Coronavirus: What you can and can't do during 'second wave'

Katherine Chatfield
·Columnist
·11-min read

As coronavirus cases continue to climb in Victoria and NSW, state restrictions are being tightened again and border restrictions across the country are changing.

With Melbourne now in stage three of lockdown, meaning residents can only leave their house for essential reasons such as buying food, seeking medical treatment, exercise, or to go to work or school if they can’t work or study from home, NSW is also re-introducing tighter restrictions as clusters grow across the state.

Other states are delaying opening borders to domestic travellers, or introducing restrictions on who can enter.

Here is what you can and can’t do this weekend, across the country:

Customers dining in at the Rio in Sydney.
From Friday, new coronavirus restrictions have been extended to restaurants and bars across NSW. Source: AAP

Can I go to the pub or out for dinner?

NSW

Yes, but there are limits. From Friday, July 24, NSW enters its “COVID-normal” phase. This means you can only make bookings for 10 people (it was previously 20), and venues must adhere to the four-square-metre per person rule. You must only drink alcohol when seated.

For any venues that hold more than 250 people, a marshall will oversee social distancing. All diners must leave their contact details to allow for contact tracing and venues must put this on to a digital record within 24 hours. Venues must have a COVID-Safe registration with the NSW Government to ensure they’re correctly addressing hygiene and other necessary measures. Venues in breach of the rules can be fined $55,000 plus $27,500 for each day offences continue.

Victoria

No, not if you live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire. All pubs and restaurants in this area are closed, but are able to offer home delivery of food, and, in some cases, alcohol.

In the rest of Victoria, you can go to the pub or out for dinner, but there’s a limit of 20 patrons per venue, with groups of 10 people allowed to dine together. Alcohol can only be served with a meal, patrons must be seated, and if you enter an establishment for more than 15 minutes, you must leave your contact details.

Queensland

Yes. As long as the four-square-metre rule is observed, venues that have a COVID-safe checklist (including RSLs) can have any number of people. Venues smaller than 200 square metres can have a maximum of 50 people.

ACT

Yes, you can drink alcohol in up to groups of 10, as long as you’re seated, and you don’t have to have food alongside your drink.

Venues can hold up to 100 people as long as there’s one person per four square metres.

A group of people dining in at Macelleria Restaurant in Bondi Beach, Sydney.
Bookings are limited to 10 people in NSW. Source: AAP

Western Australia

Yes, it’s pretty much business as usual, although there must only be one person per two square metres. Food and alcohol is allowed to be served to non-seated patrons in pubs. There’s no need for guests to leave contact details when they enter.

South Australia

Yes, as long as there is one person per two square metres, there’s no limit on the number of people allowed in a venue.

You’re allowed to be served alcohol in pubs when you’re not seated, but buffets and salad bars are still not open.

Northern Territory

Yes, as long as the venue has a COVID-safe plan, you can go about your business as usual, and even head to a nightclub as they are now open again.

Tasmania

Yes, if venues follow the one person per two-square-metre rule, venues can accommodate 250 people indoors, or 500 people outside.

Passengers in an unusually quiet baggage arrivals area at Sydney Domestic Airport.
All Australians except for this living in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire are able to travel around their state. Source: AAP

Can I travel within my own state?

NSW

Yes. There are currently no official restrictions when it comes travelling within NSW, and people are allowed to move around the state freely. However, it’s highly advised people avoid the current hotspots in NSW, including Casula and Cecil Hills.

Victoria

Not if you live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire. If you live here you must only leave your home to shop for food or essential items, exercise, work if you can’t work from home, and for compassionate reasons.

You must wear a mask at all times when you leave the house. You should not travel further than you need to within this area.

For the rest of Victoria, travel within the region is allowed. You are permitted to make group bookings for accommodation for up to 20 people.

Queensland

Yes, Queenslanders can travel within their own state without restrictions, apart from to some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities. Campsite and caravan parks are open as normal.

ACT

Yes, you can travel unrestricted around the state.

Tasmania

There are no limits to travel within Tasmania.

Western Australia

Travel is unrestricted apart from to some remote Aboriginal communities.

South Australia

Some Aboriginal communities in the state have closed their land to visitors, who have to quarantine for 14 days before entering, but other than that residents can move around freely.

Northern Territory

Yes, you can go wherever you like.

Friends standing outside a home drinking near a set table.
There is no limit on the number of guests you can over in some states, as long as people maintain social distancing. Source: AAP

Can I organise a party at home?

Victoria

Residents in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire cannot make or receive social visits to friends or family in their home. You must only have people to your house if you need essential care.

In the rest of Victoria, you are allowed to have just five people to your house (on top of the people who already live there) at one time.

NSW

You are officially allowed up to 20 people in your home at one time, although NSW’s Chief Health Officer “recommends a COVID-Safe precautionary approach of limiting visitors to the home to 10 people as a general principle”.

Queensland

Yes, you can have up to 100 people at your home in the Sunshine State.

Western Australia

As long as you adhere to the one person to two-square-metre rule, you can have as many visitors in your home as you like.

ACT

There’s no limit on house guests.

South Australia

On Friday, July 24, South Australia will impose a 50-person cap on family gatherings and a 100-person cap for weddings and funerals on 12.01am on Wednesday, July 29.

Tasmania

Visitors are capped at 20 people, on top of those you already live with.

Northern Territory

There’s no guest limit in your house, but social distancing is encouraged if you’re with people you don’t know well.

A teenager speaks with his 81-year-old grandmother through a window at a hospital.
It’s a national requirement that you have had the flu vaccination before visiting an aged-care home. Source: Getty Images

Can I visit my parents and grandparents?

If you are visiting family in an aged-care facility, it’s a national requirement that you have had the flu vaccination, unless you have a medical reason why you can’t. You are not allowed to visit if you’ve been in recent contact with someone with a confirmed COVID-19 case, or have been overseas recently.

Victoria

If you’re in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, you can meet one other person in a public space – but not in their house, even if they live in another part of Victoria.

If you live in another part of Victoria, you shouldn’t visit metropolitan or Mitchell Shire unless essential – social visits are not allowed.

If you and your parents or grandparents live in another part of Victoria, you are allowed to have five people in your house at one time, but remember that people aged 70 or over, or 65 or over with chronic health conditions are at increased risk of experiencing severe coronavirus symptoms if they catch it.

If you are visiting a parent or grandparent in an aged-care facility, the same rules apply across the whole of Victoria. You are only allowed to visit if you are providing essential care that can’t be provided by the facility, if you are attending a dying resident, as a guardian or under the mental health act.

NSW

Yes, you’re allowed to have up to 20 people in someone’s home at once, but people over 70, or those over 65 with a chronic health condition are advised to limit contact with too many people, as they are in the ‘vulnerable’ category.

Aged-care homes are limited to two visitors at a time, and should take place either outside or in the resident’s room rather than in communal areas, for a short period of time.

Queensland

As well as being able to visit people in their home, aged-care residents can now have any amount of visitors throughout the day, and two visitors at a time.

Western Australia

Aged-care residents are allowed one visit a day from family members or close friends, with two visitors at a time.

South Australia

People are allowed one visit a day, with up to two people allowed to enter the facility together to visit.

Tasmania

Two people are allowed to visit at once, but residents can have multiple visits with no time restrictions on each visit. Extra visitors are allowed for end of life support.

Northern Territory

Two people are allowed to visit at once, and visitors are encouraged to limit their time in aged-care facility. Children under 16 aren’t allowed to visit.

ACT

Residents can have one visit a day, of up to two people, which should be capped at two hours.

Police are seen stopping cars at a check point on the Queensland and New South Wales border on Griffith Street in Coolangatta at the Gold Coast. Source: AAP
NSW residents are not allowed to travel to Queensland if they are from one the state’s hotspots. Source: AAP

Can I go on my work trip interstate?

Victoria

Although Victoria’s borders are open, residents won’t be allowed into any other state. NSW have tightened their border controls with Victoria even further, with only people who have a public health permit allowed to enter the state.

South Australia and Queensland have specifically closed their borders to anyone who has been in Victoria in the last 14 days, and anyone from Victoria who wants to travel to the Northern Territory will have to self- quarantine for 14 days.

The ACT borders are closed to Victorians, but if someone is an ACT resident who has been in Victoria and wants to return home, they have to quarantine for 14 days.

Western Australia and Tasmania have closed their borders to all other states.

NSW

NSW residents are not allowed to travel to Queensland if they are from one the state’s hotspots.

Travellers wanting to enter South Australia from NSW will have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, and undergo a COVID-19 test when they arrive.

Western Australia and Tasmania have closed their borders to all other states, but it’s possible to enter the ACT and the Northern Territory if you are travelling from NSW.

Queensland

Queenslanders are allowed to travel to all states with open borders, but if you are a Queensland resident returning from a hotspot, you must quarantine for 14 days.

Tasmania

Tasmania will open its borders to South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory in two weeks' time.

Premier Peter Gutwein announced on Friday, July 24, a travel bubble with the three jurisdictions will be set up from August 7.

Mr Gutwein said he couldn't see the border reopening with Victoria anytime in the near future.

He said the island state was taking a cautious approach with Queensland and NSW.

Northern Territory

Travellers coming from hotspots are advised to cancel their plans. Everyone entering the Northern Territory must complete a border entry form.

South Australia

Anyone from NT, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia can enter without restrictions. People from ACT and NSW will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival in the state.

From 12.01am on Wednesday, the state's hard border closure with Victoria will be extended to also prevent any South Australian residents returning home.

Western Australia

The border is now closed again to all states, unless you are an exempt traveller, and can apply for special dispensation.

ACT

Canberrans are being urged not to travel to anywhere in Victoria and certain locations in NSW. Anyone who has been in any of these locations in NSW or Victoria will not be allowed in to the ACT without a quarantine period. Travellers from other states are allowed to enter.

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