Change to Public Health Directions to support businesses

(information will be updated as it becomes available)

Dear proprietor and industry partners

The ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman today announced the move to Stage 4 of Canberra’s recovery plan with further easing of restrictions to take effect at 9am on Wednesday 2 December 2020, subject to the ACT’s COVID-19 situation remaining stable.

These changes reflect the ACT’s continued positive response to COVID-19 restrictions and improvement in neighbouring jurisdictions when it comes to COVID-19 cases.

One of the most significant changes is the ability of venues to increase occupancy across venues if they are using the Check In CBR app to collect patron contact details. The Check In CBR app is free, secure and convenient and enables ACT Health to quickly access patron information to quickly alert people who may have been in contact with a person with COVID-19 if required. 

What is changing

Occupancy Levels – There will be three options available for businesses and venues – including hospitality, clubs, gyms, real estate and other premises:

·       Option 1: 25 people (excluding staff) across the whole venue. 


·       Option 2: Where the Check In CBR app is used:

o   one person per two square metres of usable space in each indoor and outdoor space (excluding staff), with a maximum of 500 people for each space.

To utilise the updated occupancy rules, you must have registered for the Check In CBR app by Thursday, 16 December 2020 at the very latest.  We encourage you to register early to ensure that you can comply with the new Directions by this date.

o   Information on how to register for the free ‘Check In’ CBR app is available at


·       Option 3: Where the Check In CBR app is NOT used:

o   one person per four square metres of usable space in each indoor space (excluding staff), with a maximum of 500 people for each space, and 

o   one person per two square metres of usable space in each outdoor space (excluding staff), with a maximum of 500 people for each space.

Please note: Patrons in hospitality venues must continue to remain seated if consuming alcohol indoors. 

Remember: Businesses must not exceed any capacity limit that applies under standard liquor or fire occupancy loading and regulatory conditions of the venue.

Key points with the changes

·       Businesses, such as clubs and gyms, that may have other electronic sign in systems to record patron details for other regulatory/membership purposes, must run both systems in parallel if they wish to move to a one person per two square metre density calculation (ie. your existing system does not replace the need for the Check In CBR app to be used).

  • Hospitality Venues will note that the ‘50 person rule’ for venues between 100sqm and 200 sqm has been removed from the range of options available.  This is because most venues of 100sqm or above will be able to use the one person per 2 square metres density requirements with no significant change to their occupancy allowance, except for the requirement to use the Check In CBR app.  
  • The move to a one person per 2 square metre density calculation does increase the overall risk to the Canberra community, and therefore this additional requirement is requested of all businesses as an important risk mitigation measure.

Other Venues:

·       Cinemas and movie theatres that use the Check In CBR app to collect patron contact details can sell up to 65% capacity of each theatre (in accordance with new gathering restrictions), up to 500 people per cinema or theatre. 

o   Otherwise, cinemas and theatres must continue to maintain 50% capacity.

  • Large indoor performance venues, such as theatres and arenas, can have up to 65 percent capacity for seated and ticketed events, up to a maximum of 1,500 people.

·       Enclosed outdoor venues with permanent tiered seating and grandstands can have up to 65% capacity, up to 1,500 people, provided events are ticketed and seated and a COVID Safe Plan is in place for each event.

·       GIO Stadium and Manuka Oval will be able to have crowds of up to 65 per cent capacity, so long as each event held at these venues has an appropriate COVID Safe Plan in place.

What will stay the same

Signage – All venues, facilities and businesses must clearly display their occupancy allowance at the entrance to the venue and each individual usable space, where separate spaces exist.

·       COVID-19 Safety Plan – All venues, facilities and businesses must develop and follow a COVID Safety Plan. It is important that COVID Safety Plans are updated regularly, to reflect changes in restrictions.

o   Note: COVID-19 safety plans must be available for inspection by an authorised officer – it is strongly recommended all venues keep them readily accessible at their sites.

·       Contact Tracing – Businesses, venues, and facilities are required to request contact information from patrons and retain this information for 28 days.

·       Nightclubs remain closed but can continue to operate as bars through a permit arrangement, provided through Access Canberra. 

Help for business

·       Choose CBR – This week the ACT Government launched ChooseCBR, a new digital discount voucher initiative designed to support businesses and jobs by encouraging spending at local businesses across Canberra.

With $500,000 worth of discounts to be provided to the community to use at local businesses during December, ChooseCBR is a great way to give your business a boost by attracting customers and boosting sales. 

Register now to get your application approved before launch on 9 December 2020.

We have attached a flyer with more information on the ChooseCBR initiative. 

·       Other help – Did you know, the ACT Government is also offering support to help businesses recover from the financial effects of COVID-19? Find out more about support available to you on the COVID-19 website at:

Further information:

·       Further information is available on the ACT Government’s website

·       The Access Canberra Business Liaison Team is available to answer questions or provide advice. Reach the team on (02) 6205 0900.

·       The updated Public Health Direction will be available prior to the change commencing on the

It’s important to remember that these changes do not take effect until 9am on 2 December 2020 and you will receive further correspondence confirming the changes. Until this time, the existing Public Health Direction remains in effect.

Your ongoing cooperation and proactive compliance with the Public Health Direction is greatly appreciated as we work to support our community’s safety and Canberra’s recovery from COVID-19.

Places of worship

  • Places of worship must have a COVID Safety Plan.
  • Venues must clearly display occupancy allowance at the entrance to the venue.
  • Carefully manage the entry, exit and flow of people through the premises.
  • While first name and contact number of attendees can be sought voluntarily in a visitors book, including details of the date and time at which the person attended, places of worship are encouraged to consider using an electronic method to collect information.  The free Check In CBR app is available to assist with this requirement.
  • Physical distancing of 1.5 metres between each group or household is required.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning for high touch areas and restroom facilities.
  • The use of collection plates and other shared equipment should be avoided during services.
  • Limit the use of books, if possible. If not, ensure they are cleaned between each use.
  • Church leaders and others involved in the service should be kept to a minimum and are to be physically distanced from the congregation.
  • If choirs are performing to congregations they are to remain at least 2 metres away from the congregation and those involved in the service.
  • Choir members are to be kept to an absolute minimum and are to maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres from each other when singing.
  • Try to keep to a minimum number of musicians in each service, and they should remain physically distanced from the congregation or audience. There should also be 2 metres of distance between each band member.

Weddings and funerals

  • Wedding and funeral organisers must have a COVID Safety Plan.
  • Venues must clearly display occupancy allowance at the entrance to the venue.
  • Wedding and funeral organisers must keep a record of the names and contact numbers of individuals attending. Details should be securely destroyed after 28 days. Consider using the Check In CBR app.

What are the community responsibilities?

  • Avoid gathering in communal areas.
  • Maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres from other people where practical (other than when dancing).
  • 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.

Updated November 30, 2020