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 3) commenced on 23 December 2021. The Order directs that a

  • a stage 1 health care worker must not do work as a health care worker unless the worker has received at least 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and
  • a stage 2 health care worker must not do work as a health care worker unless they have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 31 January 2022 and their second dose by 28 February 2022.

A stage 1 health care worker is:

  • 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, 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 an employment contract or a contract for services. However, the people are not considered to be a Stage 1 health care worker if:

  • 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 or the Ministry of Health under 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.

A stage 2 health care worker is someone in one of these categories who is not a stage 1 health care worker:

  • a person employed in a Public Service executive agency related to the Ministry of Health
  • a person employed in the Health Care Complaints Commission Staff Agency
  • a person appointed by the Governor or the Minister to an office under the Cancer Institute Act 2003, the Health Administration Act 1982, the Health Care Complaints Act 1993, the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW), the Health Services Act 1987, (vi) the Mental Health Act 2007, the Mental Health Commission Act 2012. This includes members of local health district boards and health professional council members
  • registered health practitioners, being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners, Chinese medicine practitioners, chiropractors, dental practitioner (including dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists and oral health therapists), medical practitioners, medical radiation practitioners, midwives, nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, osteopaths, paramedics, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychologists
  • unregistered health practitioners who are subject to the code of conduct for unregistered health practitioners. This includes, but is not limited to, speech therapists, audiologists, massage therapists, dieticians and naturopaths and other alternative health care practitioners
  • a person who does work in connection with the provision of a heath service by a registered health practitioner or an unregistered health practitioner at the premises on which the health service is provided, e.g. a receptionist at a doctor's surgery.
  • 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 stage 2 health care worker for this Order in a notice published on the website of NSW Health.

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.

  • A stage 2 health care worker is exempt from the vaccination obligations if they:
    • provide health services with no physical contact with members of the community being provided with the service; and
    • provide that health service entirely from a place where there are no patients, clients and others accessing the health care onsite the premises.

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.

A medical practitioner must not issue a medical contraindication certificate unless the medical practitioner reasonably believes that, because of a specified medical contraindication, the person cannot have any approved COVID-19 vaccine available in New South Wales.

If a medical practitioner's registration becomes subject to conditions that limits their ability to issue a medical certificate, if the worker is advised of this by their employer the worker must cease work until they receive a medical contraindication certificate from another medical practitioner or meet the vaccination requirements in the Order.

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 3) Order which, from 23 December 2021 revokes and remakes the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 2) 2021. The Order requires certain workers in aged care and disability to be vaccinated with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to work. The Order applies to:

  • workers in a residential aged care facility
  • in-home and community aged care workers
  • workers providing disability services

Students and health practitioners must not enter a residential aged care facility unless they have been vaccinated with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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.

A medical practitioner must not issue a medical contraindication certificate unless the medical practitioner reasonably believes that, because of a specified medical contraindication, the person cannot have any approved COVID-19 vaccine available in New South Wales.

If a medical practitioner's registration becomes subject to conditions that limits their ability issue a medical certificate, if the worker is advised of this by their employer the worker must cease work until they receive a medical contraindication certificate from another medical practitioner or meet the vaccination requirements in the Order.

The Order also restricts the number of visitors that can visitor a resident of a residential aged care facility. Under the Order, daily visits to a resident are limited to two fully vaccinated visitors over 12 years and 2 children under 12 accompanying them. A fully vaccinated visitor must have had 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, with the second dose at least 14 days before the visit.

The visitor restrictions do not apply in relation to end of life visits. Consistent with the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order (No 2) 2021, the operator of the facility will have to consider the advice of the CHO in relation to the management of visitors.

Education and care workers

The Minister has made the Public Health (COVID-19 Vaccination of Education and Care Workers) Order (No 2) 2021. The Order requires education and care workers to be vaccinated with 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to work. This includes:

  • teachers and other workers at government and non-government schools
  • early education and care workers
  • family day care workers
  • anyone providing a disability support service in person to a child at school or childcare
  • contractors engaged by schools or childcare facilities
  • 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 employer or supervisor of the education and care worker must take reasonable steps to ensure they are fully vaccinated.

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.

Family day care residences must not open unless all adults who live at the residence are fully vaccinated.

A medical practitioner must not issue a medical contraindication certificate unless the medical practitioner reasonably believes that, because of a specified medical contraindication, the person cannot have any approved COVID-19 vaccine available in New South Wales.

If a medical practitioner's registration becomes subject to conditions that limits their ability to issue a medical certificate, if the worker is advised of this by their employer the worker must cease work until they receive a medical contraindication certificate from another medical practitioner or meet the vaccination requirements in the Order. If the operator of a family day care residence becomes aware that an adult in their household has been issued with a medical contraindication certificate by a medical practitioner by a medical practitioner's registration becomes subject to conditions that limits their ability to issue a medical certificate, they must cease to provide family day care services unless the adult in the household present a new medical contradiction certificate or is vaccinated in accordance with the Order.

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 currently no concerns notice in effect.

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 (No 2) 2021 commenced on 15 December 2021.

Density limits for hospitality venues and nightclubs

The density limit for hospitality venues and nightclubs is 1 person per 2 square metres. Persons on the premises for work, because of an emergency, or to pick up take away food and drink are not counted.

COVID-19 Safe Check-in

COVID-19 Safe Check-in is required for certain premises and events, including hospitality venues, retail premises, strip clubs, nightclubs, sex on premises venues, places of public worship, funerals and memorial services, gyms, hairdressers, spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlours or massage parlours, residential care facilities or hostels (but not residents), hospitals (unless there is an adequate electronic entry recording system), and indoor musical festivals with more than 1,000 attendees.

Where a person has checked-in to a shopping centre, they are not required to check-in to retail premises that are contained entirely within and only accessible through the shopping centre.

Masks

Masks must be worn in indoor areas (other than places of residence), indoor common property on residential premises, on public transport, in public transport waiting areas, in indoor areas of airports, in aircraft, and by workers dealing directly with the public at hospitality venues. Certain exceptions apply.

Restrictions of certain events

Music festivals are limited to a maximum of 20,000 attendees. All attendees at indoor music festivals with over 1,000 attendees must be fully vaccinated.

Restrictions on singing and dancing

Singing and dancing is not permitted at a hospitality venue, entertainment facility, nightclub, major recreation facility or music festival. Exceptions apply to:

  • a performer who is performing or rehearsing,
  • a person who is instructing, or being instructed, in singing or dancing, and
  • a wedding service, or a gathering immediately following a wedding.

Exemptions

An exemption to the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order (No 2) 2021 has been made in relation to dancing and singing at outdoor music festivals and outdoor events at major recreation facilities subject to the occupier of the premises:

  • taking reasonably practicable steps to ensure attendees (patrons not workers) remain seated.
  • ensuring that attendees do not congregate away from their seat or seating area.
  • taking reasonable steps to ensure that there is no dancefloor at the event, or that any existing dancefloor is not used.
  • engaging security guards and/or COVID marshals to ensure compliance with the conditions of this exemption.

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 (No 2) 2021 or specified provisions of the Order.

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

Any request for exemption to the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order (No 2) 2021 will be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis.

Exemptions are only considered where there are exceptional or unforeseen circumstances and when the applicant demonstrates an understanding of how public health risks will be controlled and has a COVID-19 Safety Plan for the event.

If you are requesting an exemption to enter to a NSW Health facility, please contact the relevant hospital. If you have arrived from overseas and are requesting an exemption from isolation or quarantine please, refer to exemptions from air and maritime quarantine.

Please visit COVID-19 rules for further information.

Air transportation quarantine and testing

The Minister has made the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 4) 2021 , which was last amended on 30 December 2021.

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 or young person under the age of 18 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 circumstances, for example 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.

Passengers arriving from overseas who are fully vaccinated

This section applies to:

  • any passenger who is fully vaccinated
  • passengers with a medical contraindication to all COVID-19 vaccines reasonably available
  • a passenger under the age of 18 who is accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult or an adult with a medical contraindication
  • a person under the age of 18 who arrives unaccompanied

These passengers must:

If any passenger has a positive rapid antigen test they must follow the advice in Testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home. If passengers first arrive in Australia in another state or territory and then come to NSW, they must comply with the specified testing requirements, including a rapid antigen test immediately if this has not been undertaken in the state or territory of their arrival.

If passengers first arrive in Australia in another state or territory and then come to NSW, they must comply with the specified testing requirements, including a rapid antigen test immediately if this has not been undertaken in the state or territory of their arrival.

Transiting passengers arriving from overseas

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. Wherever possible, transiting passengers should travel in a private 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 (for example, by private vehicle, taxi or ride-share) to suitable accommodation and self-isolate until they transit out of NSW, or they receive negative result from a rapid antigen test taken within the first 24 hours of arrival.

International flight crew who are fully vaccinated

International flight crew who are fully vaccinated must:

If any flight crew member has a positive rapid antigen test they must follow the advice in Testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home. If flight crew first arrive in Australia in another state or territory and then come to NSW, they must comply with the specified testing requirements, including a test immediately if this has not been undertaken in the state or territory of their arrival.

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

International flight crew who are not fully vaccinated

International flight crew who are not fully vaccinated must:

  • have a COVID-19 rapid antigen test as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours after arrival
  • go directly to their place of residence (if they are a NSW resident) or accommodation arranged by their employer
  • self-isolate for at least 14 days
  • only leave self-isolation for a permitted reason, including to board a flight that leaves Australia.
  • otherwise comply with the NSW Health Air Transportation Guidelines.

Any flight crew member who has a positive rapid antigen test must follow the advice in Testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home.

If flight crew first arrive in Australia in another state or territory and then come to NSW, they must comply with the specified testing requirements, including a rapid antigen test immediately if this has not been undertaken in the state or territory of their arrival.

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

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.

In relation to medical contraindication certificates, a medical practitioner must not issue a medical contraindication certificate unless the medical practitioner reasonably believes that, because of a specified medical contraindication, the person cannot have any approved COVID-19 vaccine available in New South Wales.

If a medical practitioner's registration becomes subject to conditions that limits their ability to issue a medical certificate, if the worker is advised of this by their employer the worker must cease work until they receive a medical contraindication certificate from another medical practitioner or meet the vaccination requirements in the Order.

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 4) 2021. In the event of any inconsistency, the latter Order takes precedence.

Exemptions

For information on individual exemptions to entering a quarantine facility, which not covered above, please see exemptions for 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 4) 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.
  • An exemption is in place to allow a person to disembark a vessel to receive a COVID-19 vaccination that is further than 13 metres from the vessel, subject to the conditions outlined in the exemption.

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 their close contacts to self-isolate and specifies requirements for self-isolation including duration and location.

The Order requires people diagnosed with COVID-19 and close contacts to comply with the NSW Health Factsheet: Testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home issued by the Chief Health Officer and the self isolation guidelines, which may change from time to time.

The Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 4) Amendment (No 4) Order 2022 commenced at on 12 January 2022. It amends the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 4) 2021 to give effect to changes recently agreed by Government, those being:

  • to provide that a person diagnosed with COVID-19 through the use of a rapid antigen test is a "diagnosed person" and is therefore required to self-isolate under this Order in the same way as if the person were diagnosed by undergoing PCR testing
  • to require persons who become aware they have tested positive to COVID-19 as a result of a rapid antigen test to notify the Chief Executive Officer of Service NSW via an online form available on the Service NSW website or in another approved way
  • to provide for the purposes for which the Chief Executive Officer of Service NSW is collecting this information mentioned, those being:
    • to provide information about care, treatment and access to health and hospital services to persons who have tested positive to COVID-19
    • to provide information to NSW Health to support the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including analysis of information and planning for, and the provision of, health and hospital services to the people of New South Wales.
  • to provide that a close contact or a household contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 is not required to self-isolate if the close contact or household contact has, because the contact was diagnosed with COVID-19, completed a period of self-isolation no more than 28 days ago, and
  • to make consequential amendments, including an amendment to the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order (No 2) 2021 to provide that information and evidence provided to Service NSW under the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 4) 2021 must be true and accurate.

Positive cases

A person is diagnosed with COVID-19 if they have been notified by NSW Health or a pathology laboratory. A person who has tested positive to COVID-19 as a result of a rapid antigen test is now also a confirmed case. Refer to Getting tested for COVID-19 for more information.  

Positive cases must self-isolate until they are medically cleared, which means when:

  • the diagnosed person has self-isolated for 7 days from the day the person undertook the test that resulted in the person becoming a diagnosed person, or
  • the person is notified, by or on behalf of NSW Health or by a medical practitioner, that the person may stop self-isolating.

A positive case is required to notify their employers, education providers and people that they reside with that they have tested positive. A person who has tested positive to COVID-19 as a result of a rapid antigen test must also notify Service NSW.

Close contacts

All close contacts who have been notified by an authorised contact tracer (including from the Department of Education) are required to self-isolate for a maximum period of 7 days.

A household contact is a person who resides with the positive case and who has been notified by the positive case that the case has COVID. Household contacts are required to self-isolate for 7 days since they last had contact with the positive case.

Privacy

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.

Exemptions

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).

An exemption is in place for certain staff of NSW Health, public health organisations and licensed private health facilities whose absence from the workplace has been identified by their employer as a critical risk to safe service delivery to patients and who has been identified by the employer as being unable to work from home. The exemption permits the worker to leave self-isolation subject to certain conditions, including wearing a mask, travelling directly to and from work and complying with any risk mitigation strategies put in place by the employer. If the worker has any symptoms of COVID-19, they must immediately seek a PCR test and not attend work until they have a negative result.

An exemption is in place to allow students or staff members of a childcare who are identified as close contacts to attend childcare 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 provided by the childcare centre for the remainder of the self isolation period).

An exemption is in place to allow certain critical workers who are identified as close contacts to attend work only, subject to the conditions outlined in the exemption (including employer approval to work and daily rapid antigen testing for a period of 7 days after they last had contact with the COVID-19 positive person).

An exemption has been made to allow certain critical workers who are identified as close contacts to attend work only, subject to the conditions outlined in the exemption (including the worker being approved and complying with risk mitigation strategies put in place by their employer). This applies to certain critical workers outlined in the exemption whose absence from the workplace would pose a high risk of disruption to the service and who cannot work from home.

An exemption has been made which applies to certain critical worker (eg public administration and safety; health care and social assistance; agriculture; manufacturing; transport, postal and warehousing; funerals; electricity, gas, water and waste services; information, medica and telecommunications) whose absence from the workplace would pose a high risk of disruption to the service and who cannot work from home. The exemption is subject to certain conditions, including the worker being approved by the employer and RAT testing. If the worker develops any symptoms of COVID-19, they must not work until they get a negative PCR test. 

An exemption has been made which requires employers  to notify SafeWork NSW regarding employees who have:

  • contracted COVID-19 at the workplace/business premises; or
  • attended the workplace while infected. 

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 ministerial directions made under a s7 public health order:
    • 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
  • The Public Health Amendment (Rapid Antigen Tests) Regulation 2022 commenced 19 January 2022 applying an on-the-spot fine of $1,000 for failure to notify a positive result to a rapid antigen test
    • All other offences under the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 4) 2021 are subject to a $5,000 on-the-spot fine for an individual
  • $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: Friday 14 January 2022
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW