Gatherings, density and physical distancing

Last Updated: 18 May 2022 1:44pm

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Density

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.

Seated venues

The exception to this is some seated venues – these may accommodate their full seated capacity. 100% of a venue’s seated capacity applies to entertainment venues, places of worship, funeral homes, stadiums and arenas plus 1 person per 2 square metres in unseated parts of an otherwise seated venue.

All other venues and events are as per the density limit of 1 person per 2 square metres (capacity limit applies).

Understanding 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.

Applying 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 under the COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework.

Physical distancing

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.

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.

Gatherings

A gathering is a group of people who come together, whether formally or informally, at a premises.

Why have maximum gathering limits

It is more difficult to maintain physical distancing in large public gatherings. Restricting gathering numbers reduces the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading

Note that if the number of people permitted according to the density limit is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies.

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 500 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 500 people in total are permitted in the outdoor areas of that premises at one time. If you have an indoor gathering with 251 or more people or an outdoor event with 501 or more people, please refer to the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities.

Applying limits to entire venues and/or individual spaces

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, 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, please refer to the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities.

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.

Household visitors

There are currently no limits to household visitors, however, you should stay 1.5 metres away from visitors whenever practical. You should not visit others or have visitors to your home if you are unwell.

Events (indoor and outdoor)

Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities

Tasmania’s Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities helps organisers plan COVID-safe gatherings that exceed the gathering limits specified.

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.

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

Tier 1 events do not require approval but an Event COVID-19 Safety Checklist must be submitted. Tier 2 and 3 events require an Event COVID-19 Safety Plan.

The Framework does not apply to small gatherings of up to:

  • 250 people in an undivided space indoors or
  • 500 people in an undivided space outdoors

The maximum number does not include staff, volunteers or contractors.

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.

Read more about the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities on the Business Tasmania website.

Stadiums and arenas

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.

Read more about the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities on the Business Tasmania website.

Sport and recreation

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 and the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities on the Business Tasmania website.

Churches, places of worship and funeral homes

Indoor seated gatherings

Smaller indoor 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 should refer to the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities.

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.

Read more about the Framework for COVID-19 Safe Events and Activities on the Business Tasmania website.

Weddings

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 500 people at an outdoor venue.

These numbers do not include staff or contractors such as a celebrant, photographers, caterers, musicians and drivers.