COVID-19: A state-by-state guide to hospitality restrictions


As the COVID-19 health crisis starts to abate, and the curve starts to flatten, some restaurants, cafes and pubs have been given the green light to start trading again.

In the hospitality sector, many small businesses have remained open for takeaway and delivery services throughout the crisis.

Now, easing restrictions mean they may be able to open their doors and start taking baby steps towards business as usual.

Here’s the state of play so far.

This article was updated on Thursday, June 4, 2020.


As of June 1, cafes, restaurants and pubs are open in Victoria, and are able to serve meals to up to 20 people at a time, per enclosed space.

Venues still, however, have to take the names and contact details of all patrons, in order to assist with contact tracing, if required.

Tables must be spaced 1.5 metres apart, and venues have to abide by physical distancing rules, allowing for no more than one person per four square metres of space.

Venues are required to provide extra cleaning, staff health screening and temperature checks.

Currently, the easing of restrictions applies to venues that serve food, including restaurants and cafes and bistros within pubs, bars, hotels and licensed clubs.

The easing will not apply to public bars or gaming areas until at least the end of June, Premier Daniel Andrews has said.

However, if all goes well, the 20-person limit could be expanded to up to 50 patrons per space from June 22.

Andrews has hinted it could be upped again to 100 patrons “during the second half of July”.

If the number of COVID-19 cases in the state remain low, as of June 22, cinemas and theatres will also be able to open to up to 50 people.

Overnight stays are also currently allowed, including at private residences and hotels, as well as at campgrounds and caravan parks.

However, venues will not be able to offer communal cooking or bathroom facilities.

The Premier has also made particular mention of Victoria’s ski industry, saying the season will open on June 22.

Read more here.

New South Wales

Since May 15, food and drink premises in New South Wales have been able to open to seat a maximum of 10 people at any one time.

As of June 1, that limit increased to 50 people.

This applies to cafes, bistros and restaurants, including restaurants within registered pubs and clubs. However, alcohol may only be served with food.

Venues must continue to comply with social distancing rules, allowing for one person per four square metres of space, and physical distancing of 1.5 metres between patrons.

There is a maximum party size of 10 people.

Businesses have also been encouraged to place queue markers to encourage social distancing; install screens at points where customers and staff interact; encourage cashless payments; and place hand sanitiser out for customers.

The NSW government has encouraged customers to call ahead to book tables, rather than gathering to queue outside venues.

Gaming services — such as poker machines and pool tables — must remain closed.

Hotels are able to continue to provide accommodation and offer food and drinks as room service.

As of June 1, the state government is also allowing travel to regional NSW for holidays.

Campgrounds will be able to open, but visitors are being urged to call and book ahead, and to practice especially good hygiene when using shared facilities.

New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro urged people to “visit local businesses, enjoy local attractions and feast on the best food regional NSW has to offer”.

Find more information here.


In Queensland, cafes, restaurants and fast-food outlets are able to open to 20 people at a time, per room or defined area, while observing the four square metre rule and maintaining social distancing between customers.

Customers are now no longer required to order food in order to drink alcohol, but must be seated at a table.

Venues must provide table service for all customers,

Travel restrictions have also been lifted, and unlimited travel and overnight stays within Queensland are allowed.

Up to 20 people are also allowed in indoor cinemas, theatres and even concert venues. This number is expected to increase as of June 5, if the venue has an approved industry COVID Safe plan.

You can learn more here.

South Australia

South Australia fast-tracked its second wave of easing restrictions, relaxing restrictions on June 1, a week ahead of schedule.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are able to admit up to 80 people, provided they can contain them into groups of up to 20.

Alcohol can be served without food. Patrons are able to approach the bar area to order, but must be seated when they’re served.

It appears this means wineries and cellar doors will be able to re-open, ensuring the restrictions are met.

Cinemas and theatres are also able to open to up to 80 people.

Businesses are, however, required to complete a COVID-19 form, detailing their re-opening plan, which they must be able to produce on request.

Venues will also have to continue to abide by the four-square-metres-per-person rule, and of course the 1.5-metre social distancing rule.

The state also specifies that “good hygiene should be practised”.

There are no restrictions on travel within South Australia.

Learn more here.

Western Australia

The Western Australian government has opened up cafes and licensed venues, including pubs, bars and restaurants, allowing up to 20 people to dine-in. Again, venues must allow for the one-person-per-four-square-metre rule.

Customers must be seated while eating and drinking, and alcohol may only be served with a meal.

As of June 6, WA is planning to relax the four-square-metre rule to two-square-metres.

Businesses will also be able to serve alcohol without a meal, but only to seated customers.

Theatres, cinemas and concert venues will be able to re-open, to a maximum of 100 people per enclosed space, and up to 300 people in total.

The same applies to arcades, including pool and snooker providers and bowling alleys. The two-people-per-square-metre rule will still apply.

Since May 29, regional travel exemptions have been relaxed, with some exceptions.

Read more about the restrictions here.

Australian Capital Territory

Restaurants, bars and other hospitality venues in the Australian Capital Territory are able to open to a maximum of 20 people, per enclosed space.

Alcohol can only be served to customers who are dining.

Businesses can only offer table-service, and each separate area must have its own waiting staff. Staff teams are discouraged from entering the other areas.

Tables must be at least 1.5 metres apart, and venues must continue to allow for four square metres of space per person.

Venues are encouraged to enforce good hand hygiene among staff, and to frequently clean and disinfect all spaces.

Read more here.


Tasmania remains in stage one of its easing of restrictions, meaning cafes and restaurants can open for table service to up to 10 people.

But, the government has brought forward stage two to June 5, instead of June 15.

Currently, venues must adhere to spacing restrictions, allowing each customer four square metres of space.

Alcohol can only be served with food.

Venues that have two distinct dining areas may open each area to 10 customers (although two is the maximum). Each area must have completely separate waiting staff.

Tasmanian restaurants and cafes are also required to develop a ‘COVID-19 safety work plan’, and to implement measures to manage the risk of transmission of the virus at their business.

As of June 5, restaurants and cafes will be able to open to 40 seated customers. This applies to the venue as a whole, regardless of how many separate spaces it has.

Physical distancing requirements will still apply.

The venues must also take contact details from at least one person per group, for future contact tracing, if required.

Accommodation services will also be able to reopen, including hotels, motels, hostels, caravan parks and Airbnbs.

Learn more here.

Northern Territory

From May 15, restaurants, cafes and bars in the NT were able to re-open for the consumption of food and drinks.

There are not currently any restrictions on numbers allowed in any one venue. But there are other measures in place.

Before opening, businesses must have a ‘COVID-19 safety plan’ checklist in place, and submitted to the Department of Health, showing how they will meet physical distancing and hygiene requirements.

Businesses must have spacing markers on the floor anywhere where people might queue, and must make hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities readily available to customers.

Each party must be seated at separate tables, with no more than 10 people in a single party.

Again, customers can only consume food or drinks if they’re seated, and alcohol cannot be served without a meal.

The NT government also specifies that business owners in the sector have a responsibility to stay informed about restrictions related to COVID-19 and their type of business. Staff members are also responsible for understanding the risks.

As of June 5, cafes, restaurants and bars will be able to operate without restrictions.

However, there are still guidelines and hygiene practices venues are urged to follow.

Learn more here.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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