City economy

Covid-19 restrictions eased for hospitality venues and outdoor music performances

The NSW Government has introduced changes to allow more people to dine out together and attend live music.

Bistro Rex, Potts Point

Changes for hospitality venues

From Friday 16 October 2020, restaurants, cafes and bars with outdoor seating can increase capacity. They can now have 1 person for every 2 square metres for outdoor areas. This previously was 1 person per 4 square metres.

Corporate functions of up to 300 people can also now be held at any appropriate premises, including at restaurants, subject to a Covid-Safe plan. This was previously only possible for function centres.

Just in time for Christmas parties, changes are being made to group bookings. From Friday 23 October, restaurants, cafes and bars can also have 30 customers per booking, and 30 customers per table. Previously the rule was a maximum of 10.

Changes to outdoor music performances and rehearsals

Good news for summer entertainment: up to 500 people can now attend outdoor seated music performances and rehearsals. This is for venues complying with the 4 square metre rule. Previously there was a total of only 20 people allowed.

This follows changes in September that also saw theatres, cinemas and concert halls across NSW increase venue capacity up to 50%.

You can now gather outdoors in groups of 30 in public spaces.
You can now gather outdoors in groups of 30 in public spaces.

Gatherings outdoors

From Friday 23 October, 30 people can gather outdoors in public spaces. Previously only 20 people were allowed.

Upcoming changes to wedding rules

From 1 December 2020, the number of people who can attend weddings will be lifted to 300 people subject to the 4 square metre rule indoors and 2 square metre rule outdoors.

This will allow people to make plans and book venues knowing the capacity ahead of time.

Outdoor dining expansion

We are currently working with the NSW Government on a Covid-19 outdoor dining trial. We are looking to expedite approval processes and identify more space for outdoor dining in our area on footpaths and in plazas.

A streamlined fee-free application process for outdoor dining is expected to start in December 2020. We will post more details when they become available.

Staying Covid-Safe

All businesses and venues must continue to use electronic methods such as QR codes to record and keep contact details.

Hospitality venues and organisers of outdoor music performances and rehearsals must also have a Covid safety plan in place.

Please continue to follow the personal hygiene recommendations, maintain physical distancing and wear a mask in indoor settings where you can’t physically distance.

Stay up to date on NSW Government Covid-19 announcements.

Published 20 October 2020, updated 14 February 2024