COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement

There are only 16 reasons for you to be outside.

What are they?

The NSW State Government has recently introduced the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 as part of the Public Health Act 2010.

The laws govern what reasons people can have to be out of their house without attracting new fines of up to $11,000 or six months’ jail or both. They also outline in more detail the exceptions around the rules limiting gatherings to no more than two people.

The Order can be viewed here:

Under the legislation, people cannot leave their homes without a reasonable excuse.

Those reasonable excuses include buying groceries, going to work (if you can’t do it at home), exercising or taking a child to school or childcare. But the legislation also allows for people to be outside if they’re donating blood, moving house or to escape from harm. Contact between parents and children who do not live together is also considered a reasonable excuse.

The legislation also fleshes out the exceptions to the law against gatherings of more than two people. These exemptions include when the people are all members of the same household (if they don’t live under your roof, they’re not part of your household in the eyes of the law), a meeting for the purposes of work or attending a wedding or funeral (where the other limitations around numbers or attendees apply).

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian flagged earlier this week that the government would strictly enforce these restrictions.

The 16 “reasonable excuses” to be outside:

  1. Obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes (including for pets) and for vulnerable persons.
  2. Travelling for the purposes of work if the person cannot work from the person’s place of residence.
  3. Travelling for the purposes of attending childcare (including picking up or dropping another person at childcare).
  4. Travelling for the purposes of facilitating attendance at a school or other educational institution if the person attending the school or institution cannot learn from the person’s place of residence.
  5. Exercising.
  6. Obtaining medical care or supplies or health supplies or fulfilling carer’s responsibilities.
  7. Attending a wedding or a funeral in the circumstances referred to in clause 6(2)(d) and (e) or 7(1)(h).
  8. Moving to a new place of residence (including a business moving to new premises) or between different places of residence of the person or inspecting a potential new place of residence.
  9. Providing care or assistance (including personal care) to a vulnerable person or providing emergency assistance.
  10. Donating blood.
  11. Undertaking any legal obligations (including attending court or fulfilling bail requirements).
  12. Accessing public services (whether provided by Government, a private provider or a non-Government organisation), including social services, employment services, domestic violence services mental health services, and services provided to victims (including as victims of crime).
  13. For children who do not live in the same household as their parents or siblings or one of their parents or siblings – continuing existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children or siblings.
  14. For a person who is a priest, minister of religion or member of a religious order- going to the person’s place of worship or providing pastoral care to another person.
  15. Avoiding injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm.
  16. For emergencies or compassionate reasons.

Exemptions to the two-person gathering law:

  1. A gathering of persons for the purposes of work.
  2. A gathering of persons who are members of the same household.
  3. A wedding at which there are no more than 5 persons (including the person conducting the service).
  4. A funeral service at which there are no more than 10 persons (including the person conducting the service).
  5. Moving to a new place of residence (including a business moving to new premises).
  6. Providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person.
  7. Providing emergency assistance.
  8. Fulfilling a legal obligation, such as attending a court or tribunal.
  9. A gathering at an airport that is necessary for the normal business of the airport.
  10. A gathering for the purposes of or related to transportation.
  11. Requirements for the normal business of a hospital or other medical or health service facility.
  12. Emergency services.
  13. A prison, correctional facility, youth justice centre or other place of custody.

To speak to our team, please contact Maguire & McInerney Lawyers on 02-4228 5911.