To deal with the public health risk of COVID-19 and its possible consequences, the Minister for Health and Medical Research has made a number of Orders, under section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010. Orders can be amended frequently. For the most up to date Orders, and the history of each Order, visit NSW Legislation - COVID-related legislation.

For help in understanding the Public Health Orders, refer to NSW Government: What you can and can't do under the rules and Industry guidelines for COVID Safe workplaces

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Vaccination

Health care workers

The Public Health (COVID 19 Vaccination of Health Care Workers) Order 2021 commenced on 26 August 2021. The Order establishes mandatory requirements for health staff and persons working in health settings to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Order requires the first dose of a vaccine by 30 September 2021, with a second dose required by 30 November 2021

The Order applies:

  • in the public sector, to persons who work for the NSW Health Service, for a public health organisation, the Health Administration Corporation and Ambulance Service of NSW, as well as staff of the Ministry of Health
  • in the private sector to a person who does work in a private health facility, being a private hospital or day procedure centre
  • in the private sector, to registered paramedics whose work involves transporting, or assessing whether to transport, persons to and from a public or private health facility.

Work is defined broadly to cover employees, contractors, VMOs, visiting practitioners, volunteers and students undertaking clinical placements.

The Order does not include private primary care providers such as GPs.

Employers are responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure workers comply with the Order.

Workers will need to provide evidence of having received a COVID-19 vaccination if requested to do so by their employer. Employers will be able to request this information.

An exemption is available for a worker if they are unable to be vaccinated a due to a medical contraindication.

Workers will be required to provide evidence of a medical contraindication via a certificate from a medical practitioner, in a form approved by the CHO, that specifies the medical contraindication.

There is an exemption that will apply if a person needs to do work in a medical emergency or non-medical emergency.

The Minister may exempt other persons from these requirements, but only if satisfied it is necessary to protect the health and well-being of patients in the facility

Aged care facilities

The Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order 2021 requires staff (including contractors) of a residential aged care facility (RACF) and persons engaged by the operator to provide services, including health practitioners engaged by the operator, to have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter or remain at the RACF after 9am on 17 September 2021.

The Order also requires students on placement and health practitioners engaged by a resident to have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter or remain at the RACF after 9am on 31 October 2021.

Workers will need to provide evidence of having received a COVID 19 vaccination if requested to do so by their employer. Employers will be able to request this information.

An exemption is available for a worker if they are unable to be vaccinated in the rare situation of a medical contraindication. Workers will be required to provide evidence of a medical contraindication via a certificate from a medical practitioner, in a form approved by the CHO, that specifies the medical contraindication.

There is an exemption that will apply if a person needs to do work in a medical emergency or non-medical emergency.

The Minister may exempt other persons from these requirements, but only if satisfied it is necessary to protect the health and well-being of patients in the facility

Interstate travellers

The Public Health (COVID-19 Interstate Travellers) Order (No 3) 2021 allows for a graduated approach to responding to risks relating to COVID-19 that arise in different jurisdictions.

COVID-19 concerns notice

The Chief Health Officer can make a COVID-19 concerns notice which sets out any:

  • affected areas
  • areas of concerns
  • places of high concern.

There is a current COVID-19 concerns notice in effect that sets out the affected areas, areas of concern and places of high concern. For information about the current COVID-19 concerns notice, visit the NSW Government website.

Affected areas

  • The COVID-19 concerns notice can designate a place outside of NSW as an "affected area".
  • People over 16 years of age who enter NSW and who have been in an affected area in the previous 14 days must complete a traveller self-declaration form within the 24-hour period prior to entering, or on entering NSW. The contact information collected on this form will be used for contact tracing, if required.
  • The COVID-19 concerns notice may also designate the relevant points of entry, such as entry by rail or entry by air. If relevant entry points are designated then people using these entry points must complete the declaration. If no relevant entry points are designated, then all persons entering NSW who have been in an affected area in the previous 14 days, regardless of their mode of transport, must complete the declaration.

Areas of concern

  • The COVID-19 concerns notice can designate a place outside of NSW as an "area of concern".
  • If an area of concern has been designated, then a person who has been in the area of concern in the last 14 days, and after the date specified in the COVID-19 concerns notice, must only leave home with a reasonable excuse.

Places of high concern

The COVID-19 concerns notice can designate places outside of NSW or transport routes as a "place of high concern" and will specify whether they are close or casual contact places of high concern.

Close contact places

  • A person who has been to a close contact place of high concern at the time specified in the notice and who is not usually a resident of NSW, must not enter NSW.
  • A person in NSW who has been to a place of high concern at the time specified in the notice, must immediately travel to their residence and self-isolate for 14 days since they were last at the place of high concern. While travelling to the residence, they must comply with the Interstate Traveller Guidelines.

Self-isolation means:

  • you cannot leave your residence / accommodation unless you are seeking urgent medical care, or it is an emergency
  • you cannot permit someone to enter the premises unless the person usually lives at the residence
  • while self-isolating, you must comply with the NSW Health COVID-19 self-isolation guideline.

Casual contact places

  • A person who has been to a casual contact place of high concern at the time specified in the notice must not enter NSW unless:
    • they are a NSW resident, or
    • they have been tested for COVID-19 after being at the place of high concern, and received a negative result.
  • A person in NSW who has been to a casual contact place of high concern at the time specified in the notice, must immediately travel to their residence and self-isolate until they return a negative COVID-19 test result. While travelling to the residence, they must comply with the Interstate Traveller Guidelines.
  • A casual contact must retain a copy of their negative test result.

Residents of the ACT

A person who is a resident of the ACT and has been to a place of high concern at the time specified in the notice, can enter NSW for the purpose of transiting to the ACT. In such a case, they must travel by the most practicable direct route and comply with the Interstate Traveller Guidelines while in NSW.

Exemptions and approvals

An exemption is in place so that a:

  • NSW and Victorian border region resident does not have to complete a declaration if they are only travelling within the border region
  • NSW border region resident does not need to follow the stay at home rules if the only place they have been to in Victoria is the border region.

An exemption is in place so that a person entering NSW from the Queensland border region only needs to complete a declaration form once every 72 hours.

An exemption is in place so that a person entering NSW from the Australian Capital Territory border region only needs to complete a declaration form once every 72 hours.

An exemption is in place to allow a person to be away from their residence for the purposes of feeding and attending to animals but only if no other person is reasonably available to care for the animals, subject to certain conditions.

An exemption has been signed under the Public Health (COVID-19 Interstate Travellers) Order (No 3) 2021 to exempt certain emergency services workers from the requirement to complete a traveller declaration 24 hours before or on entry into NSW if they are entering NSW in response to an emergency or unforeseen or unplanned circumstances. However, the worker will need to complete a declaration within 72 hours after entering NSW.

Mandatory face coverings

The Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order (No 3) 2021 commenced on 26 June 2021. This Order has been repealed on 10 September 2021 and incorporated into the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order 2021 (No 2). For more information see requirements around face masks.

Spitting and coughing

Public Health (COVID-19 Spitting and Coughing) Order (No 3) 2021 directs that a person must not intentionally spit at or cough on public officials or other workers in a way that is reasonably likely to cause fear about the spread of COVID-19.

The Order is supported by an amendment to the Public Health Regulation which makes a breach of this Order a penalty notice offence with an on-the-spot fine of $5000.

COVID-19 Safety - gathering and movement restrictions

The Public Health (COVID-19 Safety) Order 2021 repeals and replaces Public Health (COVID-19 Gathering Restrictions) Order (No 2) 2021.

The Public Health (COVID-19 Safety) Order 2021 contains directions on COVID-19 Safety Plans, COVID-19 safe check-in, the exchange of information, and residential aged care facilities. The Order requires certain premises and events to have a COVID-19 safety plan that addresses the matters in a checklist approved by the Chief Health Officer. Residential aged care facilities are directed to consider the advice of the Chief Health Officer.

QR codes

To facilitate contact tracing, the Order requires persons entering specified types of premises to register their contact details using the NSW Government QR code. More information can be found on the NSW Government website.

Additional restrictions for Delta outbreak

To protect the people of NSW from the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, new additional restrictions have been introduced in Greater Sydney and in regional NSW.

The Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order 2021 (No 2) contains directions on staying at home and additional restrictions.

The rules can change frequently and more information can be found on the NSW Government website.

General area

General area restrictions apply to the local government areas that are not a stay at home area or an area of concern. In the general area, an employer must allow an employee to work at home if it is reasonably practicable to do so.

The following premises must not be open to the public: amusement centres, nightclubs, sex services premises, sex on premises venues, and strip clubs.

Generally, the number of persons permitted on premises is in indoor areas 1 per 4 square metres and in outdoor areas 1 per 2 square metres. These limits do not apply to a caravan park or camping ground or a vessel with less than 50 persons on board being used commercially for scuba diving, snorkelling or marine animal watching.

Holiday homes and short-term rentals are limited to 5 persons unless everyone is from the same household.

Visitors to a place of residence are limited to 5 persons. A person who is 12 years or under is not counted as a visitor. A person is not counted as a visitor if they are at the place of residence:

  • to carry out work, including to assist a person moving to or from the place of residence,
  • for childcare, carer’s responsibilities, to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person or for compassionate reasons,
  • for family contact arrangements,
  • because of an emergency or to avoid an injury, illness or risk of harm,
  • to attend a significant event,
  • to inspect the place of residence for sale or lease or to participate in an auction of the place of residence.

Entertainment facilities are limited to 75% of the fixed seating capacity (but with ticketed admission and allocated seating) or 1 person per 4 square metres. All persons at an entertainment facility, other than those working, must be assigned to specific seats and, as far as reasonably practicable, remain in the assigned seat.

Major recreation facilities are limited to the lesser of 1 person per 4 square metres; or5,000 persons.

Group classes at gyms are limited to 20 persons. A group dance class at an indoor recreation facility is also limited to 20 persons.

Business premises for personal services are limited to the lesser of 1 person per 4 square metres or 5 persons. This includes hairdressers, spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlours and massage parlours.

Significant events (funerals, memorial services, weddings and gatherings afterwards) are limited to the lesser of 1 person per 4 square metres or 50 persons. All persons must be seated when consuming food or drink at a significant event.

Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 20 persons. Controlled outdoor public gatherings (seated, ticketed events held in an enclosed area) are limited to 500 persons. COVID-19 safe outdoor public gatherings (outdoor events with a COVID-19 safety plan) are limited to 50 persons. All outdoor gatherings must also comply with the 4 square metre rule. These limits do not apply to a gathering on premises for which the occupier of the premises must develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

In the general area, masks must be worn by persons aged over 12 years while:

  • in an indoor area of premises other than a place of residence
  • at a public transport waiting area or in a vehicle or vessel being used to provide a public transport service
  • working at a hospitality venue and dealing directly with members of the public.
  • on a domestic commercial aircraft (this applies in all parts of NSW)

Singing or dancing is not permitted indoors. Exceptions apply to:

  • a place of residence
  • an educational establishment
  • a performer who is performing or rehearsing
  • a person who is engaged in instruction in singing
  • a wedding service or a gathering after a wedding service
  • a group class at a gym or a recreation facility (indoor)

A person who lives in the general area and visits a stay at home area or an area of concern can only leave home with a reasonable excuse for 14 days after they were last in the stay at home are or the area of concern.

Stay at home areas

Stay at home restrictions apply in Greater Sydney (other than the areas of concern) and parts of the regional New South Wales area. Anyone who has been in these areas since the date listed must comply with the stay at home direction and only leave home with a reasonable excuse for 14 days since they were last there (an exception applies if the person transits through the area without leaving their vehicle and by the most practicable direct route).

In stay at home areas, a person must wear a mask at all times when outdoors (excluding when at home).

A person can also only enter Greater Sydney (which includes the Blue Mountains and Wollongong) from outside of Greater Sydney with a reasonable excuse.

Reasonable excuses to be away from your home in stay at home areas and areas of concern include:

  • obtaining food or other goods and services locally (within your own local government area, or, if in another local government area, within 5 kilometres of your home). A person who lives in a stay at home area cannot obtain goods or services in an area of concern.
    • only one person in the household can leave their residence to obtain food, goods or services once a day. This restriction does not apply if it is not reasonably practicable (e.g. if a parent needs to take their dependent child to the shops with them).
    • browsing in shops is prohibited and not a reasonable excuse to leave your home.
  • travelling to attend work or education (where it is not possible to do at home). An employer must direct their staff to work from home if reasonably practicable.
  • exercise or recreation outdoors in groups of no more than 2 (excluding members of the same household):
    • for exercise or recreation people must stay in their Local government area or, if in another local government area, within 5 kilometres of home.
  • obtaining medical care or supplies – including obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination
  • providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • attending a small funeral of no more than 10 persons (excluding the person conducting the service and any other person necessary for the conduct and preparation of the service). A funeral cannot occur in a place of residence. A person who lives in a stay at home area can only attend a funeral in the general area if they are the spouse, de facto partner, parent, child or sibling of the deceased person.
  • attending a small wedding service.
  • transporting a member of the person’s household who is authorised to leave the place of residence (e.g. driving children to school)

A person over 18 must carry documentary evidence showing their address and show it to Police on request. Taking a holiday is not a reasonable excuse.

Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 2 persons, or 5 persons (not including persons aged under 13) if everyone aged 16 or older is fully vaccinated. A person must carry vaccination evidence and produce this if requested to do so by a Police officer.

Property purchase, management, maintenance is permitted under certain conditions.

In stay at home areas and areas of concern, people may inspect property, move to a new place of residence, or move between different places of residence of the person (e.g. a holiday house or other property). Additional restrictions apply to people who live in Greater Sydney.

In Greater Sydney, people may inspect property or move between residences within Greater Sydney. A person in Greater Sydney may move outside of Greater Sydney to a different place of residence of the person (e.g. a holiday house or other property) but only if:

  • the movement is for work and only the person who is working moves
  • the movement is for urgent repairs or maintenance or animal welfare but only 1 person moves.

A person in Greater Sydney may inspect real estate outside of greater Sydney but only if there is a genuine intention to move and reside there.

Car-pooling is prohibited in areas subject to stay at home rules. People:
  • cannot travel in a vehicle with people other than their members of their own household
  • must carry documentation evidence of their address if they are over 18 when in a vehicle with another person and provide it to police on request

    This does not apply to vehicles being used
    • to provide public transport
    • for work (e.g. Police, Ambulance)
    • to provide care and assistance to a vulnerable person
    • for an emergency or for compassionate reasons
    • There is an exemption to permit car-pooling for work purposes in regional NSW, subject to certain conditions.
Visitors to the home in stay at home areas and areas of concern

In areas subject to stay at home rules, there are additional limits on how many visitors you can have in your home.

Only authorised visitors are permitted in your home in a stay at home area or an area of concern.

One visitor only is permitted if their purpose is:

  • for compassionate reasons (including where two people are in a relationship but do not live together)
  • as a social visitor nominated by an adult who does not live with any other adult,. The rules for nominated social visitors must be followed.
  • to fulfil carers' responsibilities or provide care or assistance.
    Note: A child dependent of the 1 visitor is permitted to attend the residence, but only if the child needs to be supervised and alternative childcare arrangements cannot be made
  • for childcare
  • giving effect to custody arrangements
  • to assist a person to move house
  • avoiding injury or illness or to escape harm
  • in an emergency
  • to view or inspect real property for sale or lease or participate in an auction.

Each visitor will need to meet the reasonable excuse exemption before they can visit another residence.

Nominated social visitor (single person bubble)

A person who lives alone or with no other adults is able to nominate a "nominated visitor" who will be able to visit the single person at their residence.

  • It will be a reasonable excuse for the nominated visitor to leave their residence to visit the single person or to travel with the person for exercise/outdoor recreation.
  • The single person and a nominated visitor can travel together in a vehicle and they don't have to wear a mask when doing so.
  • A single person can only have one nominated visitor (but can have a new nominated visitor if the previous nominated visitor becomes unable to be the nominated visitor)
  • The nominated visitor cannot be nominated as any other person's visitor.
  • If the single person lives in Greater Sydney, the nominated visitor must also live in Greater Sydney.
  • If the single person lives outside of Greater Sydney, the nominated visitor must live in the same local government area.
Nominated social bubble for children and young adults

Children and young adults can form a social bubble of 3 people aged 18 or younger who:

  • Live in the same local government area or within 5 kilometres of each other
  • Live in a household where all persons at least 18 years of age are fully vaccinated (i.e. 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine or medical contraindication)
  • Are not a member of another social bubble.

Members of the social bubble can visit each other's homes for the purpose of recreation or study. Parents and carers are not permitted to visit homes of social bubble members.

Workers in places of residence (renovations, repairs, maintenance and cleaning of homes)

Workers are permitted in places of residence, including for 'prescribed' trades work (cleaning, repairs, maintenance, alterations and additions to buildings, trade work, gardening and landscaping) in areas subject to stay at home rules and areas of concern. Prescribed work may be carried out if it is necessary and provided:

  • no more than 2 workers are working indoors at the same time or 5 persons if they are all outside, and
  • no person, other than a worker, is in the same room when the worker is carrying out the work.
Construction in Greater Sydney

Density limits at construction sites in Greater Sydney are the lesser of 1 per 4 square metres or 50% of the maximum daily workforce of the construction site (if the construction site has a resourcing plan and not all persons on the construction site are vaccinated).

From 27 September 2021, the limit of 50% of the maximum daily workforce on construction sites will be removed.

Additional restrictions also apply for construction workers who live in an area of concern.

A person who lives in an area of concern must not enter a construction site in Greater Sydney unless the person has:

  • had 2 doses of vaccine
  • had one dose at least 21 days ago
  • had one dose with 21 days and has been tested for COVID-19 within the preceding 72 hours
  • a certified medical contraindication (being that a medical practitioner has certified, in a form approved by the CHO, that the person has a medical contraindication to the vaccine).

A worker whose place of residence is in one of the areas of concern must carry the required evidence when on a construction site and produce it on request to their employer, the occupier, a police officer or authorised officer. There is an obligation on the occupier to ensure that the person has the required evidence.

The required evidence is:

  • proof of address
    and:
  • evidence from the Australian Immunisation Register that the person has had 1 or 2 doses of the vaccine
  • evidence that the person has been tested for COVID, or
  • a medical certificate showing the medical contraindication.
Closure of certain premises in areas subject to stay at home rules and in areas of concern

Certain venues are closed to the public in areas subject to stay at home rules, including:

  • food and drink premises and pubs (except for take-away)
  • entertainment, amusement centres, and indoor recreation facilities (including gyms)
  • casinos and nightclubs
  • places of public worship, except for the purposes of a funeral or memorial service or providing education or childcare
  • spas, nail and beauty salons and hairdressers
  • caravan parks and camping grounds, except for the purposes of permanent residents of the caravan park or camping ground, overnight travellers, persons working in the local area or other persons who have no other place of permanent residence (in areas that were not under stay at home rules prior to 14 August 2021, people can continue to stay in caravan parks and camping on a booking made before 5pm on 14 August). There is an exemption allowing people to stay in a caravan park or camping ground if their place of residence is another State or Territory and they are unable to return home because of border closures or restrictions on returning travellers.
  • non-essential retail businesses (click and collect and delivery still allowed)

Other restrictions also apply to businesses in areas subject to the stay at home rules. For further details see NSW Government website.

Permit to leave Greater Sydney

Certain residents of Greater Sydney must not leave Greater Sydney without a permit. A permit is required if the person is:

  • moving temporarily or permanently to a place outside of Greater Sydney (including moving between residences)
  • inspecting residential property outside of Greater Sydney (a person needs a genuine intention to reside at the place and it must be an inspection for a residence)
  • going more than 50 kilometres from Greater Sydney to carry out work. A permit is not required for emergency services, such as a member of the Ambulance Service of NSW or the NSW Police. An exemption is also in place for certain persons providing a health service and certain Australian Defence Force, subject to certain conditions.
    A person cannot leave Greater Sydney to move between places of residence unless it is for work or urgent repairs and maintenance.

Areas of concern (additional requirements for certain areas in Greater Sydney)

Additional restrictions are in place for people who live in areas of concern. These include:

  • the Local Government Area of Bayside
  • the Local Government Area of Blacktown
  • the Local Government Area of Burwood
  • the Local Government Area of Campbelltown
  • the Local Government Area of Canterbury-Bankstown
  • the Local Government Area of Cumberland
  • the Local Government Area of Fairfield
  • the Local Government Area of Georges River
  • the Local Government Area of Liverpool
  • the Local Government Area of Parramatta
  • the Local Government Area of Strathfield
  • the suburbs of Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Erskine Park, Kemps Creek, Kingswood, Mount Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair and St Marys (within the Local Government Area of Penrith).

A person who lives in an area of concern:

  • cannot leave the area of concern in which they live for the purposes of work, unless they are an authorised worker and have a permit issued by Service NSW.
    • An authorised worker will only be able to leave their area of concern for work if they have had at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or evidence of a medical exemption.
  • may engage in outdoor recreation for 2 hours per day with members of the same household within 5 kilometres of their home (provided every over 16 years is fully vaccinated, carry vaccination evidence and produce this if requested to do so by a police officer)
    • otherwise may not engage in outdoor recreation (except for an adult supervising a child under 12 who is exercising or playing)
  • must wear a mask at all times when outdoors (excluding when at home). General exemptions from mask wearing continue to apply.

Classes, lectures, exams or other teaching or assessment sessions must not be conducted in person at an education institution in an area of concern. This does not apply to schools or an educational institution operated by NSW Health. However, a person still needs a reasonable excuse to leave their home and this only includes education if they person cannot reasonably learn from home.

Retail premises that predominately sell the following are closed, except for trade and business customers:

  • garden centres and plant nurseries
  • hardware and building supplies
  • landscaping material supplies
  • rural suppliers
  • timber yards.

These premises can still provide a "click and collect" service for collecting goods purchased online or by phone.

Weddings

Small wedding services are permitted. This includes the 5 people legally required for a wedding (the people getting married, a celebrant and 2 witnesses), 5 guests and 1 person to record the service. No more than 11 people can attend a wedding service under any circumstances.

There are a number of restrictions concerning who may attend the wedding service:

  • a person who lives in Greater Sydney cannot attend a wedding service, as part of the wedding party or as a guest, outside of Greater Sydney;
  • a person who lives in regional NSW can only attend a wedding in Greater Sydney if they are part of the wedding party or the parent, child or sibling of one of the persons getting married;
  • a person who lives in a stay home area of regional NSW can only attend a wedding in the general area of regional NSW if they are part of the wedding party or the parent, child or sibling of one of the persons getting married.

The wedding party is the 5 people who are legally required for the wedding plus one person recording the service (i.e. 6 people in total).

Permits to leave and enter areas of concern
  • A person cannot enter an area of concern to carry out work unless they have a permit issued by Service NSW. This excludes emergency services, such as a member of the Ambulance Service of NSW or the NSW Police or members of the Australian Defence Force, if they live outside of an area of concern but their usual place of work is in an area of concern.
  • An authorised worker must not leave the area of concern for work without a permit issued by Service NSW. This excludes emergency services, such as a member of the Ambulance Service of NSW or the NSW Police or members of the Australian Defence Force, if they live in an area of concern and their usual place of work is outside an area of concern.
Early education or care and disability support services

A "relevant care worker" (being certain persons working in early education or care facilities or providing disability and support services in person to persons with a disability) who is at least 16 years of age and lives or works in an area of concern must not enter premises for work unless they have:

  • had one dose of the COVID vaccine or
  • a medical certificate indicating a medical contraindication.

Persons required to be vaccinated before working must carry the required evidence (evidence showing name, address and vaccination or appointment) and produce it for inspection if requested by the employer, the occupier of premises, a police officer or an authorised officer.

Relevant care workers who live or work in an area of concern can only attend work if they have had at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or evidence of a medical exemption

Surveillance testing requirements

Surveillance testing for workers who live in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains and Wollongong) and their employers:

  • a Greater Sydney worker must not enter premises for work that are more than 50 kilometres outside Greater Sydney unless the worker has been tested for COVID-19 in the previous 7 days and has evidence of the test available for inspection by their employer or a police office (this requirement does not apply to workers leaving the other areas subject to stay at home rules)
  • the occupier of non-residential premises must not permit a Greater Sydney worker to enter the premises unless the worker has been tested in accordance with these requirements
  • a person must provide information, including proof of address and proof the person has been tested for COVID-19 to a police officer on request in order to enable the officer to determine whether the person is an affected worker or a Greater Sydney worker.

An exemption to the surveillance testing requirements is in place for emergency workers, subject to certain conditions.

Requirements around face masks

Face masks must now be worn by persons over 12 years in all indoor and outdoor areas of non-residential premises in stay at home and areas of concern, except when engaging in physical exercise. A person must carry a mask, even when they are exercising.

There are certain exemptions to this requirement.

In areas subject to stay at home rules, masks must be worn in additional locations including:

  • indoor common property areas of residential premises (e.g. lifts and lobbies of apartment blocks)

People in areas subject to stay at home rules must carry a mask with them at all times when away from their residence.

A person who claims to have a medical exemption to wearing a mask must:

  • carry relevant evidence indicating that they have a physical or mental illness, condition or disability that makes wearing a mask unsuitable, being:
    • a certificate or other evidence signed by a registered health practitioner or a NDIS provider, or
    • a statutory declaration signed by the person (note it is an offence to lie in a statutory declaration)
  • produce the evidence and give a copy to police on request
  • give their name and address to police on request.

Please visit COVID-19 rules for further information on COVID-19 restrictions.

Exemptions and approvals

The Minister may, in writing and subject to the conditions the Minister considers appropriate, grant an exemption to the Public Health (COVID-19 Safety) Order 2021 or the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order 2021 (No 2) or specified provisions of these orders.

If you are requesting an exemption to enter to a NSW health facility, please contact the relevant hospital. For further information, please visit supporting visits.

A copy of any exemption granted will be provided to relevant agencies including NSW Police.

Any request for exemption will be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis.

Current exemptions to the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order 2021 (No 2):

  • An exemption given in relation to Greater Sydney will also apply to regional NSW.
  • An exemption is in place for outdoor golfing events of more than 2 people, subject to specific conditions.
  • An exemption is in place concerning singing and chanting in places of public worship.
  • An exemption is in place to permit:
    • auction houses to be open to members for the purpose for the purpose of an auction for food supply, livestock, fibre or crops to take place in regional NSW
    • a person participating in an auction for food supply, livestock, fibre or crops taking place in regional NSW
    • a person can participate in an outdoor gathering in regional NSW for the purpose of an auction for food supply, livestock, fibre or crops.
  • An exemption is in place to permit premises that are required to be closed to the public to be open while being used by, or on behalf of, a local health district, Statutory Health Corporation, the Health Administration Corporation or the Ministry of Health as a vaccination clinic or vaccination hub.
  • An exemption is in place from the requirement for a permit to work outside of Greater Sydney for certain persons providing a health service and certain Australian Defence Force, subject to certain conditions. The exemption will also apply, from 28 August, to the requirement to obtain a permit for persons entering an area of concern to carry out work and authorised workers leaving an area of concern for work.
  • An exemption to clarify a person to be away from their place or residence to attend a job interview or a job assessment if the interview or assessment cannot be conducted from their place of residence.
  • An exemption to allow a person in an area of concern to leave their residence between 9pm and 5am in order to drive a "Family or Household Member" (which is defined) to and from their place of employment and their residence. This is subject to the condition that the travel must be by the most practicable direct route and details of the Family or Household Member's employment must be provided to a police officer on request.
  • An exemption to exempt a person contracted to provide services to the ADF from the requirement to obtain a permit. This is subject to the condition that the person provide a letter or other document from the Australian Defence Force indicating that the person is providing services to the Australian Defence Force on request of a police officer.
  • An exemption is in place to allow a person to stay in a caravan park or camping ground if their place of residence is another State or Territory and the person is unable to return to their place of residence because of border closures or restrictions on returning travellers in other jurisdictions.
  • An exemption is in place to permit car-pooling for work purposes in regional NSW, subject to certain conditions.
  • An exemption is in place to permit an exempt person (a Rabbi or a person nominated by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies) to leave their place of residence multiple times on 7, 8, 15 and 16 September in order to blow the Shofar, subject to certain conditions.
  • An exemption is in place to exempt Work, Health and Safety, Fair Trading and Liquor and Gaming inspectors, authorised officers and police officers from the requirement to provide the "required evidence" to the occupier of a site the inspector is visiting. However, they will need to provide such details, on request, to their employer or the occupier of the usual workplace. In addition, under the exemption, the occupier of a construction site is exempt from the requirement to refuse entry to an inspectors who fails to comply to provide them with the required evidence.
  • An exemption is in place in relation to international flight crew in quarantine facilities in areas of concern.
  • An exemption is in place to allow a person in a stay at home area or an area of concern can be away from their residence in order to learn to drive with a member of their own household, subject to certain condition.
  • An exemption is in place to allow a person in a stay at home area or an area of concern who is the owner or occupier of a maritime vessel can be away from their residence in order to travel to a marina or mooring where their vessel is moored in order to undertake maintenance to ensure the vessel is maintained in a sea worthy condition, subject to certain condition
  • An exemption is in place to exempt certain Commonwealth inspectors from the requirement to provide the required vaccination evidence to the occupier of the premises they are visiting. However, they will need to provide such details, on request, to their employer or the occupier of the usual workplace.
  • An exemption is in place to allow libraries in stay at home areas and areas of concern to open for the purpose of click and collect.
  • An exemption is in place allowing a person to leave their place of residence on 16 September 2021 for the purpose of engaging in prayer and reflection on Yom Kippur subject to the conditions outlined in the exemption.
  • An exemption is in place allowing a person who resides in a general area to be exempt from the requirement to follow stay at home rules if they have only transited through a stay at home area or area of concern, subject to certain conditions.
  • An exemption is in place allowing a person who enters a stay at home area from a general area for the purpose of medical or health care, including obtaining a vaccine, to be exempted from stay at home requirements once they return to a general area. This exemption is subject to certain conditions.

Current exemptions to the Public Health (COVID-19 Safety) Order 2021 (note that if there is an inconsistency, any exemption under the Gathering Restrictions Order is not in effect until the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order 2021 (No 2) is repealed):

  • An exemption is in place concerning organised groups (schools, child care, aged care, or disability groups) providing contact details at specified premises, subject to specific conditions.
  • An exemption is in place concerning providing contact details at stadiums, subject to specific conditions.

Quarantine requirements

Air transportation quarantine and testing

The Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 3) 2021 commenced on 1 September 2021.

The Order revokes and remakes the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No2) 2021.

The Order:

  • establishes the NSW Airport and Quarantine Workers Vaccination Program
  • requires nominated workers (being certain workers working in quarantine facilities, transporting international arrivals and working at the airport who are specified in the NSW Airport and Quarantine Workers Vaccination Program) to have 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (or for workers who only have had one dose, to have received their second dose by 28 September 2021 or within three months of having received their first dose) in order to provide services.
    • This replaces the previous requirement for one dose of the vaccine.
    • The second dose is required within 3 months of the first dose (or for those who had their first dose more than 4 months ago, within 28 days of the commencement of the Order).
  • requires nominated workers to provide evidence that they have been vaccinated to their employer or a police officer on request. Employers of these workers must ensure that their workers comply with this requirement. In addition, an employer will need to provide vaccination records of staff to a police officer on request.
  • requires a person who employs a flight crew transport service provider to give each provider’s details to NSW Police within 48 hours of the commencement of the Order
  • requires a provider to give a person’s details to NSW Police 48 hours prior to that person commencing employment, for a person who will commence employment as a flight crew transport service provider after the commencement of the Order
  • requires a person who transports an international arrival to or from an airport to notify the Commissioner of Police of their name and contact details within 48 hours after providing the transportation service
  • standardises the language in relation to COVID-19 vaccines (meaning a vaccine approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration) and vaccination evidence (meaning records from the Australian Immunisation Register).

Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 3) 2021

  • Relevant persons must undertake a mandatory quarantine period in a quarantine facility or medical facility. A relevant person is a person who arrives in NSW and who:
    • has been in a country other than Australia or New Zealand (or a New Zealand hotspot) in the 14 days before the arrival, or
    • arrives from New Zealand and another person on the aircraft has been in a country other than Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands or Niue in the previous 14 days.
  • In very limited cases a person arriving from New Zealand who would not normally be required to go into quarantine, can be directed into quarantine by the Chief Health Officer if they are considered a risk.
  • There is a power of the Chief Health Officer to declare an area of New Zealand as a COVID-19 hotspot. If such an area is declared, then a person arriving from that area must follow the determinations of the Chief Health Officer to either leave Australia by air or go into quarantine.
  • The quarantine period starts when the person arrives in NSW and ends:
    • if at least 14 days have passed and the Chief Health Officer is satisfied that the person does not pose a risk of infecting another person with COVID-19, or
    • after 24 days.

However, for a person in a quarantine facility or medical facility the quarantine period can only end after 14 days if the Chief Health Officer is satisfied that the person will be tested for COVID-19 2 days after leaving the facility, or the person cannot be tested due to circumstances beyond the person’s control and the person will be tested for COVID-19 as soon as practicable after leaving the facility.

  • A person cannot leave the quarantine facility during the quarantine period except in limited cases, including in an emergency. If a person leaves a quarantine facility because of an emergency they must comply with directions of the Commissioner of Police.
  • Persons entering a quarantine facility must provide their contact details using the Service NSW app. This will assist in contact tracing if there is a COVID-19 case associated with the facility.
  • The Order makes different directions for flight crew:
    • Flight crew who are not NSW or Australian residents must go into a quarantine facility, but can leave quarantine to fly out of Australia provided they are tested on arrival for COVID-19 and comply with any other testing request of the Chief Health Officer.
    • NSW residents may self-isolate at home during the quarantine period if they are a “declared flight crew member”, which means they were tested for COVID-19 prior to leaving the airport and have provided their contact details. The ‘declared flight crew member’ must also declare that they have not been in contact with a COVID-19 case and do not have, and have not had in the previous 72 hours, any symptoms of COVID-19. They must use appropriate transportation (see the NSW Health Air Transportation Guidelines for information on appropriate transport) to travel to and from their home. Declared flight crew members can leave quarantine to leave Australia or undertake essential flight duties or training if they have complied with any testing request of the Chief Health Officer.
    • Interstate flight crew members may leave NSW to go home using suitable transport if they have been tested prior to leaving the airport, have provided a similar declaration to declared flight crew and can travel to their jurisdiction using suitable transport (in a plane with no passengers other than interstate crew or, in the case of ACT residents only, in a private vehicle). The crew must also comply with the Onward Domestic Travel of International Aircrew Guidelines.
  • Employers of declared flight crew members must arrange employee transportation to and from an employee’s residence or accommodation and ensure compliance with the NSW Health Air Transportation Guidelines.
  • Designated airport workers, designated quarantine workers and designated transportation providers (being a member of a class of airport, quarantine or transport workers specified in the NSW Testing Program) must not provide services unless they are tested for COVID-19 in accordance with the Program. There is an obligation on the employer to ensure their workers comply with the Program and to notify the Chief Health Officer if they become aware that a worker has not been tested. The Program is approved by the Chief Health Officer.
  • Nominated workers, being certain workers working in quarantine facilities, transporting international arrivals and working at the airport who are specified in the NSW Airport and Quarantine Workers Vaccination Program must be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to work and provide services (nominated persons with a medical contraindication to the COVID-19 vaccine, that has been certified by a medical practitioner and the Chief Health Officer, are exempt). Vaccinated for COVID-19 means:
    • the person has received 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or
    • the person has received 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and receives the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
      • within 3 months of having received the first dose, or
      • within 28 days of the date of commencement of this Order.
  • A nominated worker must provide vaccination evidence (being a record from the Australian Immunisation Register) to their employer or a police officer on request. An employer must provide records of vaccination for nominated workers to a police officer on request.
  • If a person who arrives in NSW by land and who in the previous 14 days has been to a country other than Australia or New Zealand and the Chief Health Officer considers that person to be a risk, the person must go to a quarantine or medical facility determined by the Chief Health Officer and remain there for the quarantine period.
  • A person subject to the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 3) 2021 must also comply with any applicable directions to the person under the Public Health (COVID-19 Self Isolation) Order 2021. In the event of any inconsistency, the latter Order takes precedence.
  • A class exemption is in place for quick turnaround flights. Certain flights where the flight crew do not leave the plane while in NSW may be exempt from the requirement to be tested on arrival, subject to conditions which are specified in the exemption.

For more information visit flight crew quarantine and self-isolation requirements.

COVID-19 testing for international flight crew: frequently asked questions provides further information about COVID-19 testing of flight crew and management of results.

Maritime quarantine

The Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 3) 2021 commences on 1 September 2021. The Order repeals and remakes the current Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 2) 2021 with the following amendments:

  • extends the Order to Commonwealth vessels (which were excluded in the previous Order)
  • the definition of ‘Relevant Distance’ which a person must remain while undertaking an essential task has been changed to be 13 metres from the Vessel (unless the Commissioner of Police permits a further distance), rather than 13 metres from the wharf at which the vessel is docked.

Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 3) 2021

  • The Order sets conditions on persons who arrive in NSW on a vessel that comes from a port outside of NSW (other than an interstate vessel), called relevant persons.
  • The Order does not apply to vessels that commenced a voyage in Australia and did not stop at a port outside Australia where each person on the vessel boarded in Australia and has not, within the previous 14 days, been in a country other than Australia or New Zealand.
  • A relevant person arriving in NSW on a vessel to which the Order applies can only disembark if authorised to do so by the Commissioner of Police, or to undertake an essential task, or in an emergency.
  • If authorised to disembark as directed by the Commissioner of Police, a relevant person must go to a quarantine facility, hospital, or to an airport or other vessel to leave Australia. If a person leaves the vessel to go to a quarantine facility and then is directed to go to an airport or vessel (to get a flight or vessel leaving of Australia), the person must follow the directions of the Commissioner of Police while travelling to, and while at, the airport or vessel.
  • If a person goes to a quarantine facility or hospital, they must remain there for the duration of their quarantine period, unless the Commissioner of Police directs otherwise, or it is an emergency that requires the person to leave the facility. If it is an emergency, the person must comply with directions of the Commissioner of Police.
  • If a person disembarks a vessel to undertake an essential task (loading or unloading cargo, rigging gangways, undertaking ship to shore activities, connecting water or fuel to a vessel, receiving or loading stores, disposing of waste, carrying out essential maintenance, carrying out safety activities, preparing a vessel for sailing, medical assessment or treatment) they must remain within 13 metres of the vessel and return to the vessel immediately after completing the task. The person must follow any directions of the Commissioner of Police and comply with the NSW Health Guideline: Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment for Maritime Workers while performing their essential task.
  • Certain persons are permitted to board and then subsequently disembark a vessel in order to provide certain functions or services (e.g. repairs, loading, fuelling, health services, border force, inspections, insurance agents and union official). A person boarding must leave the vessel immediately after completing their function and comply with the NSW Health Guideline: Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment for Maritime Workers
  • Employers must arrange appropriate transportation of crew to quarantine facilities or the airport or port, provide the person with a face mask, and take reasonable steps to ensure the person wears a face mask while travelling to the quarantine facility, hospital or other medical facility, airport, or port, and waiting at the airport or port to leave Australia.
  • The occupier of a wharf and the master of a vessel must develop and comply with a COVID-19 Safety Plan that addresses the matters in the relevant checklist as in force from time to time
  • Persons boarding a vessel must provide their contact details to the occupier of the wharf using the Service NSW app
  • A person subject to the Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 3) 2021 must also comply with any applicable directions to the person in the Public Health (COVID-19 Self Isolation) Order 2021. In the event of any inconsistency, the latter Order takes precedence.

Exemptions

A class exemption is in place for one single identified relevant person to disembark a vessel docked at specific berths at the Port of Newcastle. The person may disembark the vessel to undertake an essential task that is further than 13 metres from the vessel, subject to the conditions which are specified in the exemption.

See information on exemptions for air and maritime quarantine.

Self-isolation

The Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) 2021 requires persons diagnosed with COVID-19 and close contacts of persons diagnosed with COVID-19 to self-isolate and specifies requirements for self-isolation including duration and location.

On 6 September 2021 the Minister made the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) 2021 which repeals and remakes the directions in the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 2) 2021.

The revised Order continues existing self-isolation of cases and close contacts but now includes additional provisions to support apartment lockdowns.

The new lockdown provisions are:

  • The Minister can declare a building as a “high contact risk premises”. A building is defined as containing 2 or more dwellings, at least 1 of which is a “COVID-19 premises” (a dwelling where at least one person is diagnosed with COVID-19 or a close contact). The Minister is able to declare a premises as high risk for a maximum period of 14 days, but can be re-issued.
  • The Order applies to an “affected person”, being a resident or any other person who is on the premises at the time the declaration is made.
  • The Order imposes tight restrictions that reflect quarantine order provisions, including confining residents to their home, subject to an emergency or instructions of an authorised medical officer or Commissioner of Police, and restricted access to the building to permitted persons.
  • Provision is made for an affected person to be transferred to a quarantine facility or hospital or medical facility after assessment by an authorised medical officer.
  • Provision for testing of affected persons during the lockdown, with those who refuse testing being required to stay in their residence until medically cleared.
  • Provision for a person involved in the management of the building to provide information that will assist in the identification of affected persons.

Any requirement to quarantine under the previous Order continues under the new Order.

The Order requires compliance with the NSW Health self isolation guidelines, which may change from time to time.

Declaration of high COVID-19 risk premises

In accordance with the Order, the following premises are at a high risk of transmission of COVID-19 between residents of the premises:

Penalties for breaching a Public Health Order

It is an offence to not comply with a Public Health Order and penalties can apply:

  • a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 6 months and/or a penalty of up to $11,000
  • plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues.

Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to:

  • a fine of $55,000
  • plus a further $27,500 fine each day the offence continues.

On the spot fines can also be issued:

  • $10,000 for corporations and $2000 for individuals for a breach of clause 2.10 (1) of the Public Health (COVID-19 Temporary Movement and Gathering Restrictions) Order (No 2) 2021 - failure by an employer to not allow employees to work from home unless not reasonably practicable
  • $10,000 for corporations and $2000 for individuals for a breach of clause 5.8 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order (No 2) 2021 - permitting a person whose place of residence is in a declared area to enter or remain on the construction site unless the occupier is satisfied that the person has complied with specified vaccination obligations (or has a medical contraindication) and carries evidence of their vaccination status.
  • $5000 for a breach of the Public Health (COVID-19 Spitting and Coughing) Order (No 2) 2020
  • $5000 for a breach of clause 6.2 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order (No 2) 2021 - a person must provide information to an authorised contract tracer about their movements and their address
  • $5000 for a breach of the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) 2021
  • $3000 for a breach of clause 3.13 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order (No 2) 2021. Clause 3.13 - a person must not participate in an outdoor gathering of more than 2 people (subject to limited exceptions)
  • $1,000 in other cases.

Additionally, on the spot fines can be issued to individuals and corporations for a breach of an Order relating to not wearing or carrying a mask:

  • $40 for a person aged 15 and under
  • $80 for a person aged 16-17
  • $500 for a person aged 18 and above
  • $1,000 for a corporation

For more information see Public Health Amendment (COVID-19 Penalty Notice Offences) Regulation (No 3) 2021.

Requesting exemptions

Current as at: Wednesday 22 September 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW