Groups and gatherings

New measures to protect the community

Restriction changes will come into effect from 11:59pm, Friday 29 May 2020, read the FAQs for more information.

About the changes

  • From 11.59pm on Friday 8 May, COVID-19 restrictions have eased further to support families and our economy. These new public health directions acknowledge the impact that social isolation has on our wellbeing.
  • Key changes that will take effect across the ACT:
    • All indoor and outdoor gatherings can have a maximum of 10 people (including children).
    • This includes gatherings at a person’s home, which can be a maximum of 10 people (with exceptions where two households coming together results in a gathering of more than 10).
    • From 11.59pm Friday 15 May, restaurants and cafés and other hospitality venues are permitted to seat up to a maximum of 10 patrons at one time, while maintaining physical distancing of one person per 4 square metres and practicing good hand hygiene and frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection. This is the same for pubs and clubs offering a seated dining service.
    • Weddings can now have up to 10 people attend, excluding the person/s conducting the ceremony.
    • Indoor funerals can have up to 20 people attend, excluding the person/s conducting the service, OR outdoor funerals can have up to 30 people attend, excluding the person or persons conducting the service.
    • Religious ceremonies and places of worship can have up to 10 people attend, excluding the person/s conducting the service.
    • Outdoor bootcamps and other personal fitness training (non-contact) can be held with a maximum of 10 people, excluding the trainer. There is to be no sharing of equipment.
    • Real estate open houses and auctions can proceed with a maximum of 10 people, excluding staff.

For all of the above gatherings and activities, physical distancing must be maintained at one person per four square metres.

Indoor spaces must be large enough to allow for 1 person every 4 square metres (for example, only up to 5 people can gather in a 20 square metre room).

Canberrans are reminded that the easing of restrictions on gatherings is not a licence to bring together people from multiple households for a party. House parties with people from multiple households could undermine all that we have achieved.

Older Canberrans and those more susceptible to respiratory conditions should continue to exercise caution and limit their interaction with other people.

The following services are still able to attend people’s homes if needed:

  • medical care or support
  • law enforcement
  • emergency services
  • urgent or essential repairs.

Why are these measures important?

We have achieved a lot by coming together as a community and managed the first phase of the pandemic exceptionally well.

However, this pandemic is ongoing. Until there is a vaccine, there will always be a risk of outbreaks and increasing case numbers in the ACT.

The ACT Government is now in the position to begin easing some restrictions with low-risk changes that will support families and our economy.  The easing of restrictions will be a gradual process as we need to ensure any changes are sustainable in the long term, and with our most vulnerable community members in mind.

We need all Canberrans to continue playing their part to help prevent a new wave of cases and so we can get back to what we love and enjoying the beautiful city we live in.

Any future changes to restrictions will be carefully considered and with our most vulnerable community members in mind.

We have expanded our testing which will give us valuable information as we make decisions around easing restrictions further.

These measures are especially important for people who are more vulnerable to complications from the disease, such as the elderly. The at risk groups webpage has further information for these cohorts.

To implement these changes in the ACT, Public Health Emergency Directions are now in force, put in place under the Public Health Act 1997. To view the relevant instrument, visit Legislation ACT Gov.

At risk groups

Some people are at more risk of serious illness from COVID-19 than others and should take extra precautions to help stay safe.

People most at risk of complications from COVID-19 are:

  • people aged 70 years and over
  • people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions
  • people with compromised immune systems
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50 with one or more chronic medical conditions

The at risk groups webpage has further information for these cohorts.

Gatherings at home

To allow family and friends to come together, gatherings at a person’s home can now have a maximum of 10 people (including children, and those living in the household).

Two households that come together resulting in a gathering of more than 10 people is allowed. In this situation, all people present at the gathering must be from one of the two households. No additional people are permitted.

An indoor space must be large enough to allow for 1 person every 4 square metres (for example, only up to 5 people can gather in a 20 square metre room). You must maintain 1.5 metres of physical distance, practise good hand hygiene and not attend any house if you’re unwell.

The following services are still able to attend people’s homes if needed:

  • medical care or support
  • law enforcement
  • emergency services
  • urgent or essential repairs.

See the Your Family FAQs for more information on gathering at home.

Going outside your home

The 10-person rule for indoor gatherings does not cover settings such as:

  • health care settings (hospitals, GP clinics, etc.)
  • supermarkets and other shops
  • pharmacies
  • schools and childcare centres
  • essential workplaces
  • public transport

However, it is important to follow physical distancing measures at all times when you are out in public. This includes in shopping centres, on public transport, or while waiting for takeaway coffee or food. Going shopping in large groups is not permitted.

Dining Out

Restaurants, cafés and other hospitality venues are now permitted to seat up to a maximum of 10 patrons (including children) at one time, while maintaining physical distancing of one person per 4 square metres and practicing good hand hygiene and frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection. This is the same for pubs and clubs offering a seated dining service.

The 10-person maximum applies regardless of the size of the premise. Even if the premises can accommodate more than 10 under the 4 square meter per person rule it is not permitted at this stage.

The 10-person maximum applies per premises, which means businesses may not have 10 people dining inside and 10 dining outside.

Take away sales of alcohol are still permitted, subject to the venue’s licensing provisions.  Consumption of alcohol on premises can only be served to patrons who are dining-in.

Restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues are encouraged to only reopen if the model works for them. Choosing to remain take-away only for now will have no impact on their ability to consider reopening as the maximum seated occupancy increases in the coming months.

Outdoor gatherings

The limit on all outdoor gatherings in the ACT is now a maximum of 10 people (including children), unless all individuals present are from the same household.

Two households that come together resulting in a gathering more than 10 people is allowed. In this situation, all people present at the gathering must be from one of the two households. No additional people are permitted.

Physical distancing and good hygiene must be practised.

See the Your Family FAQs for more information on outdoor gatherings.

Parks, reserves and public spaces

From 11.59pm, Friday 15 May 2020, playgrounds and outdoor fitness areas, dog parks, skate parks and BBQ areas are open. Parks and nature parks (excluding Namadgi National park) are also open.

If you choose to use open public spaces, it is your responsibility to maintain physical distancing measures (1.5 meters between yourself and others).

You should not congregate in groups of more than 10.

You should use your judgement and leave a site if it is too crowded and the distancing requirements cannot be complied with.

Please do not enter or use shared spaces if you are unwell.

Namadgi National Park remains closed at this time due to safety reasons following the Orroral Valley bushfire.

For updates on reserve closures or to find a park or reserve near you, visit the ACT Environment website.

See the Your Family FAQs for more information on outdoor gatherings.

Information for businesses

For information on business restrictions, please visit the Support services page.

More information 

If you have more questions about the new restrictions for yourself or your business, you can contact the COVID-19 Helpline on (02) 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily.

You can report non-compliance with these restrictions on our Contact us page.

For more contact options, see our Contact us page.

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: May 27 2020