It is up to each state and territory to decide when and how far they will relax restrictions.
Here we try to answer some of the most common questions people have about the laws, based on the information current as of 25 May.
These answers should not be treated as legal advice. This article will be updated as new restrictions are announced, implemented, or repealed.
How many people can I have over?
New South Wales – Five people from different households can visit now. There is no limit to the number of guests you can have over per day, as long as there are no more than five at a time. Guests can stay overnight.
Victoria – You can have up to 20 people at your home at any one time, including members of your household, children and babies. The Victorian Department of Health and Safety says you can have more than one set of visitors over per day, but that you should “be considered and use common sense”. You are allowed to have people stay over at your home.
Queensland – From noon, 12 June, up to 20 adults from different households are allowed to visit another home. The state government has tentatively announced that, from 10 July, up to 100 people may be allowed to gather in your home (for those of you who have homes big enough to accommodate 100 guests).
Tasmania – You can have up to five visitors over. These limits will be reviewed on 15 June.
Western Australia – Up to 20 people are allowed to gather publicly and privately.
South Australia – Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed indoors, as long as the four square metres per person rule is met. From 5 June, this number will increase to 20 people.
Northern Territory – There is no limit on how many people can gather indoors or outdoors, but you must keep 1.5 metres between you and anyone with whom you don’t live.
ACT – Up to 10 people are allowed to gather at home in the ACT, including children and those living in the hosting household. It’s OK if two households coming together results in a gathering larger than 10. Indoor spaces must be large enough to allow on person for every four square metres.
How many people can gather outside?
New South Wales – Public gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed.
Victoria – From 1 June, up to 20 people can gather outside for recreational purposes, or to engage in activities like hiking, jogging and other non-contact sport.
Queensland – From 1 June, up to 20 people can gather outside. The plan is that from 10 July, up to 100 people will be allowed to gather inside and outside.
Tasmania – Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed outside. This number will increase to 20 people from 15 June. More than 50 people might be allowed to come together from 13 July.
Western Australia – Up to 20 people are allowed to gather outside at the moment. While exact figures have not been given, the WA government has said to expect further increases to the number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings under phase three of the state’s plan to ease restrictions in the coming weeks.
South Australia – Up to 10 people can gather outside for non-work reasons, a limit that will increase to 20 people on 5 June. You must continue to practice physical distancing with anyone you don’t live with.
Northern Territory – There are no limits on gathering in the NT, but you should maintain physical distancing.
ACT – A maximum of 10 people from different households (including children) can gather together outdoors. A gathering of more than 10 people is allowed if they are all from only one or two households.
Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe or pub?
New South Wales – Yes, from 1 June, up to 50 people can dine-in at cafes, bistros, and restaurants, as long as there are four square metres of space allowed per person. Pubs, registered clubs and casinos, and cellar doors that serve food are also allowed to open their dining areas. However, alcohol can only be purchased with food, or to takeaway. A maximum of 10 people are allowed per booking. However, gatherings for or immediately after a wedding are allowed up to 20 guests. Gatherings immediately after a funeral or memorial service are allowed to book for up to 50 guests as long as the venue can accommodate that many people. All diners must provide their name and contact details, including a phone number or email address, to allow for contact tracing.
Victoria – From 1 June, cafes, restaurants and other hospitality businesses like RSLs and bowling clubs are able to seat up to 20 patrons in an enclosed space (find out what constitutes an enclosed space here). There can only be one customer per four square metres and tables must be spaced at least 1.5 metres apart. Venues are also required to keep the first name and phone number of every customer to help with contact tracing, if necessary. Alcohol will only be available to purchase with meals. From 21 June, the number of diners allowed will increase to 50 . Food courts will still only be able to offer delivery and takeaway.
Queensland – Yes, restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered clubs, RSL clubs and hotels (with a Covid-Safe Checklist) can seat up to 20 patrons at any one time, as long as they can allow four square metres per person. Places in the outback are allowed up to 50 locals (who must show proof of residence) at any one time. Casinos are allowed to seat diners, but bars and gaming will have to stay closed. From 10 July, up to 100 people will be allowed to dine in. Food courts will be allowed to reopen.
Tasmania – Yes, restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, hotels and RSLs can seat up to 10 diners per dining room, as long as there is one person per four square metres. You can find out what constitutes a dining room here. Each dining area must also have separate waitstaff. Any alcohol must be purchased with a meal. From 15 June, the number of diners permitted will increase to 20. Over 50 diners might be allowed from 13 July.
Western Australia – Yes, cafes and restaurants (including in pubs, bars, hotels, casinos, clubs) can seat up to 20 diners. This number is expected to increase in the coming weeks.
South Australia – Yes. From 1 June, up to 80 diners are allowed at restaurants, cafes, wineries, pubs, breweries, and bars as long as they can contain them in groups of 20 in separate rooms or areas. There must be four square metres per person. Pubs, wineries and cellar doors are allowed to serve alcohol without food, but only to seated patrons.
Northern Territory – Yes. Activities that take less than two hours are allowed, including going to a cafe, sports club, restaurant, or RSL. Bars are allowed to open, but alcohol can only be served with a meal and gaming activities are not permitted. From 5 June, all business will be allowed to reopen as long as they have a Covid-19 plan. The two-hour limit will be lifted, allowing night clubs to reopen. You will be able to purchase alcohol from a bar. Licensed gaming activities, including TAB, will start again.
ACT – Yes, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues offering seated dining can host up to 20 patrons per enclosed space (including children) at a time, while maintaining the four square metre rule. This means if a venue has multiple enclosed spaces, they can have multiple groups of up to 20 patrons. You can only purchase alcohol if you are having a meal.
How far can I travel on holiday within my state?
New South Wales – From 1 June, there are no limitations on travelling within the state, including for a holiday. A number of caravan parks and camping grounds have also reopened. Up to 10 people may stay in a holiday home or rental. More than 10 people can stay together if they are all members of the same household.
Victoria – There are no restrictions on how far you can travel within the state. From 1 June, you are allowed to stay in a holiday home or private residence, and tourist accommodation, including caravan parks and camping grounds, where there are no shared communal facilities.
Queensland – From 1 June, you will be allowed to travel anywhere in Queensland for recreational purposes. Camping and holiday accommodation, including caravan parks, are allowed to open.
Tasmania – There is no limit on where you can go within the state.
Western Australia – Residents are allowed to leave their homes for recreational activities including picnics, fishing, boating or camping. Recreational travel to most nearby regions is now allowed, except to the Kimberley region, biosecurity zones in parts of the Shire of East Pilbara and the Shire of Ngaanyatarraku, and remote Aboriginal communities.
South Australia – There are no restrictions on travel within South Australia. Some Aboriginal communities across the state have chosen to close access to their townships and lands to non-essential outside visitors. Non-essential visitors to these communities have to quarantine for 14 days and be granted permission.
Northern Territory – Some remote communities are closed to all non-essential travel until 5 June, without exemption. See here for the list of remote communities.
ACT – There is no limit on where you can travel.
Can I holiday in another state?
Queensland – No, entry into Queensland is prohibited unless you have applied for and been granted an exemption. But the state government has said that from 10 July, interstate travel may be allowed “subject to further planning and review”.
New South Wales – Residents are allowed to leave NSW, and visitors don’t need to quarantine. From 1 June, anyone in Australia is allowed to travel to regional NSW for a holiday.
Victoria – There are no restrictions on leaving or entering Victoria. From 1 June, overnight stays at tourist accommodation, caravan parks and camping grounds without communal facilities, is permitted.
Tasmania – All non-essential travellers to Tasmania, including returning residents, must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Non-Tasmanian residents must carry out their quarantine in government-provided accommodation.
Western Australia – You cannot enter Western Australia unless you are granted an exemption on application.
South Australia – Anyone can enter South Australia but must quarantine for 14 days after arriving.
Northern Territory – Unless you have been granted an exemption, anyone entering the Northern Territory must complete 14 days of mandatory quarantine. You are required to pay $2,500 per person, or $5,000 for a family of two or more, to cover the cost of government quarantining.
ACT – There are no border restrictions.
How many people can attend a wedding or funeral?
New South Wales –As of 1 June, 20 people are allowed at weddings in NSW. Those attending will have to provide their name and contact details for contact tracing, if necessary. Funerals are allowed 50 guests as long as the four square metre physical distancing rule can be observed.
Victoria – From 1 June, how many guests you can have depends on whether you are hosting the ceremony at home or elsewhere. If it is held at a venue, the celebrant, couple being married, and 20 people will be allowed to attend a wedding. Up to 50 people will be allowed to attend a funeral, in addition to the officiant and funeral staff, as long as there are four square metres allowed per person. But if a wedding or funeral is held in a home, only 20 people in total will be allowed to attend (including the celebrant and couple/ officiant and staff).
Queensland – Since 1 June, up to 20 people can attend a wedding. Funerals can have up to 50 guests. A maximum of 100 people should be allowed to attend weddings and funerals from 10 July.
Tasmania – Up to 10 guests, excluding the couple getting married and those facilitating, can attend a wedding. Indoor funerals can have up to 20 attendees, while outdoor funerals can have 30, excluding events staff or volunteers. From 15 June, the number of wedding guests allowed will increase to 20, while up to 50 guests will be allowed at funerals. These limits could relax further to 50-100 guests from 13 July, subject to review.
Western Australia – Weddings and funerals can have up to 20 people if held inside, or 30 if outside.
South Australia – Since 1 June, weddings can have up to 20 attendees, not including the celebrant, venue staff or any other person required to facilitate the wedding. Up to 50 people can attend a funeral.. This excludes those officiating the funeral or any staff required to carry out the funeral. If the ceremony involves food or drinks, no shared utensils can be used. Social distancing must be observed.
Northern Territory – There is no limit on the number of attendees.
ACT – Up to 10 guests can attend a wedding, not including the person/s conducting the ceremony. Indoor funerals can have up to 20 attendees, and outdoor funerals can have up to 30, not including the person/s conducting the service.
Can I go to church?
New South Wales – Yes, as of 1 June 50 people can attend religious gatherings and places of worship, as long as the four square metres physical distancing rule can be observed. The states chief health officer has urged congregations to reconsider activities that might spread the virus-like group singing and passing round of collection baskets.
Victoria – Yes, from 1 June, places of worship can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies of up to 20 people, plus the minimum number of people reasonably required for the service, is allowed in a single, undivided indoor space. There must be four square metres per person. At least one hour should be allowed between services or ceremonies to reduce the risk of crowds.
Queensland – Yes, as of 1 June up to 20 people can visit a place of worship or attend a religious ceremony. This number will increase to 100 people from 10 July.
Tasmania – Yes, but only 10 people can attend a religious ceremony or private worship. This number will increase to 20 on 15 June, and possibly 50-100 on 13 July.
Western Australia – Yes, up to 20 patrons can attend places of worship at a time.
South Australia – Yes, from 1 June, 20 people can attend at a time for private worship or religious gatherings. Social distancing must be observed.
Northern Territory – Yes, but you can only be there for less than two hours. There is no limit on how many people can attend a place of worship at the same time.
ACT – Up to 10 people can attend religious ceremonies and places of worship, not counting those conducting the ceremony.
Are schools back in session?
New South Wales – Yes, all students went back to school full-time on Monday 25 May.
Victoria – Partly. On 26 May, students from prep, year one, year two, years 11 and 12 returned to the classroom. Remaining year levels will return to school on 9 June.
Queensland – Yes, all students are back at school as of Monday 25 May.
Tasmania – Partly. Students in kindergarten-year 6, as well as those in Year 11 and 12, have returned. Students in years 7 to 10 will return on 9 June.
Western Australia – Yes, all students returned on 18 May.
South Australia – Yes, they reopened for term 2.
Northern Territory – Yes, since 20 April all NT students are expected to physically attend school.
ACT – Partly. Students in preschool, kindergarten, years 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11 and 12 have returned. From 2 June, students in Years 5, 6, 8, and 9 will also return to face-to-face learning.
Can I shop for clothes and other ‘non-essential’ items?
New South Wales – Yes.
Victoria – You are only supposed to shop for necessary goods and services. Most businesses are also required to keep a record of names and contact details of customers in case contact tracing is later required.
Queensland – Yes, retail shopping for non-essential items is back on.
Tasmania – Yes, you are allowed to leave your home to use businesses or services that are allowed to operate, which includes retail stores.
Western Australia – Yes, but you are not allowed to travel to some remote communities and biosecurity zones, as listed here.
South Australia – Yes.
Northern Territory – Yes.
ACT – Yes, but you must follow physical distancing measures at all time and going shopping in large groups is prohibited.
Are salons, spas and other beauty services open?
New South Wales – Hairdressers and barbers can open, but must allow four square metres per person within the premises and should minimise personal contact with the customer. As of 1 June, nail, waxing, tanning, and beauty salons can open to 10 customers at a time. There can only one person per four square metres (including staff) on the premises, and providers must have a Covid-19 Safety Plan. Tattoo parlours and massage parlours cannot provide services, but can sell products.
Victoria – Hairdressers and barbers are allowed to be open, but they are required to take your name and contact details should contact tracing become necessary. As of 1 June, beauty therapy, spray-tanning, waxing and nail salons, spas and massage parlours and tattoo and piercing services are able to reopen. Up to 20 customers are allowed on one premise, subject to the four square metre rule. Providers will still need to log customers’ contact details.
Queensland – Yes, beauty therapy and nail salons (with a Covid-safe checklist) have been allowed to reopen to up t0 20 people at a time. From 1 June, tanning salons, tattoo parlours and spas (with a checklist) are allowed to reopen. From 10 July, these businesses, along with non-therapeutic massage parlours, will be allowed up to 100 people on site.
Tasmania – Yes, hairdressers and barbers can open. But day spas, wellness centres, saunas and bath houses, and massage parlours are not allowed to operate. Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, manicure and other nail treatments, ear and body piercing, tattoos, body modification and other similar services are unavailable. From 15 June, beauty services and day spas can reopen for up to 20 people at a time. Saunas and bathhouses will be allowed to open from 13 July.
Western Australia – Yes, hairdressers are allowed to serve up to 20 people, with one every four square metres. However, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas and massage parlours are prohibited. Beauty therapy parlours can partially open to sell products, but not services.
South Australia – Yes, hairdressers and barbers can open, as long as the total number of people on site doesn’t exceed one person per four square metres. As of 1 June, beauty salons, nail and tattoo parlours, and non-therapeutic massage providers are also allowed to open.
Northern Territory – Yes, hairdressers, and nail, massage and tanning salons can open. Remaining beauty services, along with tattoo and piercing parlours, will be allowed to open from noon, 5 June.
ACT – Yes, hairdressers and barbers are allowed. As of 30 May, beauty therapy businesses, including nail salons, tanning and waxing services, day spas, including massage parlous and tattoo businesses are allowed to reopen. They cannot exceed one person per four square metres, including staff, and must keep a record of customers to enable contact tracing, if needed.
What about cinemas, entertainment venues, museums and libraries?
New South Wales – As of 1 June, museums, galleries and libraries are allowed to reopen to guests, as long as four square metres is allowed per person and they have a Covid-19 safety plan. Groups and tours aren’t allowed to run, and all library returns will go through a 24-hour quarantine. National Trust and Historic Houses Trust properties can open, as long as they follow the four square metres rule (including staff). Indoor cinemas and theatres must stay closed.
Victoria – From 1 June, galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, amusement parks, zoos and arcades are allowed to open up to 20 customers per separate space, with four square metres per person. Drive-in cinemas are also allowed to recommence food and drink operations. From 22 June, the number of people allowed in these venues will increase to 50 per separate space. Up to 50 customers will be allowed to watch a film per cinema at movie theatres. Customers not from the same household will have to sit at least 1.5 metres apart, and the four square metre rule will apply. Concert venues and theatres will be able to reopen to 50 viewers per separate space.
Queensland – As of 1 June, libraries, along with museums, art galleries, and historic sites, can have 20 visitors at a time. Indoor cinemas, concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums, nightclubs, outdoor amusement parks, zoos and arcades are set to reopen on 10 July. All venues will be allowed to host up to 100 people at a time on site.
Tasmania – From 15 June, up to 20 people at a time will be allowed at cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres, performance venues and historic sites. This will increase to 50-100 people on 13 July.
Western Australia – Community facilities and libraries have been allowed to reopen. But public playgrounds, skate parks, zoos, cinemas, galleries, museums and concert venue can’t operate yet.
South Australia – From 1 June, libraries, community and youth centres, cinemas, theatres, galleries and museums can have up to 20 people at a time, as long as there is one person per four square metres. Up to 20 people can swim in a public swimming pool.
Northern Territory – Public libraries, art galleries, museums, and zoos can open. From noon onwards, 5 June, you will be allowed to attend cinemas and theatres, music halls, nightclubs, amusement parks, community centres, stadiums, sporting facility and similar entertainment venues.
ACT – Since 30 May, galleries, museums, national institutions and outdoor attractions, like the zoo, are allowed to reopen to groups of up to 20 people per designated session. Cinemas and other entertainment venues, along with night clubs and bars, have to remain closed
Can I go to the gym? What else can I do for exercise?
New South Wales – Indoor swimming pools and indoor recreational facilities like gyms, health studios and bowling alleys have to remain closed. But up to 10 people can gather in public, meaning that outdoor boot camps and non-contact sports are allowed. You can use outdoor gym equipment in public places, with caution, and engage in recreational activities like fishing, hunting and boating. Up to 10 people can swim in outdoor pools at a time. You can contact your local council to see if parks and beaches are open in your area; most historic sites and some beaches in national parks have been closed.
Victoria – No: gyms, yoga studios, and fitness classes, and indoor personal training are prohibited. As of 1 June, up to 20 people can gather outside for activities like hiking, jogging , bike riding, canoeing, kayaking and other non-contact sports. Outdoor boot camps of up to 20 people plus the trainer are also allowed. Outdoor swimming pools can have 20 patrons per enclosed space and three swimmers per pool lane. Playgrounds, outdoor gums, and skateparks have also been open since 26 May. From 22 June, indoor sports facilities, like gyms, can open up to 20 clients at a time, per separate enclosed space, as long as the four square metre rule is followed. Only 10 people will be allowed per group per activity.
Queensland – Yes, as of 1 June, gyms, health clubs yoga studios and community sports clubs can reopen to 20 people at a time. Up to 20 people can gather outside, play non-contact sport, and participate in outdoor group training and bot camps. Parks, playgrounds, skateparks and pools are open to up to 20 people at a time. The state government plans to increase this number to 100 people from 10 July.
Tasmania – No: gyms, sporting venues, health clubs, fitness centres, wellness centres (including yoga and barre) and premises used for indoor social sporting-based activities are all prohibited. But up to 10 people at a time can use outside gyms, skate parks and play equipment in public playgrounds, or take part in boot camps and sports trainings. Indoor and outdoor pools are allowed to open for up to 10 people per pool. From 15 June, the number of people allowed for these activities will increase to 20 (excluding coaches or training staff). Indoor sport and recreation activities will start back for up to 20 attendees. Contact sports and activities will still be prohibited. The state government is considering whether to permit all full indoor and outdoor sporting from 13 July.
Western Australia – To an extent. Health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres can open for fitness classes or small group training with up to 20 participants, as long as there is at least four square metres per person allowed. But you can’t share equipment with other people in the same workout session meaning that you can use gym machines to workout. Up to 20 people can take part in non-contact sport, training, bootcamps, and play on tennis courts and golf courses. Swimming pools can have up to 20 patrons per pool.
South Australia – Yes, as of 1 June, gyms can open for up to 20 people per enclosed area. Up to 20 people can play outdoor, non-contact sport, take part in an outdoor bootcamp, and use gold courses, tennis courts and public gym equipment.Contact training for outdoor sports can begin again, with competition to commence from 27 June.
Northern Territory – Yes. Gyms, fitness studios, and indoor training activities like Cross Fit are allowed to operate. From midday, 5 June, you will be allowed to officiate, participate and support team sports, like football, basketball, soccer and netball.
ACT – Yes. Since 30 May, indoor gyms and fitness centres are allowed to reopen to 20 people in any enclosed space, as long as there is only one person per four square metres. Up to 20 people can take part in outdoor bootcamps and other non-contact training or sport.
Who decides if I am breaking the new laws?
Generally, enforcement will be left up to the discretion of police officers.
States have expressed different approaches, for example, the ACT says it will be issuing a warning in the first instance, while Victoria has adopted a more hardline attitude to those break social distancing rules.
NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller said he would personally review all physical-distancing fines issued in the state.
“If I think it’s unreasonable, it will be withdrawn immediately and we’ll make personal contact with the individual,” he said.
What are my options for challenging a fine?
Not all states have specified this, however, it appears these fines can be appealed using the same process as other fines issued by police.
Information on how to lodge an appeal should be available on your state or territory’s government website.
• Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.