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. 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 vaccine by 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. This can be either the Australian Immunisation Register immunisation medical exemption form or the NSW COVID-19 vaccine medical contraindication form.

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

The Minister has made the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) (No 2) Order which, from 9am 1 November 2021 revokes and remakes the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order 2021 with the following amendments:

  • The No 2 Order no longer prohibits visitors under 12 years of age from visiting a resident in a residential aged care facility.
  • There will still be a 2 visitor per day limit for each resident. However, the limit will not include up to 2 children under 12 years of age who accompany a fully vaccinated visitor. In addition, consistent with the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order, the operator of the facility will have to consider the advice of the CHO in relation to the management of visitors.
  • The definition of a COVID-19 vaccine will mean a TGA recognised or approved vaccine. This will mean that if someone from overseas has been fully vaccinated with a TGA recognised vaccine they may meet the directions relating to vaccination.
  • The definition of a medical contraindication certificate has been updated to mean a certificate approved by the Chief Health Officer that certifies that a person cannot have any approved vaccine available in NSW.

An exemption has been made to the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order 2021 to allow up to four visitors (including children) at any one time to visit a resident in a residential aged care facility who is at their end of life, subject to the conditions outlined in the exemption.

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 Department of Education to provide disability support services under the Assisted School Travel Program of the Department of Education
  • 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
  • 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. This can be either the Australian Immunisation Register immunisation medical exemption form or the NSW COVID-19 vaccine medical contraindication form.

Interstate travellers

The Public Health (COVID-19 Interstate Travellers) Order (No 4) 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 7 days if they are fully vaccinated, or 14 days if they are unvaccinated, 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 has been signed under the Public Health (COVID-19 Interstate Travellers) Order (No 4) 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.

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.

Some premises and activities must be closed to unvaccinated adults. The vaccination requirement applies to everyone on the premises. 

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.

A person is considered fully vaccinated if they have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine (or one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for which a single dose is a complete course), 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 a person with a medical clearance notice, issued between 22 September 2021 and 21 October 2021, following diagnosis with COVID-19, is considered fully vaccinated for 6 months from the date of the notice. For medical clearances following past infection issued before 22 September and after 21 October 2021 the exemption period for vaccination is limited to 6 weeks. There are requirements for people to carry evidence of their vaccination status.

Following the removal of hotel quarantine requirements vaccination evidence includes an email or other document from the Department of Home Affairs of the Commonwealth that confirms the person has completed an Australia Travel Declaration and been vaccinated against COVID-19 while overseas.

Restrictions in the general area

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

Certain events are prohibited. Music festivals are not permitted.

General density limits on non-residential premises are 1 person per 2 square metres. 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, snorkeling 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 if there is no unvaccinated adult.

Visitors at a place of residence

​Visitors are permitted at a place of residence provided no visitor and no household member are unvaccinated adults. The visitor(s) and every person in the household aged 16 and over must be fully vaccinated. There is no limit on fully vaccinated visitors.

The vaccination requirements do 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 and indoor major recreation facilities are restricted to the greater of:

  • 100% of fixed seating, or
  • 1 person per 2 square metres.

The 100% fixed seating calculation may only be used if patrons are ticketed and assigned to specific seats.

Outdoor major recreational facilities are restricted to the greater of:

  • 100% of fixed seating and 1 person per 2 square metres in any unfixed seating areas, or
  • 1 person per 2 square metres.

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 2 square metres). A person who is under 16 and not fully vaccinated must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated household member.

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). An unvaccinated adult must be seated when eating or drinking at a funeral, memorial service, or weddings.

Certain outdoor events

The following restrictions apply:

  • COVID-19 safe outdoor public gatherings (must have COVID-19 Safety Plan)
  • Other outdoor public gatherings – 1,000 persons

An unvaccinated adult is not permitted to attend these outdoor events. An unvaccinated adult must not participate in an outdoor public gathering of more than 2 persons. This restriction does not apply to certain gatherings, including for work, essential gatherings, gathering on premises that require a COVID-19 Safety Plan, where everyone is from the same household, a significant event, or a gathering for voting at an election.

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 all indoor areas (other than places of residence), indoor common property on residential premises, public transport waiting areas/vehicles/vessels, while working outdoors 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.

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)
  • amusement centres
  • business premises that are play centres
  • 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
  • nightclubs
  • sex on premises venues
  • sex service premises
  • strip clubs

Higher risk premises are:

  • entertainment facilities
  • recreation facilities (major)
  • hospitality venues
  • 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, click and collect, for a Higher School Certificate or International Baccalaureate examination, or for voting at an election.

Voting at an election

Unvaccinated adults may attend premises that are a polling place or voting centre to vote at, or participate in the conduct of, an election.

Unvaccinated people can participate in an outdoor gathering of more than two people for the purposes of voting at an election.

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.

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.

Singing and dancing indoors

Singing and dancing indoors is permitted for fully vaccinated people. Unvaccinated people must not sing or 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 small funeral or memorial service or a small wedding service

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
  • An unvaccinated adult who resides in Victoria must not take a holiday or undertake recreation in NSW

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.

An exemption is in place to allow up to 25 persons at a place of public worship, a funeral home, a cemetery or crematorium if there is insufficient space to ensure at least 4 square metres of space per person for a funeral or memorial service, or a gathering immediately after a funeral or memorial service.

An exemption has been made to allow an unvaccinated year 12 student to attend premises that are being used to hold the student’s school formal, dinner or graduation, subject to the conditions outlined in the exemption.

Air transportation quarantine and testing

The Minister has made the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2021 , which was amended on 3 December 2021.

A summary of the rules in place from 3 December 2021 under the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2021 and the Amendment Orders:

Arrivals who are not fully vaccinated (unvaccinated relevant persons)

  • A relevant person is a person who arrives in NSW, having been in a country other than Australia anytime in the 14 days before their arrival.
  • Unvaccinated relevant persons must undertake a mandatory quarantine period in a quarantine facility or medical facility (this does not include a child under 12 who is accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent or guardian).
  • 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.
  • An unvaccinated relevant 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.
  • Unvaccinated relevant 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.

Arrivals from a country of concern

In line with Australian Government measures, countries of concern are:

  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

Restrictions are in place for passengers from these countries regardless of whether they have been fully vaccinated or not.

Passengers arriving from a country of concern on or after 28 November 2021

Passengers arriving from overseas on or after 28 November 2021 who have been in a country of concern in the previous 14 days must go into a quarantine facility and comply with the same directions as unvaccinated arrivals.

Passengers who arrived from a country of concern before 28 November 2021

Passengers who arrived in NSW before 28 November 2021 and have been to a country of concern in the last 14 days, must:

Passengers arriving from overseas on or after 28 November 2021 (who have not been in a country of concern)

From 28 November 2021, passenger arriving from overseas, who have not been in a country of concern, must:

From 30 November 2021, passengers who wish to travel to another state or territory from NSW should check the requirements of the receiving jurisdiction to ensure they are permitted to enter. They should travel in a private vehicle, including a taxi or rideshare vehicle, to their residence or place suitable for self-isolation purposes by the most practicable direct route. Travel by rail and air is permitted if this is the most practicable direct route. If there is a layover period, the person must travel directly to suitable accommodation and self-isolate until they transit out of NSW, or they complete their 3-day isolation period.

International flight crew who are fully vaccinated and who have not been in a country of concern

International flight crew who are fully vaccinated and have not been in a country of concern must:

The employer must arrange appropriate transportation while the flight crew is in self-isolation.

International flight crew who have been in a country of concern

International flight crew who have been in a country of concern in the previous 14 days, regardless of vaccination status, must comply with the same directions as international flight crew who are not fully vaccinated.

International flight crew who are not fully vaccinated

International flight crew who are not fully vaccinated must:

  • go directly to their place of residence (if they are a resident of NSW) or accommodation arranged by their employer, and self-isolate there until either the quarantine period ends (at least 14 days), or they depart on another flight that leaves Australia
  • not leave their residence or accommodation except in specific circumstances as listed in the NSW Health Air Transportation Guidelines
  • not permit another person to enter the place of residence or accommodation except in an emergency or for medical purposes
  • otherwise comply with the NSW Health Air Transportation Guidelines.

Employers of 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.

Transportation providers

A transportation provider who transports relevant persons to or from a quarantine or medical facility, or who transports international flight crew members who are required to self-isolate must:

The employer of a person who provides a transportation service above must ensure the employee complies with the NSW Health Air Transportation Guidelines.

Surveillance and testing program

There are currently no classes of workers listed on the NSW Quarantine Worker Surveillance and Testing Program (the NSW Testing Program). Workers should get tested immediately if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, and even if they are fully or partially vaccinated.

Vaccination

The Order requires a nominated worker to be vaccinated for COVID-19, or have a medical contraindication, in order to provide services or enter an airport or quarantine facility.

A nominated worker is a worker working in a quarantine facility, providing transportation services to international arrivals or working at the airport and who are specified in the NSW Airport and Quarantine Workers Vaccination Program.

A nominated worker can only provide services at a quarantine facility, provide transportation services to a relevant person (someone who has been overseas in the last 14 days) or provide services at the airport if the worker:

  • has been vaccinated against COVID-19 (either has had two doses or has had one dose, with a second dose no more than 3 months after the first), or
  • has a medical contraindication certificate issued to the person by a medical practitioner.

Nominated workers must 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.

Other

A person subject to the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2021 must also comply with any applicable directions to the person under the Public Health (COVID-19 Self Isolation) Order (No 3) 2021. In the event of any inconsistency, the latter Order takes precedence.

Exemptions

  • An exemption is in place for overseas arrivals who have a medical contraindication. The exemption will apply to:
    • a person who is not fully vaccinated and has a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination and has a medical contraindication certificate which has been issued to them by a medical practitioner
    • a person under 12 who is not fully vaccinated and accompanied by a parent or guardian who has a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination.

    The exemption exempts them from the requirement to go to a quarantine facility, however they must comply with the following restrictions:

    • self-isolate for 3 days after arriving in NSW
    • have a nose and throat PCR test for COVID-19
      • within 24 hours of arriving in NSW
      • on day 5 to 6 after arriving in NSW
      • a test on day 12 after arriving in NSW is strongly recommended
    • they must comply with the NSW Health Guidelines for Recent Fully Vaccinated Arrivals

    The exemption does not apply to a person who has been in a country of concern in the previous 14 days, or to a flight crew member.

  • An exemption is in place in relation to children. The exemption will apply to:
    • children aged 12 and over and under 18 years who are not fully vaccinated and who arrive in NSW accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent or guardian (or a parent or guardian with a medical contraindication)
    • all children who are not fully vaccinated and who arrive unaccompanied.
  • The exemption exempts them from the requirement to go to a quarantine facility, however they must comply with the following restrictions:

    • self-isolate for at least 7 days
    • have a nose and throat PCR test for COVID-19
      • within 24 hours of arrival in NSW
      • on day 5 to 6 after arriving in NSW
      • a test on day 12 after arriving in NSW is strongly recommended
    • they must comply with the NSW Health Guidelines for Recent Fully Vaccinated Arrivals

    The exemption does not apply if the child has been in a country of concern in the previous 14 days or if the parent/guardian accompanying them has been to a country of concern in the previous 14 days.

For information on individual exemptions to entering a quarantine facility, which not covered above, please see air and maritime quarantine.

Maritime quarantine

The Minister has made Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2021 which commenced on 27 November 2021.

The Order does not apply to certain interstate vessels, being a vessel that:

  • commenced a voyage in Australia and
  • did not stop at a port outside Australia and
  • each person on board the vessel boarded the vessel in Australia

Permitted reasons to disembark a vessel

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. 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.

Disembarking a vessel to go to a quarantine facility, hospital, airport or another vessel to leave Australia

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 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.

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 while waiting at the airport or port to leave NSW.

Disembarking a vessel to undertake an essential task

An essential task includes:

  • 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)

If a person disembarks a vessel to undertake an essential task, 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.

Boarding and disembarking a vessel to provide certain functions

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.

Persons boarding a vessel must provide their contact details to the occupier of the wharf using the Service NSW app.

COVID-19 Safety Plans

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.

Other directions

A person subject to the Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2021 must also comply with any applicable directions to the person in the Public Health (COVID-19 Self Isolation) Order (No 3) 2021 (or any order that replaces that order). 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 Australian Defence Force (ADF) vessels exempting persons from the requirement to go to a quarantine facility after disembarkation should they meet certain requirements as specified in the exemption.

International crew who are fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccination that is approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) may wish to request shore leave whilst their vessel is docked in a NSW Port. In order to disembark for the purposes of shore leave, an exemption is required. To apply for an exemption, please visit the exemptions for air and maritime quarantine.

For more information about vaccines that are approved or recognised in Australia please visit the Australian Government website.

For more information about exemptions to the Order, see exemptions for air and maritime quarantine.

Self-isolation

The Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 4) 2021 (no 4 Order) 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 No 4 Order commenced at 10pm on 4 December and amends the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) Order 2021 (No 3 Order).

The No 4 Order is the same as the No 3 Order subject to the following:

  • Where a diagnosed case or close contact has a disability or is receiving aged care support, the No 4 Order will permit a person providing essential support to enter the residence where the case or close contact is self-isolating and provide the service (essential support is defined). The person providing the essential support must take reasonable steps to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
  • The provisions in the No 3 order relating to the ability to lockdown apartment buildings have been removed,

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.

Read how NSW Health uses and discloses personal information relating to COVID-19 collected through case interviews and contact tracing at COVID-19 contact tracing and your privacy.

An exemption is in place to allow school students or staff members of a school who are identified close contacts to attend school and outside school care after receiving a negative PCR (nose and throat swab) test taken at the start of their self-isolation period, subject to the conditions outlined in the exemption (including daily rapid antigen testing for seven consecutive days after the negative PCR test).

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 an individual and $10,000 for a corporation to a person who breaches the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2021
  • $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 4) 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.

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.

Requesting exemptions

Current as at: Sunday 5 December 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW