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Rules and restrictions and information for all people living in NSW.

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Latest updates


  • NSW to suspend Category 3 non-urgent elective surgery till mid-February.
  • No singing or dancing in hospitality venues (This does not include weddings)
  • Major events will go ahead as planned with review by Health
  • Minimise of mingling in hospitality.
  • Limit social networks. In homes, people are encouraged to move events outdoors.
  • More information to follow on mandatory boosters for high-risk settings. 
  • RAT test if you are going to a high risk setting such as Aged Care, funerals.

Key Messaging

From Dr Kerry Chant

If you have symptoms and have access to a RAT test, please take one. If you cannot get a RAT test you are encouraged to get a PCR test.

RAT Tests

If you have symptoms and a positive RAT test, then treat yourself as a case. 
If you are a household contact or a high-risk exposure, then also a positive test, treat yourself as a case. 
If you have no exposures and have symptoms, and the RAT test is positive, you might get a PCR to validate it, or test again with a RAT. 
Any time you have a positive test and develop symptoms, you should act as if it is a positive test. 
Isolate for 7 days and your household to take the same action. 

Register a positive rapid antigen test result

In NSW, You must register a positive rapid antigen test result as soon as possible after you get your result. You are able to add a positive result dating back to 1 January 2022. 

You can register a positive test result for yourself, another adult or a child. Each result needs to  be reported separately.

You do not need to register if you've had:

  • a negative or invalid rapid antigen test result
  • a positive PCR test in the 28 days before your positive rapid antigen test.

Note: If you develop severe chest pain, fainting episodes or severe difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000) straight away and tell the ambulance staff that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

For free help in your language, call Translating and Interpreting Services on 13 14 50 and ask them to contact us on 13 77 88.


To register a positive rapid antigen test result you must be:

  • aged 16 or over
  • living or staying in NSW.

What you need

  • a MyServiceNSW Account (optional)
  • the date of the positive rapid antigen test result
  • name, date of birth and postcode of the person tested
  • your contact details.

How to register

  1. Select the ‘Register a positive result’ button.
  2. Log in to your MyServiceNSW Account or select 'Continue without log in'.
  3. Choose to register a result for yourself, another adult or a child.
  4. Enter the positive test result date.
  5. Enter details of the person who tested positive.
  6. Enter your phone number or email.
  7. Answer 'yes' or 'no' to the health questions about the person who tested positive.
  8. Complete the declaration.
  9. Submit your details.

If you have any issues or need help completing the form, call Service NSW on 13 77 88.

You cannot register your positive result at a Service NSW Centre.

After you've submitted the form, continue to self-isolate for 7 days from the day you received your positive result and follow the advice from NSW Health.

If you're pregnant, unvaccinated or have a serious medical condition, you'll be asked to complete a follow-up survey from NSW Health after you've submitted your positive result.

Register a positive rapid antigen test result with MyService NSW account

Illness and linking to care

Dr Kerry Chant says regarding hospitalisation and moving forward. What they are interested in, making sure the right people with COVID are getting the care they need. If there are interventions Health can do to support better outcomes, to manage underlying health conditions.

Some groups, particularly those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, people with obesity, the unvaccinated, people with immune-suppressing conditions or medications that actively suppress the immune response. Those with a high risk of hospitalisation and ICU - and it is important for those individuals to be linked to care. 

Links to information about Managing COVID at home

Staying at home

Many people will be able to self-manage with a positive RAT. Treat yourself as though you have a case. Isolate, and get your household to isolate and take a RAT.

If you have chronic health conditions or conditions above or are in a risk category then NSW Health wants to link you to care so you can manage and minister therapies earlier to reduce your risk of going to the hospital or requiring ICU.

NSW Health is updating all information sheets and aims to have them more accessible and easy to understand. Sheets like maintaining hydration. 

If you test positive and have underlying conditions, please get in touch with your GP.

Please do not go out and about if you have symptoms. 

Keep 000 for emergencies.

New definitions

The NSW Government will adopt nationally consistent principles for the definition of close contact and isolation periods for COVID positive cases, and remove mandatory PCR testing requirements for international arrivals.

Read: Nationally Consistent Principles to Provide Certainty - NSW Government

Positive COVID-19 case

7 days isolation commencing on the day of testing.

Unless otherwise advised a person may leave isolation after 7 days without formal notification or a further test.

People in this category must take precautions (mask etc) and avoid high-risk settings, such as hospitals and aged care for a further 3 days.

Close contacts

Defined as:

  • A household contact, or where more than four hours of exposure has occurred in a residential setting; and
  • Contacts in a setting where Health has determined there to be a high level of transmission.

7 days isolation from the day of exposure, and obtain a PCR test as soon as possible.

High-risk settings, such as hospitals and aged care should be avoided for a further 7 days.

A rapid antigen test (RAT) is required at Day 6 and, if positive, must be followed by a PCR test.

All other contacts

Monitor for symptoms and if symptoms develop, undertake a PCR test.

If you have symptoms

Obtain a PCR test if you have symptoms at any time.

New rules

From Monday 27 December 2021, new rules are in place including:

Do I need to be tested?

Some changes have been brought in during January 2022. 

Due to the large demand for testing around most of Australia, there have been some changes made to testing requirements

  • If you are a close contact and symptomatic, you are still present at a testing centre as we have for the last two years. There will be RAT available at them (for free) as well as PCR tests, to ease pressure on labs. You are urged not to go to a testing centre for 'casual' testing.
  • You no longer any need to get a PCR if you have a positive RAT. Testing requirements were also scrapped in some instances, like weekly tests for truck drivers, before entering a hospital to receive treatment, second test requirement for international guests.

The requirement to get tested will be the same for people who have symptoms or who are a confirmed close contact (new definition from last week: someone who you have been in a 'household-like' setting for more than four hours). They will still present to a testing centre as usual.

"If you are not a close contact, if you are not symptomatic, you do not need to get a test," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

COVID-19 screening at NSW healthcare facilities

Visitor restrictions

With increasing transmission rates across the State and the impact of the Omicron variant of concern, NSW Health has determined that visits to healthcare facilities should be restricted. Visits will be considered based on a risk assessment and in response to individual patient needs and circumstances.

Participants in care are to be risk assessed to be able to continue providing care and support.

In applying a risk assessment, LHDs and SHNs may allow a local exemption to restrictions based on compassionate grounds and on a case-by-case basis.

COVID-19 healthcare screening

This screening advice is for visitors who have been authorised to enter a healthcare facility. All visitors entering an NSW Health hospital or health service must be screened at entry. This advice does not apply to any person seeking urgent medical attention.

A visitor is regarded as someone who is a family member, carer or friend who is visiting, accompanying, or providing support to someone who is a current patient in the healthcare facility.

These questions are to be asked by the screening officer prior to a visitor being permitted entry to a healthcare facility.

  1. Have you checked in using the QR code?
  2. Can you provide evidence of COVID-19 Vaccination?
  3. Do you have any COVID-19 symptoms?
  4. Have you been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case in the past 14 days?
  5. Have you returned from overseas in the past 14 days?

Generally, a visitor who has returned from overseas in the last 14 days should not be permitted to enter a healthcare facility. In exceptional circumstances such as end-of-life, an exemption will need to be made in consultation with the LHD or SHN as to whether a visit will be permitted.

If a person identifies as close contact of a COVID-19 case or has not been fully vaccinated, they should generally not be permitted to enter.

In the case where a visitor has previously had COVID-19 and is fully recovered, but has not yet been able to be vaccinated, a letter or clearance certificate from NSW Health may be used to support an exemption in that regard.

Visitors who are authorised to enter must agree to always wear a mask correctly during the visit and follow any other advice from health care staff.

Current as of Thursday 16 December 2021 

Sourced from: Health Protection NSW

Easy Read

CID NSW has made an Easy Read version of these rules.

You can read What you can do in NSW in Easy Read here. 

Masks, COVID-19 Safe Check-in and vaccination evidence


All people over the age of 12 must wear a face mask: 

  • in indoor areas (e.g. while shopping, when at a library) 
  • in indoor areas of common property of apartment buildings 
  • at a public transport waiting area  
  • while on public transport (including in taxis and rideshare services)
  • if you are working at a hospitality venue and dealing directly with members of the public 
  • on an aircraft when the aircraft is flying above NSW and in the airport.

Exemptions are available. Learn more about face mask rules

Masks are strongly encouraged in settings where you cannot distance yourself from others physically.

COVID-19 Safe Check-in

COVID-19 Safe QR check-ins are required at:

  • retail premises
  • food and drink premises
  • pubs, small bars and registered clubs
  • hairdressers, spas, nail, beauty, waxing, and tanning salons, tattoo parlours and massage parlours 
  • gyms (except dance, yoga, pilates, gymnastics, and martial arts studios)
  • hospitals (except patients of hospitals or hospitals with an electronic entry recording system that records sufficient information that can be used for contact tracing)
  • residential care facilities or hostels (except in relation to the residents)
  • places of public worship, like churches, mosques, temples, meeting houses and synagogues
  • funeral, memorials and gatherings afterwards
  • nightclubs
  • casinos
  • strip clubs, sex on premises venues, sex services premises
  • indoor music festivals with more than 1000 people.

Occupiers of premises are required to continue to take reasonable steps to ensure people can check in or provide their contact details when they enter these premises. 

If you are entering premises where check-in is required, you must:

  • check-in with the Service NSW app
  • provide your details to the occupier of the premises.

Learn more about mandatory electronic check-in.

Vaccination evidence

Most premises in NSW are now open to everyone, regardless of whether you are fully vaccinated or not.

You no longer need to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated at most premises.

However, you still need to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated if you: 

  • attend an indoor music festival with more than 1000 people
  • if you work in certain industries.

Follow the vaccination requirements for workers.

Check what you need as vaccination evidence.

Visiting family and friends

You are not required to be fully vaccinated to have people visit your home or visit people at their home.

However, if you are visiting an aged care facility or disability home, there may be rules that apply to you.

Check with the operator of the facility.

Sport, exercise and outdoor gatherings

Anyone can participate in sport, exercise, and outdoor gatherings. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is not required (except at gyms).
  • Face masks are not required.

Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can operate with no person or capacity limits in place, including group fitness classes.

COVID-19 Safe Check-in is still required at gyms using the Service NSW app, but this does not apply to dance, yoga, pilates, gymnastics or martial arts studios.

Indoor swimming pools are open for all purposes.

Community sports, including matches, competitions and training, can take place for all staff, spectators and participants.

Anyone can participate in an outdoor public gathering, such as a barbecue or picnic.

Education, art and culture


Students have already returned to face-to-face learning.

Follow the rules for schools at the Department of Education

Libraries, museums and galleries

Information and education facilities, including art galleries, museums and libraries are open. 

Anyone can visit an information and education facility. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe check-in is not required.
  • Face masks are required, subject to exemptions.

Shopping and personal services

Anyone can visit retail or business premises. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is required at retail premises from 27 December 2021 in addition to current requirements for personal services businesses.
  • Face masks are required.

Personal services

COVID-19 Safe Check-in is required using the Service NSW app at hairdressers, spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, tattoo and massage parlours.

Restaurants and hospitality

Restaurants, cafes, hospitality venues and nightclubs in NSW are open.

Anyone can visit a restaurant, cafe, hospitality venue or nightclub. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is required at all hospitality venues
  • Face masks are required, subject to exemptions.

NSW Health strongly advises that patrons consider being seated while drinking.

Effective 8 January 2022, singing and dancing in hospitality venues and nightclubs will not be permitted other than for:

  • a performer who is performing or rehearsing on the premises; or 
  • a person who is instructing, or being instructed, in singing or dancing on the premises; or 
  • a wedding service or reception that is being held at a hospitality venue including a function centre. 

Density limits apply to indoor areas of hospitality venues and nightclubs.

Drinking indoors and outdoors may be seated or standing.

Examples of hospitality premises include casinos, restaurants, cafes, function centres, food courts, take away food and drink premises, kiosks, micro-breweries or small distilleries, cellar doors, pubs, registered clubs and small bars.

Construction and renovations

Construction and renovations across NSW can continue. 

Anyone can enter a construction site. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is not required.
  • Face masks are required, subject to exemptions.


Employers can allow staff to work from home at their discretion.

There are no restrictions about travelling for work in NSW.

Events and entertainment

Anyone can visit an entertainment facility or indoor and outdoor recreation facilities. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is not required.
  • Face masks are required, subject to exemptions.

Entertainment facilities include cinemas, theatres, musical halls, concert halls, dance halls, drive-in cinemas and play centres. 

Indoor and outdoor recreation facilities include stadiums, theme parks, zoos, aquariums, and showgrounds.

Indoor music festivals

Rules apply to indoor music festivals with over 1000 people in attendance. An indoor music festival is:

  • a music-focused or dance-focused event
  • performances by a series of persons or groups that are live or pre-recorded,
  • the persons or groups provide musical or live entertainment
  • held indoors, within a defined area
  • is a ticketed event.

Music festivals do not include events that:

  • use a single stage
  • are proposed to be held over a period of less than 5 hours
  • have not more than 2 headlining performers
  • not more than 4 performers in total.

You need to check in with the Service NSW app to indoor music festivals with more than 1000 people.

If you are fully vaccinated you can attend:

  • an indoor music festival with more than 1000 people in attendance
  • an outdoor music festival with up to 20,000 people in attendance

If you are not fully vaccinated you can attend:

  • an indoor music festival with less than 1000 people in attendance
  • an outdoor music festival with up to 20,000 people in attendance.

Organisers of an indoor music festival may request you provide vaccination evidence before entering the venue.

Weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies

Anyone can attend a wedding, funeral or place of worship. 

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • Face masks are required for indoor premises, subject to exemptions.

COVID-19 Safe Check-in is required at places of worship, funerals, memorial services, or gatherings afterwards.

Density limits no longer apply to weddings, funerals or memorials. 

Effective 8 January, singing and dancing at hospitality venues is no longer permitted other than for wedding services and receptions.

Standing while drinking is permitted but it is strongly discouraged by NSW Health.

Travel and transport

You are able to travel anywhere within NSW. 

If you have recently arrived from overseas, follow the rules for international arrivals.

You can travel in a vehicle with people you do not live with. 

You can travel in a vessel with people you do not live with. 

Holidays and holiday homes

There are no restrictions on travelling between Greater Sydney and regional and rural NSW for a holiday or recreational visits within NSW.

Holiday homes and short-term accommodation can be used by anyone.

There are no capacity limits for holiday homes and short-term accommodation.

International travel

New rules are in place for people travelling to NSW from overseas.

For more information about the rules around leaving and entering NSW from outside Australia, visit International travel to and from NSW.


Information sourced from NSW Government

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