Excluding permanent residents and workers.

Outdoor recreation

Caravan and camping parks will be a decision for each state and territory

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.

Non-residential institutions

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);

Places of worship, weddings and funerals

Weddings with a maximum attendance of no more than 5 people and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies.

Funerals attended by a maximum of no more than 10 people and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies.

Statement on schools

All leaders agreed that children should go to school tomorrow. Leaders agreed that we cannot see children lose an entire year of their education as a result of school closures caused by COVID-19.

Leaders committed to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice that says that it is safe to keep schools open.

Leaders also thanked all teachers and school staff for their support.

State Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed that schools will remain open through to the end of the current school terms to support students whose parents choose to send their children to school. Victoria’s school break will commence on Tuesday 24 March 2020.

All Leaders have committed to re-open schools at the end of the school break, subject to the advice of the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee.

If parents choose to keep their children home from school, parents must be responsible for the conduct of the children and to ensure they adhere to the social distancing arrangements in place. Parents must be aware that while the majority of adults who contract COVID-19 have mild forms of the virus, the elderly or those with co-morbidities can have more significant symptoms.

Schools will be encouraged to provide access to online and distance learning.

Action to prevent price gouging and exportation of critical sanitary and medical products

The Commonwealth Government will take action to help prevent exploitative price gouging and exporting products that are essential to preventing and controlling the spread of coronavirus.

These measures will help prevent individuals purchasing goods including face masks, hand sanitiser and vital medicines and either re-selling them at significant mark-ups or exporting them overseas in bulk, which prevents these goods from reaching people who need them in Australia.

These measures will not be designed to affect normal consumer buying of goods, commercial imports and exports, or other appropriate bulk sales.

Keep up to Date with Restrictions in Your Area