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.

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 or NSW Health - Directions under the Public Health Act (Easy read).

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Affected persons: Persons who in the last 14 days have been in Victoria

Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020, relates to “affected persons”, persons who in the last 14 days have been in Victoria. The Order commences at the beginning of 8 July 2020.

The Order directs that an affected person must not travel to NSW. Only certain categories of affected persons can enter NSW including:

  • returning NSW residents
  • children going to boarding school (and their parents)
  • persons providing critical services
  • persons entering child access or care arrangements
  • persons transiting out of NSW
  • seasonal workers
  • people needing medical or hospital treatment
  • people needing to meet legal obligations
  • people in border communities.

People entering NSW generally will have to obtain an entry permit and comply with the conditions on the permit or specific conditions in the order (eg returning NSW residents have to self-isolate). 

The Minister has signed an exemption to the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020 to allow NSW residents to enter NSW without a permit and without a requirement to self-isolate where:

  • the only location in Victoria the resident has been is Melbourne Tullamarine Airport or Avalon Airport
  • the person entered Victoria on the Spirit of Tasmania and travelled directly from the port to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport or Avalon Airport or the NSW border, or
  • the person has completed 14 days of quarantine in Victoria after arriving from overseas and has travelled directly to the NSW after completing that quarantine and has documentary evidence by, or on behalf of, the Victorian Government to indicate that the person has completed their quarantine period.
If you do not meet any of the specified categories and require travel to NSW for compassionate reasons, you may apply for an exemption with NSW Health. For more information, refer to Compassionate permits for travellers from Victoria to NSW.
    

Where an affected person is required to self-isolate, they must self-isolate at their place of residence or another suitable place and remain there until 14 days have passed since the person was in Victoria. There are only limited reasons an affected person can leave their home, including obtaining medical care, complying with legal obligations, providing an essential service, in an emergency or to leave NSW. The person must comply with the NSW Health self-isolation guidelines.

Spitting and coughing

Public Health (COVID-19 Spitting and Coughing) Order 2020 directs that a person must not intentionally spit at or cough on public officials or other workers in a way that is reasonably likely to cause fear about the spread of COVID-19.

The original order commenced 9 April 2020; amendments commenced 20 April 2020.

Gathering and movement

Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020

The Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020contains directions on gatherings, the use of non-residential and residential premises and community sporting activities. The Order lists premises requiring a COVID-19 safety plan. Generally the number of people allowed on premises will be determined by the ‘one person per 4 square metre rule’. Limits apply to weddings and funerals on residential premises.

People can participate in outdoor public gatherings of not more than 20 people. There is a 20 person limit on visitors to a home. The Order directs employers to allow employees to work from home if this is reasonably practical. The Order commenced on 1 July 2020.

Any request for exemption to the order must be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis.

An exemption is in place under the Order for operators of (non-commercial) recreational vessels, where all persons on the vessel are members of the same household and/or any non-family members maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres.

An exemption is in place under the Order for ski resorts, which may operate for winter recreational activities including skiing and snowboarding under specific conditions as outlined in the exemption.

Quarantine

Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation and Maritime Quarantine) Amendment Order (No 2) amends the current Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 2) to extend the current quarantine period up to 24 days. However, the quarantine period will end at any time after 14 days if the Chief Health Officer is satisfied that the person does not pose a risk of infecting another person with COVID-19.

The Amendment Order also amends the current Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 2) in relation to the quarantine period, to provide that the quarantine period starts when a person disembarks from a vessel and ends after 24 days. However, the quarantine period will end at any time after 14 days if the Chief Health Officer is satisfied that the person does not poses a risk of infecting another person with COVID-19.

The changes to the quarantine periods will apply to anyone who has arrived after 25 June 2020, when the current air and maritime orders came into effect.

Air transportation

Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 2) 2020 [as amended by Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation and Maritime Quarantine) Amendment Order (No 2)] commenced on 25 June 2020

The Order directs that a person who arrives in NSW by aircraft and has been in a country other than Australia within 14 days before that arrival must undertake mandatory quarantine. The Order makes a different direction for the flight crew of aircraft allowing those persons to quarantine at their residence or accommodation before departing from New South Wales by aircraft.

The quarantine period ends after 24 days. However, the quarantine period will end at any time after 14 days if the Chief Health Officer is satisfied that the person does not pose a risk of infecting another person with COVID-19. In making the assessment, the Chief Health Officer must consider any testing conducted by or on behalf, NSW Health. The quarantine period applies to flight crew as well (however, they can continue to self-isolate and can leave to fly out of NSW or undertake essential flight safety activities).

Maritime

Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 2) 2020 [as amended by Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation and Maritime Quarantine) Amendment Order (No 2)] commenced on 25 June 2020.

The Order directs that a person who arrives in NSW on a vessel that has come from a port outside of NSW must not disembark from the vessel unless authorised by the Commissioner of Police or because of an emergency, and once authorised to disembark must do go directly to a quarantine facility, hospital or other medical facility to undertake a quarantine period.

The quarantine period starts when a person disembarks from a vessel and ends after 24 days. However, the quarantine period will end at any time after 14 days if the Chief Health Officer is satisfied that the person does not poses a risk of infecting another person with COVID-19. In making the assessment, the Chief Health Officer must consider any testing conducted by, or on behalf of, NSW Health.

An authorisation under the Order allows crew members to disembark the vessel to undertake essential tasks, and authorises people performing additional functions to board a vessel.

Self-isolation

Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 2) 2020 under the Public Health Act 2010 directs that a person diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate in their residence or other suitable location until medically cleared and comply with the self isolation guidelines.

The order commenced on 23 June 2020. Any person who was in self-isolation under the previous Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order 2020must continue to self-isolate until medically cleared.

Residential Aged Care Facilities

Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order (No 2) 2020 remakes, with amendment, the previous Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order, easing some of the restrictions in relation to visitors.

The original Order commenced 24 March 2020 and the amendment commenced 23 June 2020.

Penalties for breaching the pu​blic health order

It is an offence to not comply with a public health order and the following 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
    • and $27,500 each day the offence continues. 

On the spot fines can also be issued:

  • amount of $4,000 for a breach of clause 6 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020 - failing to provide or falsifying information to an enforcement officer 
  • an amount of $5000 for a breach of the Public Health (COVID-19 Spitting and Coughing) Order (No 2) 2020
  • and $1,000 in other cases. 

Requesting exemptions

Page Updated: Saturday 11 July 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW