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New Covid-19 rules for Sydney businesses: Check the requirements

Avoid fines or closures by making sure your business is operating safely under the latest NSW Health guidelines.

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Last updated 25 October 2020

The state government has brought in new measures to keep customers safe and the economy open in NSW. Here’s what this means for you as a business owner.

The new measures mostly relate to restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, gyms, fitness centres. There are also changes at wedding venues and corporate events, as well as funderals.

The website has comprehensive information for businesses across all industries including Covid Safety plans translated into Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean.

As things change, you should keep checking in to make sure you’re meeting the latest requirements.

There are tough penalties for businesses found to be not complying with the public health orders. For licenced premises, that includes a $5,500 fine for the first offence, a 1-week closure for a second offence and up to 1-month closure for third and subsequent offences.

Covid safe plan mandatory registration

All businesses must create a Covid safety plan, however up until now registration has been optional for most industries.

Now, more business types will need to register their Covid safety plan with the state government.

As of publication, this applies to:

Things are changing quickly. You can get the latest advice for your industry at

If you run a business that doesn’t need to be registered, it’s strongly advised that you register your plan anyway. Registering your business as Covid Safe gives you access to signs to display at your venue. This can reassure potential customers that you’re taking the right steps to keep them safe.

Registering your Covid Safe plan also gives you access to reports on how your customers rate safety measures at your venue.

Booking limits

Cafes, bars, restaurants, pubs and clubs can now accept group bookings of 30 people or less.

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.

Physical distancing

Venues must follow the 4-square metre rule to calculate how many people are allowed inside.

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.

Some larger venues must have a Covid Safe marshall on duty and visible. Specific requirements are outlined when you create a Covid Safe plan at

Recording visitors for contract tracing

Businesses that need to record guests and visitors for contact tracing now must create a digital record within 24 hours.

You may find it easier to introduce a contactless method such as a QR code to collect customer details.

Working together to minimise the spread

As our economy reopens, it’s more important than ever to work together to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and welcome customers back into our shops, bars and restaurants. We don’t want to see restrictions back in place or businesses having to close again. We all have a role to play in keeping our communities safe.

Help on setting up a safety plan for your business

Read more on how to set up a Covid Safe plan for your business or call 13 77 88. You can also request an advisory visit from SafeWork NSW.

Get more business support information.

Translated Covid Safe plans are available in Arabic, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean and Chinese.

Published 27 July 2020, updated 29 February 2024