Factsheet – Retail

Current restrictions in force are part of Step 3.2 of Canberra’s Recovery Plan are outlined in the page below.

Changes to restrictions are scheduled to come into effect at 9am Wednesday 2 December 2020. To find out more check the Changes to Restrictions page.

Capacity of venue

This information covers all retail outlets and markets.

The Restricted Gatherings Direction does not apply to a food market, supermarket, grocery store or shopping centre that is necessary for the normal business of those premises.

Retail stores are also excluded from the Direction, other than those businesses that are specifically mentioned (e.g. hairdressers, personal services and tattoo studios).  The Direction provides a list of those businesses which are impacted.

Markets, other than food markets or supermarkets, are subject to the following gathering restrictions:

  • 25 people across the entire venue OR
  • If a venue wants to have more than 25 people, it can have:
    • one person per four square metres of usable space in each indoor space (excluding staff)
    • one person per two square metres of usable space in each outdoor space (excluding staff)
    • maximum of 500 people for each space.

Notes on options above

  • Do not exceed the capacity limit that applies under standard liquor or fire occupancy loading and regulatory conditions of the venue.
  • Do not temporarily divide any usable indoor space or usable outdoor space for the purposes of calculating usable space.
  • Usable space is defined as the space people can freely move around in; it does not include:
    • restrooms, changerooms and similar areas
    • areas occupied by fixtures, fittings, and displays
    • stages and similar areas
    • staff-only areas and areas that are closed off or not being used.
  • An indoor space means an area, room or premises that is, or are, substantially enclosed by a roof and have floor to ceiling walls of solid construction.


  • Please see the COVID Safe Event Protocol.
    • Event organisers for events for between 201 and 500 people are required to notify ACT Health and submit their COVID Safe plan (via the online form).
    • Events over 500 people require an exemption in accordance with the COVID Safe Event Protocol.
We recommend that businesses
  • Have a COVID Safety Plan
  • Collect contact details
  • Put up signs
    • Display a sign at the entrance saying how many customers can be on the premises.
    • Place signs at the entry to each usable space saying how many customers can be in that space.
    • Display messaging for customers to stay home if unwell.
    • Find the signage that best suits your venue/event at our Business resources page.
  • Manage the crowd
    • Manage the flow of people to promote physical distancing, particularly where people enter and leave the business and around the sales registers.
    • Encourage people or groups who don’t know each other to keep 1.5 metres apart.
  • Keep COVID safe
    • Follow your COVID Safety Plan if you have one.
    • Clean high-touch areas and objects frequently - see the WorkSafe cleaning checklist for more information.
    • Encourage physical distancing of 1.5 metres between people and groups that don’t know each other.
    • Ask staff to stay home if they are unwell.
What the public need to do
  • Take personal responsibility for your own safety.
  • Keep 1.5 metres away from people or groups you don’t know.
  • Maintain personal hygiene, including regular hand washing or sanitising.
  • Stay home if you’re unwell and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Consider providing your name and contact number for contact tracing purposes if requested.
  • Download the Check In CBR app so it’s easy to sign into participating Canberra venues when you visit.
Follow Public Health Directions
  • The Public Health Directions legislate how businesses can operate during the Public Health Emergency. Please keep up to date with the latest Public Health Directions because you may be fined if you don’t comply with them.
Other advice and tools
Recovery support

The ACT Government is continuing to support the ACT community as we begin to cautiously re-open 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.

Businesses in this sector may be eligible to receive:

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.

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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: November 13 2020