Cafes, Restaurants food courts and Licensed Venues

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 is scheduled to come into effect at 9am Friday 18 September, pending a successful COVID Safe Check point on Thursday 17 September. To find out more check the Summary of key changes page.

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

What can I do?

From 9am Friday 18 September 2020:

  • All venues, facilities and businesses can have a maximum of 25 people (excluding staff) across the whole venue regardless of their size.  Venues must still abide by their standard occupancy loading and regulatory conditions of the venue.
  • Venues or businesses that want to have more than 25 people in their venue must apply the ‘one person per 4 square metres of usable space’ rule.  The maximum number of patrons permitted is 100 for each indoor space and each outdoor space.  No modifications can be made to venues.
  • 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.
  • Patrons can use entertainment facilities within venues (eg pool tables, darts or other electronic machines). However, patrons are asked to remain in their social networks and groups whilst participating in these activities and once finished return to their seats. Venues are also asked to increase cleaning of these shared entertainment facilities.
  • Staff are excluded from both the patron limit and the 4 square metre rule.
  • Food courts can remain open for dine-in, as well as takeaway, but must observe the one person per 4 square metre rule of usable space, with tables set up for a maximum of six patrons only at any given time.
  • Bar, pubs and clubs can continue to serve alcohol to seated patrons, with no limit on the size of group bookings.
  • Patrons can continue to order at the bar or counter but must be seated to consume their drinks or meals.
  • Alcohol can be served without a meal.
  • Patrons must remain seated at all times, except to extent that it is unreasonable or impracticable to do so.  Examples of unreasonable or impracticable include entering and exiting the premises, ordering and paying for food or beverages, using the restrooms.
  • Live music can continue to be performed, however performers should try to maintain physical distancing requirements wherever possible.  Singers should try to stand at least 2 metres away from other band members as well as audience members.

What can’t I do?

  • Patrons should not congregate and groups should not mingle with other groups.
  • Patrons should not stand around while drinking. They must remain seated either at the bar (away from the area where orders are taken) or at a table.
  • Dancing is not permitted to ensure physical distancing.
  • Self-serve buffet style food service, communal snack bars or communal condiments in all venues, including food courts, are not permitted.
  • A person who owns, controls or operates a non-essential business or undertaking under the Public Health Direction must not temporarily divide any usable indoor space or usable outdoor space for the purposes of calculating usable space.

What are my responsibilities?

  • Venues, including food courts, must have a COVID Safety Plan.
  • All venues must clearly display occupancy allowance at the entrance to each venue as well as display additional signs with area occupancy for separate individual spaces.
  • Venues, including food courts are required to ask all patrons for their first name and phone number and record it along with the date and time they attended the venue. Details should be securely destroyed after 28 days. Consider using the free Check In CBR app for a safe and easy way to capture these details.
  • Licensed venues must ensure there is appropriate physical distancing between patrons queueing to enter the premises.
  • Tables should be spaced in a way that ensures patrons at different tables remain 1.5 metres apart.
  • For venues with a total usable space of 100 square metres or less, tables should be spaced as far apart as practicable and 1.5 metres apart where this is possible.
  • Food courts should use floor markings showing where people can queue and tables in food courts should be set up for a maximum of six patrons only at any given time.
  • Tenants in food courts should have a separate order and collection counter, where possible.
  • Patrons in food courts are encouraged to be seated at all times after purchasing food and to leave as quickly as possible.
  • Each indoor and each 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 do not stay longer than two hours.
  • Increase cleaning of high touch areas in all venues, including food courts (for example railings on stairs, menus, bars, chairs and trays) and restroom facilities.
  • Increase cleaning of shared entertainment facilities (for example pool tables and electronic machines).
  • Venues must not breach any other occupancy laws or licensing requirements when determining their patron density allowance.
  • Venues should carefully manage the entry, exit and flow of visitors through their premises.
  • Businesses should encourage patrons not to congregate or mingle within the same area of the venue for more than two hours.
  • If clubs need further information regarding the restrictions for their venue, contact the Access Canberra Business Liaison Team on (02) 6205 0900.

What are the community responsibilities?

  • Maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres.
  • Limit the time at a venue to less than two hours and stay in one part of the venue as much as possible.
  • Make bookings where possible and let businesses know if you won’t be able to make it.
  • Maintain personal hygiene, including regular hand washing.
  • Stay home if unwell.
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Download the Check In CBR app and sign into participating Canberra venues you visit.

What does the public need to know?

  • Continue to practise good hand and respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, stay home if you are unwell and get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Ensure you provide your first name and contact number to any businesses that are required to ask for contact tracing purposes. Download the Check In CBR app to use at participating venues across Canberra.
  • Be sensible when you have people over at your residence and have your own control measures in place. Know who is there and at what times, download the COVIDSafe app, join Flu Tracker and participate in important YourSay Community Panel engagements and health surveys that will help the ACT respond the best that it can.
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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: September 18 2020