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What is Old is New Again (sort of): the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 3) 2020 (NSW)

What is Old is New Again (sort of): the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 3) 2020 (NSW)

Published on June 5, 2020 by Dexter CabalDexter Cabal

This is an update on the latest easing of the ‘Social Distancing’ measures in NSW and follows my previous articles: Social Distancing’, the new norm (for now at least) and Step by Step, Day by Day – the gradual easing of ‘Social Distancing’ measures in NSW.

From 1 June 2020, further easing of social distancing measures were implemented across NSW and over the past few days we have seen people swap the active-wear that they have worn as a uniform for the past 3 months for attire more suited for a public social occasion the likes of which have not been experienced for quite some time. For many, the beginning of Winter marks the first time out to eat at a café, restaurant and/or the local pub.  What is old is new again!

Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No.3) 2020 (NSW)

NSW’s Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No.3) 2020 (NSW) (the new ‘Order’) commenced on 1 June 2020. The object of this Order is to revoke and remake the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 2) 2020 (NSW) to ease certain restrictions that have previously been imposed on individuals and businesses. The new Order is made pursuant to section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) and expires at the end of 90 days after which it was made.

The following are key takeaways of the new Order:

  • Up to 5 visitors may visit another household at any one time (Clause 7(1)(a));
  • Public gatherings are permitted of up to 10 people (Clause 10(1)). A public gathering is defined as “a meeting or assembly of persons for a common purpose, including an organised or planned event in a public place (whether ticketed or not)” (Clause 10(4)).  A person is not part of a public gathering if the person is engaged in work (Clause 10(2)(a)).  A person is also not part of a public gathering if they are providing care and assistance to vulnerable persons (Clause 10(2)(b)).  Clause 10(3) of the Order sets out the exceptions to Clause 10 that (notably) include (but are not limited to): persons gathering as referred to in Schedule 2 (“Essential gatherings”) as well as referrable to premises referred to in Schedule 1 (Clause 10(3)(a)). Clause 10 also does not apply to a gathering of persons all of whom are members of the same household (Clause 10(3)(b)).  Clause 10 also does not apply to persons participating in a gathering for a wedding, funeral, memorial or religious service, or a gathering immediately after a wedding, funeral or memorial service, at which no more than the number of persons permitted at the service or gathering under Clause 11 are on the premises (Clause 10(3)(b));
  • Weddings, or a gathering immediately after a wedding service, can now have up to 20 guests plus the people conducting or assisting in the conduct of the service, one photographer and one videographer, and the couple getting married (Clause 11(1)(a)). A person attending the wedding, or a gathering immediately after the wedding must provide the person’s name and contact details, including a telephone number or email address, to the relevant person for the service and the relevant person for the service or gathering must record the names and contact details, including telephone numbers and email addresses, of all persons at the service (Clause 11(2)).  The relevant person for a wedding, or a gathering immediately after a wedding service means –

(a) for a service or gathering held in an indoor space—the occupier or operator of the premises, or

(b) for a service or gathering held in an outdoor space—the person conducting the service (Clause 11(3)).

A person who is required to record information by this Order must keep the record for at least a period of 4 weeks and on request, provide the record to the Chief Health Officer. (Clause 12);

  • Funeral service or memorial service, or a gathering immediately after a funeral or memorial service can now have up to 50 persons (Clause 11(1)(b)) excluding the persons necessary for the conduct of, or assisting in the conduct of, the service such as the funeral celebrant or minister of religion and funeral directors. A person attending the funeral service, or a gathering immediately after the funeral must provide the person’s name and contact details, including a telephone number or email address, to the relevant person for the service and the relevant person for the service or gathering must record the names and contact details, including telephone numbers and email addresses, of all persons at the service (Clause 11(2)).  The relevant person for a funeral or memorial service, or a gathering immediately after a funeral or memorial service means –
    (a) for a service or gathering held in an indoor space – the occupier or operator of the premises, or
    (b) for a service or gathering held in an outdoor space – the person conducting the service (Clause 11 (3)).

A person who is required to record information by this Order must keep the record for at least a period of 4 weeks and on request, provide the record to the Chief Health Officer (Clause 12);

  • Religious services can have up to 50 worshippers, excluding the persons necessary for the conduct of, or assisting in the conduct of, the service (Clause 11(1)(c)). A person attending the religious service must provide the person’s name and contact details, including a telephone number or email address, to the relevant person for the service and the relevant person for the service or gathering must record the names and contact details, including telephone numbers and email addresses, of all persons at the service (Clause 11(2)). The relevant person for a religious service means –
    (a) for a service or gathering held in an indoor space – the occupier or operator of the premises, or
    (b) for a service or gathering held in an outdoor space – the person conducting the service (Clause 11 (3)).

A person who is required to record information by this Order must keep the record for at least a period of 4 weeks and on request, provide the record to the Chief Health Officer (Clause 12).

For private worship, the premises must not allow more than the lesser of: 50 persons or, the total number of persons calculated by allowing 4 square metres of space for each person (Schedule 1, Item 18, Columns 1 and 2);

  • Food and drink premises (including restaurants and cafés) can now open for the purpose of selling food and drinks to the lesser of: 50 customers per existing separate seated food or drink area or, the total number of customers calculated by allowing 4 square metres of space for each customer (excluding staff members) on the premises.  If the food or drink premises includes more than one restaurant or café, the limitation on the number of customers to whom food and drink may be sold for consumption on the premises is per restaurant or café on the premises (Schedule 1, Item 10, Columns 1 and 2).  A person entering the premises must provide the person’s name and contact details, including a telephone number or email address, to the occupier or operator of the premises and, the occupier or operator of the premises must record the names and contact details, including telephone numbers or email addresses, of all persons entering the premises (Schedule 1, Item 10, Column 3). A person who is required to record information by this Order must keep the record for at least a period of 4 weeks and on request, provide the record to the Chief Health Officer (Clause 12).  The premises must have a COVID-19 safety plan (Schedule 1, Item 10, Column 3);
  • Pubs and registered clubs can open for the purpose of customers accessing goods and services (other than accommodation services) to the lesser of: 50 customers per existing separate seated food or drink area or, the total number of customers calculated by allowing 4 square metres of space for each customer (excluding staff members) on the premises (Schedule 1, Item 22, Columns 1 and 2). A person entering the premises must provide the person’s name and contact details, including a telephone number or email address, to the occupier or operator of the premises and, the occupier or operator of the premises must record the names and contact details, including telephone numbers or email addresses, of all persons entering the premises (Schedule 1, Item 22, Column 3). A person who is required to record information by this Order must keep the record for at least a period of 4 weeks and on request, provide the record to the Chief Health Officer (Clause 12). The premises must have a COVID-19 safety plan (Schedule 1, Item 22, Column 3);
  •  An employer must allow an employee to work at the person’s place of residence where it is reasonably practicable to do so (Clause 9).

Section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010 creates an offence if an individual fails to comply with the Order with a maximum penalty of imprisonment of 6 months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues.  Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.

With the further easing of social distancing measures brought into effect this week in NSW, life as we knew it before the COVID-19 partial lockdown is slowly returning with the increased access to restaurants, cafés, pubs and clubs.  That feeling of ‘what is old is new again’ will no doubt come over us (sort of) this Queen’s Birthday long weekend as we take our first bite of food at a restaurant or café and, take that first swig of beer from our schooner at our local pub.

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