Cafés, restaurants, food courts and other licensed venues

Information for businesses

Restrictions

Current restrictions in force as part of Step 3.1 of Canberra’s Recovery Plan are outlined in the page below.

A minor change to capacity numbers for smaller sized venues, facilities and businesses came into effect at 9am Friday 18 September.

Hints on how to prepare your business, venue or facility for this change are available in our How to manage patron numbers under 25 person rule fact sheet.

What you need to do

  • Venues, including food courts, need to complete a COVID Safety Plan.
  • All venues, facilities and businesses can have a maximum of 25 people (excluding staff) across the entire venue. Businesses must not exceed the capacity limit that applies under standard liquor or fire occupancy loading and regulatory conditions of the venue. Hints on how to prepare your venue are available in our How to manage patron numbers under 25 person rule fact sheet.
  • If venues want to have more than 25 people they should use the one person per 4 square metres of useable space rule up to 100 people per each indoor and outdoor space.
  • Staff are excluded from both the patron limit and the 4 square metre rule.
  • Record first name and phone number of all attendees. Consider using the Check In CBR App.
  • Alcohol can be sold without a meal, but it can only be consumed by seated patrons to avoid crowds forming.
  • Clearly display occupancy allowance at the entrance to venues/spaces.
  • Usable space is defined in the Public Health Direction as the space that people can freely move around in, but not including the following areas:
    • stages and similar areas,
    • restrooms, changerooms and similar areas,
    • areas occupied by fixtures, fittings, and displays, and
    • staff only areas and areas that are closed off or not being used.
  • If you would like to hold an event for more than 100 people, please see our new event protocol.

All businesses must maintain

Further advice

  • Public Health Directions are in place that legislate how businesses can operate. It is important you are up to date with the latest Public Health Directions. If you don’t comply with a Public Health Direction, you may be fined.
  • Venues, including food courts, are required to ask for a first name and contact number of all dining in patrons. If details are provided, they must be recorded with a date and time of attendance and stored for 28 days. Consider using the free Check In CBR app. For more information, download the factsheet about collecting and storing customer information.
  • Where possible, tables must be spaced in a way that ensures patrons at different tables remain 1.5 metres apart.
  • Tenants in food courts should have a separate order and collection counter where possible and use floor markings to show where people can queue.
  • Tables in food courts should be set for a maximum of six patrons only at any given time.
  • No self-serve buffets or communal snacks/condiments.
  • Each indoor and outdoor space should have its own waitstaff if possible.
  • If possible, ensure there are separate restroom facilities for each dining area.
  • Manage bookings so patrons are not staying at venue for more than two hours.
  • Patron groups should not mingle with other groups.
  • Live music is permitted, but performers should try to stand at least 2 metres away from other band members and audience members.
  • Dancing is not permitted to ensure physical distancing.
  • Venues must ensure patrons queuing to enter their premise maintain physical distancing.
  • Increased cleaning of high-touch areas, restrooms and gaming machines.
  • Keno, TAB facilities and poker machines can open within licensed venues.
  • The spacing between active gaming machines should allow patrons to be able to maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres.  This may mean that venues only turn on every second machine to allow 1.5 metres between patrons to be observed.  Alternatively, venues may wish to physically move gaming machines to be distanced 1.5 metres apart. The erection of screening between gaming machines (such as Perspex screens) by venues as a replacement of spacing requirements is not permitted. If venues are considering moving gaming machines from their existing gaming area, they should contact Access Canberra first to ensure that this is undertaken in accordance with gaming legislation.
  • See the Keeping safe at work section for more information on how to keep customers and workers safe.
  • Four square metres per person - download the hospitality factsheet for more information.
  • Download the Factsheet for gatherings in indoor and outdoor dining spaces
  • Download the Case study - restaurant venue
  • Download the Case study – licensed clubs
  • Download the Case study – cafes
  • Visit the Frequently Asked Questions for Cafés, Restaurants and Licensed Venues page for more information
  • Download the Access Canberra advice about Stage 3.1 restrictions.
  • Download the Access Canberra advice about Minor Changes to the Public Health Direction - 2 September 2020.
  • Download the Access Canberra advice about the change in capacity for smaller venues.
  • Watch video case studies to see how other businesses are operating under COVID restrictions.
Financial Support

The ACT Government is continuing to support the ACT community as we begin to cautiously reopen our society and economy and learn to interact as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Visit the Supporting local businesses page for the full detail of the support available for businesses and eligibility requirements.

The government is offering support to cafés, restaurants and other licensed venues, including:

Find out what else the ACT Government is doing to support Canberrans on the Economic Survival Package page.

Find out more about the Commonwealth Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus on the Treasury website.

Keeping safe at work

No matter what industry you are in, there are a number of ways you can keep your customers, staff and community safe while trading, including:

  • encouraging cashless transactions or tap payments
  • using tape to mark 1.5 metre distances on the floor for customers
  • limiting the number of people allowed in the premises at the one time
  • telling staff to stay home if they are feeling unwell.

The ACT currently has Public Health Directions in place that legislate how businesses can operate. It is important you are up to date with the latest Public Health Directions.

If you don’t comply with a Public Health Direction, you may be fined.

Download these posters to help guide customers and staff:

Find out more about applying the one person per 4 square metres rule by downloading the factsheet.

You can download the WorkSafe cleaning checklist to assist with implementing health and hygiene measures at your workplace.

Safe Work Australia has a guide to assist employers to meet their work health and safety duties in relation to COVID-19.

Other resources are available to download as part of the Signs and factsheets page.

More information about infection control for businesses can be found at the infection control training and resources page.

Download the ACT Health advice for employers and employees about managing COVID-19 health risks as restriction measures lift.

Check out the case studies to see how local businesses are ensuring they operate safely.

Support at work

Where it works for your business and employees, working from home is still encouraged at this time.

If your staff cannot work from home, physical distancing and good hygiene practices should be maintained.

Visit the Protect yourself page and the Signs and factsheets page for more information.

Find out more about how you can support your employees by downloading the How to support your employees during COVID-19 fact sheet.

To find out more about your obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, visit the Work, Health and Safety and COVID-19 page on the Access Canberra website.

For further industry specific advice, visit the Safework Australia website.

A new, free, and dedicated Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is now available to support all Australians to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health and wellbeing. Visit the Mental health and wellbeing page for more information.

Information for employees

Restrictions

Current restrictions in force as part of Step 3.1 of Canberra’s Recovery Plan are outlined in the page below.

A minor change to capacity numbers for smaller sized venues, facilities and businesses came into effect at 9am Friday 18 September.

Hints on how to prepare your business, venue or facility for this change are available in our How to manage patron numbers under 25 person rule fact sheet.

What you need to do

  • Venues, including food courts, need to complete a COVID Safety Plan.
  • All venues, facilities and businesses can have a maximum of 25 people (excluding staff) across the entire venue. Businesses must not exceed the capacity limit that applies under standard liquor or fire occupancy loading and regulatory conditions of the venue. Hints on how to prepare your venue are available in our How to manage patron numbers under 25 person rule fact sheet.
  • If venues want to have more than 25 people they should use the one person per 4 square metres of useable space rule up to 100 people per each indoor and outdoor space.
  • Staff are excluded from both the patron limit and the 4 square metre rule.
  • Record first name and phone number of all attendees. Consider using the Check In CBR App.
  • Alcohol can be sold without a meal, but it can only be consumed by seated patrons to avoid crowds forming.
  • Clearly display occupancy allowance at the entrance to venues/spaces.
  • Usable space is defined in the Public Health Direction as the space that people can freely move around in, but not including the following areas:
    • stages and similar areas,
    • restrooms, changerooms and similar areas,
    • areas occupied by fixtures, fittings, and displays, and
    • staff only areas and areas that are closed off or not being used.
  • If you would like to hold an event for more than 100 people, please see our new event protocol.

All businesses must maintain

Further advice

  • Public Health Directions are in place that legislate how businesses can operate. It is important you are up to date with the latest Public Health Directions. If you don’t comply with a Public Health Direction, you may be fined.
  • Venues, including food courts, are required to ask for a first name and contact number of all dining in patrons. If details are provided, they must be recorded with a date and time of attendance and stored for 28 days. Consider using the free Check In CBR app. For more information, download the factsheet about collecting and storing customer information.
  • Where possible, tables must be spaced in a way that ensures patrons at different tables remain 1.5 metres apart.
  • Tenants in food courts should have a separate order and collection counter where possible and use floor markings to show where people can queue.
  • Tables in food courts should be set for a maximum of six patrons only at any given time.
  • No self-serve buffets or communal snacks/condiments.
  • Each indoor and outdoor space should have its own waitstaff if possible.
  • If possible, ensure there are separate restroom facilities for each dining area.
  • Manage bookings so patrons are not staying at venue for more than two hours.
  • Patron groups should not mingle with other groups.
  • Live music is permitted, but performers should try to stand at least 2 metres away from other band members and audience members.
  • Dancing is not permitted to ensure physical distancing.
  • Venues must ensure patrons queuing to enter their premise maintain physical distancing.
  • Increased cleaning of high-touch areas, restrooms and gaming machines.
  • Keno, TAB facilities and poker machines can open within licensed venues.
  • The spacing between active gaming machines should allow patrons to be able to maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres.  This may mean that venues only turn on every second machine to allow 1.5 metres between patrons to be observed.  Alternatively, venues may wish to physically move gaming machines to be distanced 1.5 metres apart. The erection of screening between gaming machines (such as Perspex screens) by venues as a replacement of spacing requirements is not permitted. If venues are considering moving gaming machines from their existing gaming area, they should contact Access Canberra first to ensure that this is undertaken in accordance with gaming legislation.
  • See the Keeping safe at work section for more information on how to keep customers and workers safe.
  • Four square metres per person - download the hospitality factsheet for more information.
  • Download the Factsheet for gatherings in indoor and outdoor dining spaces
  • Download the Case study - restaurant venue
  • Download the Case study – licensed clubs
  • Download the Case study – cafes
  • Visit the Frequently Asked Questions for Cafés, Restaurants and Licensed Venues page for more information
  • Download the Access Canberra advice about Stage 3.1 restrictions.
  • Download the Access Canberra advice about Minor Changes to the Public Health Direction - 2 September 2020.
  • Download the Access Canberra advice about the change in capacity for smaller venues.
  • Watch video case studies to see how other businesses are operating under COVID restrictions
Financial support

The ACT Government is providing practical support, such as rebates and the freezing of some government fees to reduce pressure on household budgets.

Visit the Supporting families and household page for more information on these measures.

For those who have lost their job, or who have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, the Jobs for Canberrans Fund provides work opportunities for people in casual or semi-skilled workforce.

You can also read about everything else the ACT Government is doing to support the ACT Economy on the Economic Survival package page.

Casual and part-time workers have been among the hardest hit with widespread unemployment across a range of sectors.

A Hardship Fund for workers experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic will be created to support Canberrans who are unable to temporarily work under a COVID-19 direction or health guidance.

They will be eligible payments of up to $1,500 depending on an individual’s circumstances (such as available sick leave through their employer). More information including details on how to access the payment will be available soon.

Keeping safe at work

Physical distancing and good hygiene practices should be maintained.

Visit the Protect yourself page and the Signs and factsheets page for more information.

Find out more about applying the one person per 4 square metres rule by downloading the factsheet.

You can download the WorkSafe cleaning checklist to assist with implementing health and hygiene measures at your workplace.

Other resources are available to download as part of the Signs and factsheets page.

More information about infection control for businesses can be found at the infection control training and resources page.

To help manage your COVID-19 health risk, you may want to develop your own COVID-19 action plan. A COVID-19 action plan template can be found at the Department of Health website.

Download the ACT Health advice for employers and employees about managing COVID-19 health risks as restriction measures lift.

Check out the case studies to see how local businesses are ensuring they operate safely.

Support at work

Where it works for you and your employer, working from home is still encouraged at this time.

If you are unable to work from home, physical distancing and good hygiene practices should be maintained.

Visit the Protect yourself page and the Signs and factsheets page for more information.

To find out more about what you can do to keep yourself safe at work, and your employer’s obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, visit the Work, Health and Safety and COVID-19 page on the Access Canberra website.

For further industry specific advice, visit Safework Australia.

It is important to remember that if you cannot work from home and you are sick, you must not attend your workplace.

You must stay at home and away from others. You should get tested for COVID-19 if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. Read more about the symptoms on the Symptoms and getting tested page.

A new, free, and dedicated Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is now available to support all Australians to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health and wellbeing. Visit the Mental health and wellbeing page for more information.

acknowledgement icon
Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: September 22 2020