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 (No 2) commenced on 22 October and continues mandatory vaccination directions in place under the Public Health (COVID 19 Vaccination of Health Care Workers) Order 2021. The Order directs that a "health care worker" must not work as a health care worker unless they have received their first dose of a vaccineby 30 September with a second dose required by 30 November 2021 in order to continue to work as a health care worker.

The Order applies to certain health care workers as follows:

    • in the public sector:
      • a person who does work, including as a member of staff of the NSW Health Service, for a public health organisation, the Health Administration Corporation or the Ambulance Service of NSW,
      • a member of staff of the Ministry of Health
    • in the private sector:
      • a person who does work at a licensed private health facility, being a licensed private hospital or licensed day procedure centre
      • a registered paramedic whose work involves transporting, or assessing whether to transport, persons to and from a public or private health facility
    • a person who does work for an organisation pursuant to either of the following in accordance with NSW Health Policy Directive PD2019_013 Administration of NSW Health Grant Funding for Non-Government Organisations:
    • a Ministerially approved grant under the Non-Government Organisations Program,
    • a Program Grant, if the work involves the provision of a health service within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1997
    • another person, or a person belonging to a class of persons, who does work specified by the Chief Health Officer as the work of a health care worker for this Order in a notice published on the website of NSW Health.

Work is defined broadly to cover employees, contractors, VMOs, volunteers and students undertaking clinical placements. It also covers work done under a contract of service or a contract for services. However, the following are excluded from mandatory vaccination:

    • a worker who is doing work for a public health organisation (local health district, statutory health corporation or an affiliated health organisation), the Health Administration Corporation, the Ambulance Service of NSW under a contract of service or a contract for services
      and
    • the work does not involve the provision of a health service (within the meaning of the Health Services Act)
      and
    • the person doing the work is not physically present, while doing the work, at premises operated by the public health organisation, Health Administration Corporation, Ambulance Service of NSW or Ministry of Health.

The Order does not include private primary care providers such as GPs unless they fall within one of the categories above.

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 with any COVID-19 vaccine available in NSW 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 persons.

Aged care facilities

Staff

The Minister has made changes to the Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order 2021 including to changing the name to Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order further amendments include:

  • Require employees (including contract staff) of a residential aged care facility (RACF) and persons engaged by the operator to provide services (other than students and certain maintenance contractors) to have received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter or remain at the RACF after 9 am on 25 October (extending existing requirements to have had one dose by 17 September 2021 to enter a RACF).
  • Require students on placement and health practitioners engaged by a resident to have received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter or remain at the RACF after 9 am on 4 December (extending existing requirements to have had one dose by 31 October 2021 to enter a RACF).
  • Make a new direction requiring in-home and community aged care workers to only provide work as an in-home and community aged care worker if they have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 9 am 25 October and the second dose by 9 am on 29 November 2021. Note that there is a definition of in-home and community aged care worker.

Visitors

The Order also restrict visitors to a residential aged care facility:

  • Only two visitors over 12 years of age per day per resident will be permitted to visit a resident in a residential aged care facility provided that the visitors are fully vaccinated (2 doses of the vaccine or a medical contraindication) with the second dose having been received more than 14 days ago.
  • A person who does not meet these vaccinations requirements, including a child under 12, will be able to attend as a visitor only if the visit is for an end of life visit (there will still be a two visitor per day cap).
  • The operator of a residential aged care facility must take reasonable steps to ensure that visitors to not enter the facility in breach of the above requirements.

A visitor does not include a person providing a health service or professional or other service to the resident (however, such a person may be subject to other vaccination requirements).

Operators of residential aged care facilities must continue to consider the advice of the Chief Health Officer in respect of a range of matters, including in relation to the management of visitors.

Disability Services

The Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order 2021 makes a new direction requiring a person providing disability services in person to only provide such services if they have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 9 am 25 October and the second dose by 9 am on 29 November 2021. A disability service is defined.

Education and care workers

The Minister has made the Public Health (COVID-19 Vaccination of Education and Care Workers) Order 2021. The Order requires vaccination of education and care workers, including teachers and education providers as well as:

  • Workers who undertake maintenance at schools, asset workers that plan and maintain school assets;
  • Family day care;
  • Non-government school employees;
  • Early childhood educators;
  • Contractors engaged by schools and early education and care facilities;
  • Drivers and Assisted Transport Support Officers engaged by DoE to provide disability support services under the Assisted School Travel Program of the DoE;
  • Vocational Education and Training providers working on school and early education and care facility sites;
  • NSW TAFE teachers and assessors that work on school and early education and care facility sites; and
  • University practicum students.
  • Disability support workers working on school or early education and care facility sites;

The Order requires these workers to have both doses of COVID-19 vaccination by 8 November 2021. 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.

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.

An exemption has been signed to exempt a NSW resident from the requirements to compete a declaration or follow the stay at home rules if they have only been in the ACT for work, to receive medial or health treatment or to accompany someone receiving treatment.

Gathering restrictions

The Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 commenced on 11 October 2021. The Order eases a range of restrictions for people aged 16 or over who are fully vaccinated. Restrictions remain on entering and leaving Greater Sydney.

A person is considered fully vaccinated if they have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or has a medical contraindication certificate, or a medical contraindication recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register. Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) 2021 person with a medical clearance notice, issued after 22 September 2021, following diagnosis with COVID-19, is considered fully vaccinated for 6 months from the date of the notice. There are requirements for people to carry evidence of their vaccination status.

Some premises and activities must be closed to unvaccinated adults. The vaccination requirement applies to everyone on the premises.  Workers in regional areas who have received one vaccination dose are be permitted to return to their workplace but must be fully vaccinated by 1 November 2021.

Operators of residential aged care facilities must consider the advice of the Chief Health Officer for aged care facilities.

Greater Sydney includes Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong. Regional areas are all other parts of New South Wales.

Restrictions in the general area

All of New South Wales is classified as the general area.

Certain premises remain closed including amusement centres, play centres, sex on premises venues and indoor public swimming pools (except to conduct swimming classes, lap swimming, squad training or rehabilitation activities).

General density limits on non-residential premises are 1 per 4 square metres in indoor areas and 1 per 2 in outdoor areas. Persons on the premises for work are not counted in the density limits (except for construction sites, industrial premises, warehouses and distribution centres). Persons on premises to pick up take away food and drink are not counted.

These density limits do not apply to entertainment or major recreation facilities, personal services businesses, vessels with less than 50 people that are being used for scuba diving, snorkelling or marine animal watching, or where all the persons are from the same household, caravan parks and camping grounds and essential gatherings.

Holiday homes

Premises can only be used as holiday a home or short term rental, if all persons are from the same household or there are no more than 20 persons and there is no unvaccinated adult.

Visitors at a place of residence

20 visitors (not including children 12 years and under) are permitted at a place of residence provided no visitor and no household member is an unvaccinated adults. The visitor(s) and every person in the household aged 16 and over must be fully vaccinated.

This limit does not apply to people who visit:

  • to carry out work
  • to assist a person moving to or from the place of residence
  • for childcare
  • for 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 inspect the place of residence for sale or lease or to participate in an auction of the place of residence.

Entertainment and major recreation facilities

Entertainment facilities are restricted to:

  • 75% of fixed seating, or
  • 1 person per 4 square metres.

The 75% fixed seating calculation may only be used if patrons are ticketed and assigned to specific seats. All persons at an entertainment facility, other than those working, must, as far as is reasonably practicable, remain in the assigned seats at all times.

Major recreational facilities are restricted to:

  • 1 person per 4 square metres, or
  • 5000 person.

Indoor recreation facilities

Gym classes and dance classes are restricted to 20 persons.

Funerals, memorial services and weddings

Funerals, memorial services, weddings and gatherings afterwards must comply with the density limits for the premises (generally 1 person per 4 square metres indoors and 1 person per 2 square metres outdoors). A person who is under 16 and not fully vaccinated must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated household member.

A maximum of 20 visitors (not including children 12 years and under) are permitted at a place of residence provided no visitor and no household member is an unvaccinated adult.

Premises holding funerals, memorial services, weddings and gatherings afterwards are considered higher risk premises. There are restrictions on attendance by unvaccinated persons (unless it is a small funeral or wedding).

If any adult is unvaccinated, funerals and memorial services are limited to 10 persons (excluding the person conducting the service) and weddings are limited to a maximum of 11 persons (including the 5 people legally required for a wedding, 5 guests and 1 person to record the service).

Hospitality

Group bookings are restricted to 20 persons (except for significant events).

Hospitality venues cannot take a booking of more than 20 persons (unless it is for a significant event).

From 1 November the limits on hospitality bookings will be removed.

Certain outdoor events

The following limits apply:

  • Controlled outdoor public gatherings – 3,000 persons (enclosed or fenced, access by ticket, persons assigned specific seats or seating areas, must have COVID-19 Safety Plan)
  • COVID-19 safe outdoor public gatherings for community sport - 1,000 persons (must have COVID-19 Safety Plan)
  • COVID-19 safe outdoor public gatherings (other than for community sport) - 200 persons (must have COVID-19 Safety Plan)
  • Other outdoor public gatherings – 50 persons

An unvaccinated adult is not permitted to attend these outdoor events. These restrictions do not apply to certain gatherings, including for work, essential gatherings, gathering on premises that require a COVID-19 Safety Plan, gatherings of 2 people, or where everyone is from the same household.

Maximum numbers in vehicles and vessels

An unvaccinated adult cannot be in a vehicle or vessel with someone who is not from the same household (subject to certain exceptions e.g. a vehicle or vessel being used to carry out work, public transport, compassionate reasons, providing care or assistance, or in an emergency). A person aged 16 or over in a vehicle must carry and show evidence of their address on request of a Police officer.

Masks

Masks must be worn in indoor areas (other than places of residence), indoor common property on residential premises, public transport waiting areas/vehicles/vessels, while working in hospitality and dealing directly with members of the public, and on domestic commercial aircraft. Teachers and staff must wear masks at schools. Certain exceptions apply.

Fully vaccinated persons in office buildings are not required to wear masks, except in a part of a building that is a retail premises, hospitality or an indoor recreation facility.

Premises closed to unvaccinated adults

The occupier of certain premises must take reasonable steps to ensure that:

  • An unvaccinated adult is not on the premises, or
  • For higher risk premises – a person who is under 16 and not fully vaccinated is not on the premises unless accompanied by a fully vaccinated household member. Note: A person who is under 16 and not fully vaccinated can be on the premises to carry out work.

Note: outside of Greater Sydney, a worker who has only had one dose of vaccine can enter the premises until 1 November 2021.

These premises must be closed to unvaccinated adults:

  • higher risk premises
  • business premises that are hairdressers, spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlours or massage parlours
  • recreation facilities (indoors)
  • public swimming pools
  • information and education facilities
  • retail premises, but not critical retail premises
  • business premises that are auction houses (excluding auctions for food supply, livestock, fibre or crop)
  • business premises that are betting agencies
  • gaming lounges
  • markets that do not predominantly sell food
  • properties operated by the National Trust or the Historic Houses Trust.

Higher risk premises are:

  • entertainment facilities
  • recreation facilities (major)
  • hospitality venues
  • nightclubs
  • sex service premises
  • strip clubs
  • premises at which a significant event is being held, other than a small funeral or memorial service or small wedding service.

Certain exceptions apply, including premises used to assist vulnerable members of the community, buying take away, attending a small wedding/funeral, or click and collect.

Work from home

Employers must allow employee who is fully vaccinated to work from home if reasonably practicable.

An employer must require someone who is not fully vaccinated to work from home unless not reasonably practicable. The employee must work from home unless not reasonably practicable.

The employer of a worker outside of Greater Sydney who has had only one dose of a vaccine must allow their worker to work from home if reasonably practicable until 1 November 2021.

Consuming alcohol indoors

Unvaccinated people must be seated to consume alcohol in indoor areas. Alcohol may be consumed by fully vaccinated people who are not seated (except in nightclubs and strip clubs).

Dancing indoors

Dancing indoors is permitted for fully vaccinated people (except in nightclubs and strip clubs, where only performers can dance). Unvaccinated people must not dance in indoor areas. Exceptions apply to:

  • a place of residence
  • an educational establishment
  • a performer who is performing or rehearsing
  • a person who is instructing, or being instructed, in dancing
  • a wedding service or a gathering after a wedding service
  • a group class at a gym or a recreation facility (indoor)

Singing indoors

Singing is not permitted in indoor areas. Exceptions apply to:

  • a place of residence
  • an educational establishment
  • a performer who is performing or rehearsing
  • fully vaccinated performers who are part of a choir of up to 10 persons at place or worship or in a religious service
  • a person who is instructing, or being instructed, in singing
  • a wedding service or a gathering after a wedding service

Entering and leaving Greater Sydney - reasonable excuses

People cannot enter or leave Greater Sydney without a reasonable excuse.

A person may enter Greater Sydney to obtain goods or services if the goods or services are for the personal needs of the person's household or for other household purposes, including for vulnerable persons or pets, and the goods or services, or equivalent goods or services, are not reasonably available outside Greater Sydney.

A person may leave Greater Sydney to obtain goods or services if the goods or services are for the personal needs of the person's household or for other household purposes, including for vulnerable persons or pets, and the goods or services, or equivalent goods or services, are not reasonably available in Greater Sydney.

Other reasonable excuses include:
  • to attend a funeral, memorial service or wedding that complies with the Public Health Order.
  • enter or leave to go to the person’s place of residence
  • for work if it is not reasonably practicable to work at home
  • for childcare (to attend childcare or pick up or drop off a person at childcare)
  • to attend a school or other educational institution if the person cannot learn from home
  • to obtain medical care, including obtaining a COVID-19 test or vaccination, or obtain medical or health supplies, or donate blood
  • to fulfil carer’s responsibilities, or provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • for compassionate reasons (including where two people are in a relationship but do not live together)
  • for family contact arrangements (where a person under 18 does not live in the same household as a parent or sibling)
  • to provide emergency assistance to a person, or in an emergency, or to avoid illness, injury or risk of harm
  • to feed an animal or for animal welfare
  • to fulfil legal obligations
  • to access public services, whether provided by Government, a private provider or a non-Government organization
  • move to a new place of residence, or inspect real property, or move between places of residence of the person (i.e. a second property)
  • to transport a member of the person’s household, if reasonably necessary, who has a reasonable excuse to enter or leave Greater Sydney
  • if a temporary accommodation booking has expired, and the person goes directly to the person’s new place of residence, which may be other temporary accommodation
  • to supervise or facilitate a business moving to new premises
  • a person who is a priest, minister of religion or member of a religious order may go to the person’s place of worship, or provide pastoral care
Taking a holiday, exercise and outdoor recreation are not reasonable excuses.

Holidays and recreation

  • An unvaccinated adult must not undertake recreation outside the local government area in which they reside
  • An unvaccinated adult must not take a holiday outside the local government area in which they reside
  • A person who resides in Greater Sydney cannot take a holiday outside of Greater Sydney
  • A person who lives outside of Greater Sydney cannot take a holiday in Greater Sydney.

Stay at home areas

The Order allows the Chief Health Officer to declare stay at home areas. Currently there are no stay at home areas.

COVID-19 safety plans

Certain premises and events must have a COVID-19 safety plan that addresses the matters in the relevant check list approved by the Chief Health Officer.

COVID safe check-in

COVID safe check-in is required for certain premises and events.

Spitting and coughing

A person must not spit at or cough on a worker in a manner that causes fear about COVID-19.

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 General) Order 2021 or specified provisions on the order. If you are requesting an exemption to enter to a NSW health facility, please contact the relevant hospital.

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.

An exemption has been made to the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 to exempt:

  • a person who is providing an emergency service (for example police or fire fighters) from the direction in clause 2.18 to not enter certain premises if they are an unvaccinated adult
  • the occupier of premises that is closed to unvaccinated adults from the requirement in clause 2.18 to take reasonable steps to not to allow a person to enter the premises if they are an unvaccinated adult but only in respect of a person is entering to provide an emergency service.

An exemption has been made to clarify that unvaccinated persons or persons accompanying them can attend premises used by registered health practitioners to obtain health services, including purchasing health supplies, devices or equipment.

An exemption has been made to exempt a fully vaccinated person from the requirement to wear a mask in the Parliamentary precinct subject to specific conditions.

An exemption is in place to allow a fully vaccinated person to remove their mask when participating in a musical rehearsal or performance, subject to the conditions outlined in the exemption.

An exemption is in place to permit fully vaccinated people to enter and leave Greater Sydney for the purpose of travelling to Lord Howe Island, including for a holiday or recreation.

Current exemptions to the Public Health (COVID-19 Safety) Order 2021 and previous Gathering Restrictions Orders remain in effect:

  • 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.
  • An exemption is in place for ADF vessels exempting persons from the requirement to go to a quarantine facility after disembarkation should they meet certain requirements.
  • An exemption will commence 20 October 2021 for travellers arriving from the South Island of New Zealand. It will exempt a person arriving into NSW from the requirement to go into a quarantine facility should they meet requirements 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.

The Amending Order commences at 8am on 21 October and amends the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) Order 2021.

The Amended Order directs

  • diagnosed cases must notify certain persons of their diagnosis, being:
    • Their employer (or person who engages the person)
    • Any person they reside with
    • Social contacts
    • Their education institution (if the diagnosed case is a student)

The notification must comply with the Confirmed Cases Factsheet (this will need to be approved by the Chief Health Officer and published on our website)

  • Amends the maximum period of time a close contact can be required to self isolate. Currently a close contact must self isolate for the time determined by an authorised contact tracer, being no more than 14 days. This amending order changes this to a maximum period of 7 days for fully vaccinated persons (someone who has had 2 doses of the vaccine at least 14 days before they were a close contact). Unvaccinated persons are still subject to the maximum period of 14 days self isolate
  • Requires the person conducting a business or undertaking to notify SafeWork NSW if they become aware that a worker was diagnosed at with COVID-19, which was likely contracted at the person’s workplace (other than the worker’s home) or the worker attended work while infectious.
  • The Amending Order varies the current exemptions in place for persons who have been medically cleared from COVID-19.
    • Since 22 September persons who have recovered from COVID-19 and given a medical clearance notice are exempt from any vaccination and testing requirements in any other public health order for 6 months and do not need to self isolate if they are a close contact for 6 months after being medically cleared.
    • The Amending Order removes completely the exemptions in place relating to testing and self isolation. In respect of vaccination, the exemption continues but is limited to 6 weeks.
    • Savings provisions are included so that a person who was medically cleared between 22 September and 21 October can continue to rely on the six month exemption.

The Order requires compliance with the NSW Health Factsheet: Confirmed Case of COVID-19 issued by the Chief Health Officer and the self isolation guidelines, which may change from time to time.

Declaration of high COVID-19 risk premises

There are currently no premises at a high risk of transmission of COVID-19 between residents of the premises, in accordance with the Order.

 

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:

  • $5000 for a breach of   a direction prohibiting coughing or spitting on a public official or other worker
  • $5000 for individuals who breach the following ministerial directions made under a s7 public health order as follows:
    • For a direction to answer questions, provide other information about a person's movements, or provide contact details if requested to do so by an authorised contact tracer - $5,000
    • For a direction to provide true and accurate information to Service NSW or an authorised contract tracer - $5000
  • $5000 for a breach of the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) 2021
  • $5000 for a breach of a direction that a person must not provide, display or produce information or evidence purporting to show a person is fully vaccinated unless it is true and accurate
  • $1,000 in other cases (subject except for the below).

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

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

Requesting exemptions

Current as at: Thursday 21 October 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW