Gatherings, density and physical distancing

Last Updated: 07 Jul 2021 9:13am


What is a gathering?

A gathering is the total number of people present in any single undivided indoor space, or in the outdoor area of a premises. All individuals – whether they are business operators, staff, volunteers, attendees, children or babies – are considered part of the gathering number.

Why do we have maximum gathering numbers?

It is more difficult to maintain physical distancing in large public gatherings. Restricting gathering numbers reduces the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading and makes it easier to contact people who may have been exposed to the virus if a case is identified.

Staged easing of restrictions, including a gradual increase in gathering numbers, is being done while we continue to monitor the risk of COVID-19 to Tasmania.

See Gathering limits and Management of Premises Direction for more information.

Note that if the number of people permitted according to the density limit (one person per two square metres) is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies.

Are there any exceptions to the gathering limits?

The limits do not apply to the following specified premises, but the number of people on these premises should not exceed the total number specified in the occupancy permit for the premises under the Building Act 2016. The specified premises are:

  • airports and premises used for public or commercial transport
  • medical or health service facilities, including veterinary facilities
  • disability or aged care facilities
  • prisons, correctional facilities or youth justice centres
  • courts or tribunals
  • parliament
  • schools, universities, education institutions, childcare facilities, child and family centres
  • premises that deliver services and support to disadvantaged community members eg those providing homeless accommodation, boarding houses, emergency/social housing, child safety services, foodbanks, employment services, and migrant and refugee assistance
  • indoor and outdoor spaces through which people are transiting
  • boats or pontoons used for commercial tourism purposes with outdoor spaces that are used by patrons for most of the tour
  • emergency services.

A Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities in Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government developed a A Framework for COVID Safe Events and Activities in Tasmania to help organisers plan COVID-safe gatherings that exceed the gathering limits specified in the Management of premises direction.


The Mass gatherings direction provides a legal basis for the Framework. Depending on the risk profile of the gathering, an event or activity will be classed as Level 1, 2 or 3, and different controls apply to each level.

What about gatherings at home?

If you are hosting an event or gathering at home (or another residential property) – for example, a party, barbecue or birthday celebration – please see ‘Household visitors’ section.

What is the difference between indoor and outdoor gatherings?

An indoor space is any area, room or premises that is substantially enclosed by a roof and walls (this also applies to temporary structures, for example a marquee). Outdoor spaces are not enclosed by a roof or walls. The gathering limit of 1,000 people in the outdoor space of a premises still applies where a premises has several outdoor areas. That is, even if a premises has multiple separate outdoor spaces, a maximum of 1,000 people in total are permitted in the outdoor areas of that premises at one time.

Do the limits apply to the entire venue or individual spaces?

For venues with multiple indoors spaces, the 250 people indoor gathering cap applies separately to each single undivided space indoors.

For example, a large hotel with multiple, separate indoor spaces (eg conference room, bar, restaurant, and foyer), is permitted to have up to 250 people for each of these indoor spaces (the density limit applies).

If you are hosting an event or gathering for more than 1000 people outdoors, please refer to the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities.

What is meant by the maximum density limit?

The maximum density limit aims to prevent the crowding of people in a space. A premises must not have a density of more than 1 person per 2 square metres of floor space. This means an operator must not allow people to enter or stay on the premises (indoor or outdoor) if the size of the premises is insufficient to allow for 2 square metres of space for each person.

What is the 2 square metres per person rule?

The maximum number of people allowed to gather at a premises is limited by the floor space of that premises. A minimum of 2 square metres of space is required for each person attending.

The maximum number of people allowed at a premises is the smaller number of either:

  • the maximum number of people for which there is 2 square metres per person, or
  • the maximum number gathering number specified for the type of venue/activity.

How to apply the 2 square metres per person rule

To comply with the 2 square metres per person rule, first measure the length and width of the floor space. Multiply the length by the width to calculate the area in square metres, then divide this by 2. The final number is the maximum number of people allowed in the premises (up to the maximum gathering size).

For example, the operator of a hospitality venue must not allow people to enter or stay on the premises (outdoor or indoor) if the size of the premises is insufficient to allow for 2 square metres of space for each person. Where practicable, the operator should:

  • Ensure that staff and patrons maintain 1.5 metres distancing from each other. For groups of people seated at the same table, and for staff at times, this will not be practicable.
  • Arrange the premises in such a way that patrons seated at one table can maintain 1.5 metres distancing between that group of patrons and patrons seated at another table.
  • Coordinate timing and arrangements for the arrival and seating of patrons so that crowding does not occur in arrival/waiting areas.
  • Ensure that there is appropriate space between dine-in patrons and takeaway food pickup areas within the premises.

Read more about requirements of businesses under the COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework.

How do I stay safe in a gathering?

In any gathering or setting it is important to maintain:

  • physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres between people
  • hand hygiene
  • respiratory hygiene (sneeze or cough into your elbow or tissues, and clean your hands after coughing or sneezing)
  • frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection.

Why is maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres from others important?

Physical distancing continues to be the strongest safeguard to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must continue to maintain a safe distance of no less than 1.5 metres between yourself and others, where safe and practical.

Physical distancing in schools

Physical distancing of children in schools, early childhood centres and playgroups is not required under current restrictions.

All adults in these settings (including parents and carers) must still maintain physical distance from each other (1.5 metres), but this does not apply to children.

The Tasmanian Government developed a Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities to help organisers plan COVID-safe gatherings that exceed the gathering limits specified in the Management of premises direction.

The Framework was developed in consultation with the events, sports, arts and entertainment sectors and is consistent with advice from the World Health Organisation, Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and Public Health Services.

The Mass gatherings direction provides a legal basis for the Framework. The Framework is regularly reviewed and updated to reflect any changes in direction, in accordance with the changing COVID-19 situation in Tasmania.

Depending on the risk profile of the gathering, an event or activity will be classed as Level 1, 2 or 3. Different controls apply to holding an event or activity at each of the three levels.

For more information, refer to the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities.

Gathering limits

The number of people allowed to attend an event or gathering depends on the type of event (for example, indoors or outdoors, seated or standing) and the available space.

The maximum number of people permitted to attend events or gatherings without applying for approval under the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities (other than households and the premises specified at the section on exceptions to the gathering limits is:

  • 250 people in an undivided space indoors
  • 1,000 people in an undivided space outdoors..

Maximum numbers include all people present, including staff, volunteers, event spectators, athletes, coaches, children and babies.

The maximum density rule of 2 square metres per person applies. If the number of people permitted according to the density limit is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies.

Where practicable, business operators, staff, volunteers and attendees should maintain 1.5 metres distancing from other people.

The number of people permitted at businesses/activities without applying for approval under the Framework (other than households and the premises specified at the section on exceptions to the gathering limits is determined by the density of the area, up to a maximum of:

  • 250 people for an undivided space indoors
  • 1,000 people in an undivided space outdoors.

Maximum numbers include all people present, including staff, volunteers, event spectators, athletes, coaches, children and babies.

The maximum density rule of 2 square metres per person applies. If the number of people permitted according to the density limit is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies.

Where practicable, business operators, staff, volunteers and attendees should maintain 1.5 metres distancing from other people.

For mixed-use venues with multiple indoor or outdoor spaces, the gathering limit applies separately to each single undivided space. For example, a large hotel with multiple, separate indoor spaces (eg conference room, bar, restaurant, foyer, beer garden), is permitted to have up to 250 people for each of these spaces (and the density limit applies).

Business restrictions allow standing activities – like darts, pool, eight-ball, snooker and karaoke – in licensed venues.

A cap on the number of people permitted to stand while drinking alcohol and/or dancing is required because large numbers of people mixing freely and closely while consuming alcohol are very high-risk settings for spreading COVID-19.

  • Standing and drinking alcohol and/or dancing is permitted in premises with a liquor licence or liquor permit up to a maximum of 100 people in indoor spaces and 250 people in outdoor spaces, within current density requirements.
  • Patrons in other parts of the premises or event can also consume alcohol while sitting down, subject to density requirements.
  • For example, a venue with a maximum density capacity of 200 can have 100 people dancing, however the other 100 people must be seated to be drinking alcohol.

Compulsory recording of contact details

Under the Contact Tracing Direction, every person 16 years of age or older attending a range of businesses, organisations and events (including staff) is required to provide their information for contact tracing using the free Check in TAS app.

Operators of the relevant locations are required to register with Check in TAS and prominently display the Check in TAS QR code at all entrances to the premises.

If anyone does not have or cannot use a smartphone or the Check in TAS app, they may be checked in by another person in their group, or by the operator or staff at the premises. If no suitable device is available, their details may be recorded with pen and paper. Businesses are permitted to refuse entry to a person who does not provide the required information.

More information, including when and how staff may manually record contact information, is available at www.checkin.tas.gov.au

Entertainment venues include indoor and outdoor cinemas, theatres, concert halls, auditoriums and similar venues.

Operators of entertainment venues can apply to increase patron numbers above 250 people (indoors) or 1,000 people (outdoors) through the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities.

For indoor events without seating

Where people are moving freely and mixing, the number of people that may be permitted at any time is no more than 1 person per 2 square metres of space, and no more than 1,000 people.

For indoor seated events

Where people have to be seated most of the time, the number of people that may be permitted at any time is up to the seating capacity of the premises in all seated areas, and 1 person per 2 square metres in all unseated areas, but no more than 2,000 people.

For outdoor events without seating

Where people are moving freely and mixing, the number of people that may be permitted at any time is no more than 1 person per 2 square metres of available space, but no more than 5,000 people.

For outdoor seated events

Where people have to be seated most of the time, the number of people that may be permitted at any time is up to the seating capacity of the premises in all seated areas, and 1 person per 2 square metres in all unseated areas, but no more than 10,000 people.

To help manage risks

  • there must be a COVID contact person for every event or venue
  • a COVID-19 Safety Plan must be used at all events and venues
  • the event organiser (or contact person) must be ready to present the COVID-19 Safety Plan to an authorised officer immediately on request
  • everyone at an event or venue must maintain at least 1.5 metres distancing between themselves and other people, whenever possible
  • information must be collected to support rapid contact tracing if required
  • other conditions may be imposed through the assessment and approval process

Compulsory recording of details for contact tracing

Under the Contact tracing direction, every person 16 years of age or older attending a range of businesses, organisations and events (including staff) is required to provide their information for contact tracing using the free Check in TAS app.

Operators of the relevant locations are required to register with Check in TAS and prominently display the Check in TAS QR code at all entrances to the premises.

If anyone does not have or cannot use a smartphone or the Check in TAS app, they may be checked in by another person in their group or by the event organiser or staff at the premises. If no suitable device is available, their details may be recorded with pen and paper. Event operators are permitted to refuse entry to a person who does not provide the required information.

More information, including when and how staff may manually record contact information, is available at www.checkin.tas.gov.au.

More information

Operators of stadiums and arenas can apply to increase attendance numbers to the number of seats provided. Where seating is not provided, the maximum number of people permitted is 1 person per 2 square metres of available space.

To help manage risks

  • there must be a COVID contact person for every event or venue
  • a COVID-19 Safety Plan must be used at all events and venues
  • the event organiser (or contact person) must be ready to present the COVID-19 Safety Plan to an authorised officer immediately on request
  • everyone at an event or venue must maintain at least 1.5 metres distancing between themselves and other people, whenever possible
  • information must be collected to support rapid contact tracing if required
  • other conditions may be imposed through the assessment and approval process

This information is for community sporting events and does not cover the requirements for events at large outdoor stadiums and outdoor arenas.

If the sporting facilities have seating provided, the total capacity will be equal to the number of seats provided.

If the sporting facilities do not have seating provided, gathering limits will be the lesser of:

  • 1 person per 2 square metres, or
  • 250 people for an undivided space indoors, or
  • 1,000 people in an undivided space outdoors.

Maximum numbers include all people present, including staff, volunteers, event spectators, athletes, coaches, children and babies.

Where practicable, operators, staff, volunteers and attendees should maintain 1.5 metres distancing from other people, and maintain physical distancing when exiting, entering, or in the lobby or foyer of a building.

For sporting and recreation facilities with multiple indoor spaces, the gathering cap applies separately to each single undivided indoor space. For example, a multi-purpose sporting venue with multiple, separate, undivided indoor spaces, could have up to 250 people in each of these spaces (and the density limit applies). However, the maximum of 1,000 people outdoors at a premises at one time applies regardless of whether there are multiple outdoor areas.

Sporting activities are permitted based on Level C of the AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport, which means that the following are permitted:

  • full contact training
  • full competition sport (contact and non-contact)
  • sharing of equipment where necessary
  • use of change rooms and other shared facilities.

Larger teams should consider maintaining small group separation at training, and non-essential social gatherings should be limited.

Gathering limits and the requirement to maintain physical distancing where practical applies to all sports, exercise and recreation.

Read more about Sport and recreation.

Gatherings at residential premises – including shacks – are limited to up to 100 people (including children and babies) at any one time. This limit includes all residents of the household and the people who ordinarily reside at the house or shack.

The household gathering limit of 100 people applies whether the gathering is indoors or outdoors, and for all types of gatherings, including barbecues and celebrations.

You should not visit others or have visitors to your home if you are unwell.

New directions for the Management of Premises - No 13 and Mass Gatherings - No 4  allow more people to attend religious services and funeral services in Tasmania.

Indoor seated gatherings

Smaller seated gatherings at churches, places of worship, memorial events and  funeral services may accommodate up to 250 people or 100 per cent of seating capacity, whichever is fewer, without assessment or approval.

Staff, clergy, church attendants, choir members and anyone assisting with or performing the service are not included in the 250-person limit.

Larger gatherings of more than 250 people may be allowed, but organisers must first register with Business Tasmania for approval and adhere to the relevant restrictions.

  • At venues with seating where more than 250 people will be attending and will be seated most of the time, the maximum number of attendees may be up to 100 per cent of seating capacity.
  • In unseated areas, such as a foyer, a maximum of one person per two square metres of floor space may be allowed.
  • People are no longer required to wear a face mask (or fitted face covering) at larger gatherings.

Compulsory recording of details for contact tracing

Under the Contact tracing direction, every person 16 years of age or older attending a range of businesses, organisations and events (including staff and attendants) is required to provide their information for contact tracing using the free Check in TAS app.

Operators of the relevant locations are required to register with Check in TAS and prominently display the Check in TAS QR code at all entrances to the premises.

If anyone does not have or cannot use a smartphone or the Check in TAS app, they may be checked in by another person in their group or by the organiser or attendants at the gathering. If no suitable device is available, their details may be recorded with pen and paper. Organisers are permitted to refuse entry to a person who does not provide the required information.

More information, including when and how contact information may be recorded manually, is available at www.checkin.tas.gov.au.

To help manage risks

  • there must be a COVID contact person for every event or venue
  • a COVID-19 Safety Plan must be used at all events and venues
  • the event organiser (or contact person) must be ready to present the COVID-19 Safety Plan to an authorised officer immediately on request
  • everyone at an event or venue must maintain at least 1.5 metres distancing between themselves and other people, whenever possible
  • information must be collected to support rapid contact tracing if required
  • other conditions may be imposed through the assessment and approval process

More information

Standing activities

Standing activities – like darts, pool, eight-ball, snooker and karaoke – are allowed in licensed venues.

Standing and drinking alcohol and/or dancing is permitted in premises with a liquor licence or liquor permit up to a maximum of 100 people in indoor spaces and 250 people in outdoor spaces, within current density requirements.

Patrons in other parts of the premises or event can also consume alcohol while sitting down, subject to density requirements.

For example, a venue with a maximum density capacity of 200 can have 100 people dancing, however the other 100 people must be seated to be drinking alcohol.

The management of risk associated with these activities must also be covered in a venue’s COVID-19 Safety Plan.

If someone hires a venue, such as a community hall, they share with the venue owner/operator the responsibility for managing dance and other activities, including physical distancing and facilitating a safe entry and exit to the premises.

A wide range of businesses and venues, including restaurants, cafes and other retail food businesses where food is sold for consumption on-site, as well as businesses that serve alcohol for consumption on-site, must register and use the free Check in TAS app to collect the contact information of all people aged 16 years and over who enter the premises, regardless of how long they will be there. For more information, refer to 'Compulsory recording of details for contact tracing' in the Business section.

Number of guests at weddings

Churches and commercial premises

The number of people permitted at a wedding at a church or a commercial or public venue (including a public park) is determined by the size of the venue and the density limits that apply to all venues.

The maximum number of people permitted is 1 person per 2 square metres, up to a limit of 250 people at an indoor venue and 1,000 people at an outdoor venue.

These numbers include all people present at the wedding, including the bridal party, celebrant, guests, children, babies, photographers, caterers, musicians and drivers.

Residential premises

The number of people permitted to attend a wedding at a residential premises is up to 100 people.

This number includes the people who normally live at the house, as well as the bridal party, celebrant, guests, children, babies, photographers, caterers, musicians and drivers.

The 100-person limit still applies if the wedding is held on a large private property, farm or block of land that also includes a residential premises, unless the part of the property on which the wedding is to be held is – as part of the property’s normal operations for the provision of services – normally used for weddings.

A wedding held in a barn on a property that forms part of a residential premises on acreage would still be limited to 100 people, including the people who usually live on the property.

Standing, drinking alcohol and dancing

There is no change to the maximum density limits of 1 person per 2 square metres up to a limit of 250 people in an indoor space and 1,000 people in an outdoor space of a non-residential premises, whichever is the lesser.

Up to a maximum total of 100 people in the indoor spaces of a premises and a total of up to a maximum 250 people in the outdoor spaces of a non-residential premises are permitted to stand while drinking alcohol and/or dance. All other people on the premises must be seated if they are drinking alcohol.

For example, a venue with an indoor maximum capacity of 200 people can have up to a total of 100 people standing to either drink alcohol and/or dance in the indoor spaces, however, the other 100 people must be seated if they are drinking alcohol. If the same venue also has an outdoor maximum capacity of 300 people, it can have up to a total of 250 people standing to either drink alcohol and/or dance in the outdoor spaces, however the other 50 people must be seated if they are drinking alcohol. If a premises, according to its maximum allowable density, can have up to 80 people in the indoor spaces of the premises, all of these patrons may stand to consume alcohol or dance.

These caps apply to the entire indoor and outdoor spaces of a premises, regardless of whether there are multiple discrete spaces, such as separate outdoor courtyards. If alcohol is sold and/or consumed at the premises, the density calculation for the outdoor spaces of the premises must only take into account the outdoor space of the premises that is used by patrons of the premises.