Stay at home requirement information

Who is required to Stay at Home in the ACT?

If another state or territory imposes lockdown or Stay at Home requirements on an area or region, the ACT will impose similar requirements for people travelling from the designated area or region.

Why do I need to Stay at Home if I’m well?

Some people who have COVID-19 may be infectious for a short period before they develop symptoms, and a small number of people with COVID-19 may not show any symptoms at all. This means that people with COVID-19 may be able to spread the disease to others, without knowing they are unwell.

Stay at Home is less strict than quarantine because the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is deemed to be not as high as for people who are identified as contacts of a confirmed case or from a COVID affected area. However, it is still an important measure to protect the community.

When can I leave?

The time that you will be required to Stay at Home will be specified in the Public Health Direction.

If you are already in the ACT under Stay-at-home requirements and are seeking to change your conditions for any reason, please complete this form.

What does it mean to be in Stay at Home?

Stay at Home means you should stay in your home or hotel room unless you need to leave for the following reasons:

  • to undertake essential work or study if you cannot work or study from home or remotely
  • to attend usual childcare arrangements, where parents or guardians need to undertake essential work or study
  • to shop for essentials like groceries, medicine and necessary supplies
  • to attend to medical or health care needs including compassionate requirements, and looking after the vulnerable
  • to get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are not isolation or quarantine and have a scheduled appointment
  • to exercise outdoors, limited to one hour per day
  • for essential animal welfare purposes (e.g. to feed pets or livestock that live elsewhere)
  • leaving due to an emergency.

When you leave your residence for the reasons above, you must wear a surgical or cloth mask, except if you are doing vigorous exercise. Mask wearing is not required for children aged 12 or under.

You need to monitor yourself closely for any symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or loss of sense of smell or taste. If you develop any of these symptoms, you should arrange to get tested for COVID-19.

If you have a medical emergency, you should call triple zero (000). Be sure to let them know that you are under a Stay at Home order.

Can I have visitors to my home or hotel room?

No. No one other than the people you live with should be at your home or hotel room while you are under Stay at Home requirements.

More information on exercise during Stay at home

You can exercise outdoors alone or with other people from your household, but you can’t attend bootcamps, running events or other group exercise.

COVID-19 testing during stay at home

You need to get tested during Stay at Home if you develop any COVID-19 symptoms, even if you have already been tested.

Getting to a testing location

If you are in Stay at Home and need testing, you must go directly to the testing centre and directly back to your Stay at Home location. You should use your own private transport to get to the testing centre, if possible. If this is not possible and you need to use public transport, rideshare or taxi, you must wear a mask, avoid direct contact with other people (including other passengers, drivers and transport staff), cough/sneeze into your elbow, and wash your hands before and after you travel.

Details of COVID-19 testing clinics in the ACT are available on the Where to get tested page.

Travelling to your Stay at Home location

Wherever possible, if you need to travel to your Stay at Home location, you should use a personal mode of transport, such as a private car, to minimise exposure to others. If this is not possible and you need to use public transport, rideshare or taxi, you should avoid direct contact with other people (including other passengers, drivers and transport staff), cough/sneeze into your elbow, and wash your hands before and after you travel. You must wear a mask during travel.

Do the people I live with need to stay at home as well?

No, unless they are also under a Stay at Home requirement.


Any minor who is required to stay at home must do so with a parent or guardian. If the parent or guardian is not subject to the Stay at Home order, they are free to leave the household for any reason.

Cleaning and infection control advice

Practising general hygiene is the best defence against the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus.

Everybody in the household should:

  • wash hands regularly
    • use liquid soap and water for at least 20 to 30 seconds, dry hands on paper towel if available and dispose of into the bin. Do not share hand towels
    • wash hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol (60-80%) if hands are not visibly soiled. This involves covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry
    • if hands are visibly dirty, they should be cleaned using liquid soap and water
    • wash hands before handling food, before eating, before entering rooms and before touching other peoples’ possessions
    • wash hands after using the toilet.
  • avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • avoid close contact with others, if possible.
  • cough and sneeze into your elbow or directly into a tissue, throw the tissue immediately after used into a lined bin, and then wash hands
  • do not share towels and bedding
  • do not share cutlery, dishes, utensils or drinking glasses. Make sure that after use these items are cleaned thoroughly with detergent and hot water or in the dishwasher
  • make sure shared spaces in the home have good airflow by opening a window or using air conditioning - if the weather allows
  • clean frequently touched surfaces regularly using a household cleaner and disinfectant. Frequently touched surfaces include kitchen benches, tabletops, fridge door handle, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, light switches, phones, remote controls, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables

Do I need to wear a mask while I’m in Stay at Home?

You don’t need to wear a mask while you are in your home.

What symptoms should I look out for while I am in Stay at Home, and what do I do if I get symptoms?

You need to closely monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 during your Stay at Home period.

The key signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of smell and loss of taste. Less common symptoms are runny or blocked nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

If you develop any of these symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19.

For more information about getting tested, including clinic locations in the ACT, please visit our Symptoms and getting tested page.

What if I need a medical assessment and/or my usual medications during Stay at Home?

If it is a medical emergency, please call triple zero (000). Tell them that you are under a Stay at Home order.

For non-urgent care, you should use telehealth in the first instance.

There are a number of options to access non-urgent medical care, including prescriptions for your usual medications:

  • You can contact a General Practitioner (GP) to ask for a telehealth consultation (phone-based appointment). We encourage you to contact your own GP, even if interstate, if you have one. You may be charged a consultation fee. If you are in a vulnerable patient category, you should be bulk billed for the consultation.
  • You can locate a local GP in Canberra, including after-hours GPs, by using the ‘find a health service’ on the Capital Health Network website.
  • The Canberra After Hours Locum Medical Service (CALMS) can provide medical care outside of business hours for review of non-urgent medical conditions. When contacting CALMS, tell them that you are currently in stay at home for COVID-19 and request a telehealth consultation. CALMS can be contacted on 1300 422 567 from 6.30pm to 8.30am on weekdays and over the weekends from 6pm Friday to 8.30am Monday. For further information, you can visit the CALMS website.

What if I need to receive nursing care or support?

You can continue to be provided with essential services during Stay at Home by your service provider(s). You will not need an exemption to be provided with these services. Your service providers need to make sure they follow standard infection prevention and control procedures when they are providing care or support to you during Stay at Home.

What if there is an evacuation at the hotel or requirement to evacuate my home?

In the unlikely event that there is an evacuation at the hotel or your home (e.g. due to a fire alarm), you should proceed out of your hotel room or your home and follow usual emergency procedures.

If you are staying in a hotel, you and everyone else who is in Stay at Home with you should wear a surgical mask. Young children who cannot tolerate a mask do not need to wear one.

You must follow the instructions of hotel staff (if applicable) and any emergency services personnel. You must always remain 1.5 metres away from other people (except anyone you live with who is also in Stay at Home). You must also inform emergency services personnel that you are in Stay at Home.

How do I maintain my mental health during Stay at Home?

Stay at Home can be distressing and can have impacts on your mental health and wellbeing. You may feel frustrated, distressed or overwhelmed in coping with stay at home and being separated from family and friends. There are things we can try that might help with these feelings.

  • Keeping positive really helps. Remind yourself about how you have coped with other challenges, as this can reassure you that you have the resilience to cope with this situation.
  • Try to establish a daily routine as much as possible.
  • Focus on healthy eating and maintaining a good sleep pattern.
  • If you live with others, it’s important to try and be considerate of everyone’s needs, including having some time alone through the day.
  • In confined households, you might not get on as well as you’d like all the time! If there are conflicts and arguments, try to resolve things as calmly and as soon as possible.
  • If you have children in your household, speak calmly to them about what is happening and help create some structure in their daily routine (even if this is different from their usual). Limiting how much they access distressing news or images will also help them to cope better.
  • Remain connected with family and friends by phone, email and social media.
  • Limit how much time you are spending accessing news and other media about COVID-19. Keeping informed about what is happening is important but constantly reading, listening or watching the news can make you feel more distressed and less able to cope.

For more ideas and factsheets about keeping well during stay at home, visit the Signs and factsheets page.

For more information, see our page on Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID-19.

If you are concerned about your mental wellbeing during your Stay at Home period, you can contact ACT Health through the COVID-19 helpline on (02) 6207 7244. ACT Health can refer you to our COVID-19 Wellbeing Team for further support.

If you need immediate mental health support, please contact one of the service providers listed on the Get Immediate Support page. If your situation is life threatening, please call triple zero (000). Be sure to notify them that you are in stay at home.

Further assistance for people in Stay at Home

If you have more questions or need help, you can contact the COVID-19 Helpline on (02) 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily.

For more contact options, see our Contact us page.

If you’re looking for Stay at Home information and advice in NSW, please visit the NSW Government’s COVID-19 website.

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: November 25 2021