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Events In Focus

UPDATE: Restrictions start to ease as 2 square-meter rule kicks in for NSW

The HRIA is please to provide further clarification on the use of marquees for outdoor events as relates to the 2 square meter ruling:

  • A marquee (that does not have more than 2 sides closed off) is considered an outdoor venue. Any time that a marquee has 3 or 4 external walls it is considered an indoor event.
  • Any internal portioning or walls can change the definition of indoor vs outdoor. This creates additional and affects the flow of ventilation and will no longer be considered outdoor for the purposes of this policy.

To allow stakeholders to operate under a 2 metre square rule the ‘venue’ must have electronic entry recording as well as a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. Otherwise they must adhere to a 4 square meter rule.

The NSW Government Office of the Small Business Commissioner has provided details on the steps they suggest when planning for an event. These includes links to the relevant Health Orders, outlining what is an is not permitted.

NSW Government suggested steps when planning for an event

  1. Definition of event – ‘indoor vs outdoor’ as this determines which social distancing rule applies.
    2. Business type – ‘hospitality venues’
    3. Event type – to give the maximum limit of guests

For the definition of what is an indoor vs outdoor events for hospitality venues (events) this can be found in the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 5) 2020 which commenced on 23 October 2020. The exact location is on page 9 under the Directions of Minister about hospitality venues (the exact location is part 2, division 1, section 9, clause 7). Any updated health orders replacing the above link will be made available on the COVID-related legislation NSW Government website.
Indoor area includes an area in a building or other structure, whether or not temporary, which has a roof, ceiling or other top covering, but does not include an area with at least 2 sides open to the weather.

Outdoor area means an area that is not an indoor area.

Business Type
The next reference to help is located on NSW Government COVID-19 advice website at the Can and can’t do under the rules page. Hospitality venues have a section that can help provide the information and confidence you need in planning their events. This gives information on the two square metre rule that hospitality venues can use if:

  • an outdoor event (a marquee with 2 open sides and no internal partitions)
  • have electronic entry recording (QR Code)
  • register a COVID-Safe Plan.

Event Type
There are limits imposed for types of events. To help track the numbers for each event here are links to types of events allowed.

Any further updates we will advise members. If you have any questions, please email info@hireandrental.com.au or call the national office.

Original post

Restrictions for outdoor dining and outdoor music performances will be eased, under relaxed COVID-19 safety rules.

From Friday (16 October 2020) restrictions at hospitality venues were eased to allow one patron for every two square metres in outdoor areas (previously this was one person per four square metres). NSW Health updated the health order shortly after the NSW Government announcement.

Businesses wishing to take advantage of the relaxed restrictions must use electronic methods, like QR codes, to record and keep contact details.

Under changes effective immediately, 500 people will be able to attend outdoor seated music performances and rehearsals, subject to the four square metre rule and people being seated (previously 20 people were permitted).

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the community and businesses are doing a great job of working together to keep COVID-19 at bay, which meant the rules could now be relaxed.

“In NSW, we are focused on keeping the virus under control but also ensuring our economy keeps going and these changes will allow hospitality venues to increase their capacity in a COVID-Safe way,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This is also a big boost for our music industry with more people in NSW able to enjoy music in the outdoors over the summer.

“Our aim is to provide as many opportunities as we can for businesses and organisations to succeed – but for that strategy to be successful we need everyone to follow their COVID-19 Safety Plan.”


This is consistence with the Government aim “for Australia to reopen by Christmas”, recently reinforced in correspondence to the HRIA’s CEO James Oxenham from the Attorney General’s Department.

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said easing the rules would breathe more life into hospitality venues after a rocky year of closures and limited re-openings, giving the community more opportunities to dine out.

“This is another step toward as normal a life as possible in a COVID-19 world, and will draw more people to our hospitality venues to catch up with family and friends, particularly in outdoor spaces as summer approaches,” Mr Hazzard said.

“In doing so we increase our risk, so it’s important everyone continues to practise physical distancing and good hand hygiene, and to get tested if unwell and stay home until a negative result is obtained.”

COVID-19 Safety Plans essential

NSW Health Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said hospitality venues will still be required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

“Hospitality venues will also need to use electronic methods to capture and keep contact records of their patrons, if they wish to take advantage of the new eased restrictions,” Dr Chant said.

Organisers of outdoor music performances or rehearsals are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan, which must cover:

  • wellbeing of the audience
  • physical distancing requirements for audience
  • hygiene and cleaning requirements
  • record keeping of all attendees.

Facilitator, Roundtable of Vocal, Instrumental and Music Education Organisations (RIVMEO), Stephen O’Doherty, said the easing of restrictions will make a big difference to thousands of musicians for whom making music for the enjoyment of others is a central part of their life.

“The checklist provided by Health will be of great assistance to groups in planning outdoor performances and rehearsals. It is a helpful and sensible way to phase in the return of group music,” Mr O’Doherty said.

You can find more information on the COVID-19 Safety plan for outdoor music performances.


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