PLAYMAKER
The Playmaker
Let's play
PLAYMAKER
  • It's Sunday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Sydney
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?
  • LET'S PLAY
TRAVEL & LEISURE

Here's What You Can and Can't Do Under Sydney's New Outdoor Recreation Rules

The New South Wales Government has loosened restrictions around heading out of the house to eat, drink, read a book or relax outdoors. Here's what you need to know.
By Concrete Playground
September 13, 2021
  shares
By Concrete Playground
September 13, 2021
  shares

Before the pandemic gave our everyday lives a big shake-up, we're betting that your spring routine was full of picnics. Sydney is a great city for packing a basket, gathering the gang and pulling up a rug, and then enjoying everything that comes next. But given that nothing has been quite normal lately — including the fact that Sydneysiders have spent much of 2021 in lockdown — picnics haven't played a big part in this spring so far. Thankfully, from Monday, September 13, that's changed.

Back at the end of August, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that because the state had hit six million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (yep, all in arms), the government would be loosening a few rules. Specifically, it'd be easing restrictions around outdoor recreation — so, for "sitting for relaxation, or to eat, drink or read outdoors", as defined on the NSW Government website — and changes would come into effect in all parts of the city.

Now that the day for those eased conditions has arrived, you might be wondering exactly what's allowed. The short version: if you're fully vaccinated, your options just expanded. If you've had both jabs and live outside of Sydney's Local Government Areas of concern, you can enjoy outdoor recreation in groups of five as long as all adults are fully vaxxed and you all stay within your LGA or within five kilometres from home. Or, if you live in a hotspot LGA, you can enjoy two hours of outdoor recreation with the family members you live with, or with one other person if you live alone — as long as all adults are fully vaxxed, you stay within five kilometres of your house and you abide by the nighttime curfew.

The list of things you can and can't do can be a bit overwhelming, though. So, we've broken the new outdoor recreation rules down for you in more detail.

This information is correct as of Monday, September 13. 

cp-line

Destination NSW

What is outdoor recreation?

First up, you're probably wondering what's meant by outdoor recreation, because it's not the kind of term we all used to describe heading out of the house before the pandemic.

NSW Health advises that "recreation includes outdoor leisure activities such as sitting for relaxation, or to eat, drink or read outdoors". So, that includes heading to a park or beach to have a picnic, just sit and read, or even just to sit.

cp-line

Who can leave the house for outdoor recreation?

Under the new rules that came into effect on Monday, September 13, the definition of outdoor recreation hasn't changed. But, who can head out for that exact reason has been given a revamp.

The main rule: if you're fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you have more options.

The restrictions also vary depending on where you live — so whether you live outside of Greater Sydney's Local Government Areas of concern, or within them.

Outside of hotspot LGAs:

For people who don't live in an LGA of concern (so, in the Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta and Strathfield LGAs, as well as 12 suburbs in the Penrith), you have two options.

If you're fully vaxxed, you can now can attend an outdoor gathering of up to five adults for outdoor recreation, as long as all everyone with you that's aged 16 years or over is also fully vaccinated.

If you haven't had both your jabs, you can only enjoy outdoor recreation with one other person that you don't live with, or your entire household — or your nominated visitor under your singles bubble. This rule hasn't changed, and remains in place even with new eased rules coming into effect for folks who've been fully vaxxed.

Inside hotspot LGAs:

For people who do live in one of the LGAs of concern and are fully vaxxed, you can go out for outdoor recreation with fully vaccinated members of your household for two hours per day — or with one other fully vaccinated person who is not a member of your household.

Not vaccinated, but live in one of the LGAs of concern? This doesn't apply, as you're not able to go out for outdoor recreation.

cp-line

When can I leave the house for outdoor recreation?

Again, this depends on where you live — and if you're vaccinated.

Outside of hotspot LGAs:

Fully vaxxed, and live outside of the LGAs of concern? Then you can enjoy outdoor recreation whenever you like. There's no curfew on when you can go out.

If you're not in a hotspot LGA, this actually also applies to people who aren't vaccinated — but they can still only enjoy outdoor recreation with their household or one other person.

Inside hotspot LGAs:

For people who live within an LGA of concern and have had both jabs, you need to abide by the 9pm–5am curfew when you're going out for outdoor recreation — and you can only go out for outdoor recreation for up to two hours per day.

Not vaxxed, and live in a hotspot LGA? Again, you're not permitted to go out for outdoor recreation.

cp-line

How many people can I have a picnic with or hang out with outside?

To reconfirm, picnics and just sitting and relaxing outside are covered under the definition of outdoor recreation. For further information, see the point on this above.

And, as keeps proving the case, how many pals you can meet up with depends on where you live — and if you're jabbed.

Outside of hotspot LGAs:

If you don't reside in one the LGAs of concern and you're fully vaccinated, there's a five-person limit. So, you and four other fully vaxxed mates — who don't have to live with you — can all meet for a picnic or just to hang out outside.

And, that five-person limit only covers adults. So, beyond those five fully vaxxed people over the age of 18, you can have any number of children aged 12 or under in attendance. Also, the kids don't need to have had their jabs, given that the vaccination campaign isn't currently open to this age group.

Not vaccinated, but live outside the hotspot LGAs? Again, you can only exercise or enjoy outdoor recreation with one other person that you don't live with, or your entire household — or your nominated visitor under your singles bubble. This rule hasn't changed, and remains in place even with new eased rules coming into effect for folks who've been fully vaxxed.

Inside hotspot LGAs:

As mentioned above, for people who do live in one of the LGAs of concern and are fully vaxxed, you can go out for outdoor recreation with fully vaccinated members of your household for two hours per day — or with one other fully vaccinated person who is not a member of your household.

Not vaccinated, but live in one of the LGAs of concern? This doesn't apply, as you're not able to go out for outdoor recreation.

cp-line

Where can I enjoy outdoor recreation?

Yes, we're going to say it again — it depends on whether you've been vaccinated, and also where you live.

Outside of hotspot LGAs:

Everyone outside of the LGAs of concern can only undertake outdoor recreation either within their Local Government Area or within five kilometres of their home.

This applies whether or not you're vaccinated.

Inside hotspot LGAs:

People inside the LGAs of concern who've been fully vaccinated can only undertake outdoor recreation within five kilometres of their home.

Not vaccinated, but live in one of the LGAs of concern? You're not able to go out for outdoor recreation.

cp-line

Do I need proof that I'm vaccinated?

In a word, yes. If you're going out for outdoor recreation, you must have proof of your vaccination with you at all times.

If you're requested to show that proof of vaccination to a police officer, you must do so.

Need to know where to find proof you've been jabbed? Our guide to booking your vaccination in Sydney explains that, handily.

cp-line

Just checking, what does 'fully vaccinated' mean?

There's no harm in making sure you know exactly what's expected when it comes to being fully vaxxed.

The rules around this state that "fully vaccinated means you have had two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccination or have a medical contraindication certificate issued to you."

cp-line

Do I have to wear a mask?

Yes, masks are compulsory unless you're at home.

That means that you need to wear them whenever you're outdoors, other than if you're exercising; in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces (if you can't work from home, that is); on public transport, and while waiting for public transport; at outdoor markets and outdoor shopping strips; and standing in an outdoor queue waiting for a coffee or something to eat.

You'll still obviously need to carry a mask with you at all times whenever you leave the house — even if you are exercising.

The full list of rules — and exemptions to those rules — is available on the NSW Government website.

cp-line

Can I drive to a park for outdoor recreation?

Yes, but you must abide by the distance limits.

So, in parts of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern, you must stay within your local government area for outdoor recreation, or within five kilometres of where you live.

In LGAs or suburbs of concern, you're limited to a strict five-kilometre limit.

And carpooling with people outside of your household still isn't allowed anywhere in Sydney, so you can't drive with your mates or family members if they don't live with you.

cp-line

Can I go to the beach?

Yes, but only if a beach falls within your distance limit.

Again, in parts of Sydney that aren't classed as LGAs or suburbs of concern, you must stay within your local government area for outdoor recreation, or within five kilometres of where you live.

In LGAs or suburbs of concern, you're limited to a strict five-kilometre limit.

During Sydney's last lockdown, many local beaches closed, so you'd be best to check your local council website before heading out.

And if you're driving to a beach because it's within your distance limit, remember that carpooling with people outside of your household still isn't allowed anywhere in Sydney — so you can't drive with your mates or family members if they don't live with you.

cp-line

Can I go to a coastal/regional town?

No, you cannot. You can not travel beyond your distance limit for outdoor recreation.

It's also now an offence to leave Greater Sydney to travel to regional NSW without a reasonable excuse. If you do need to travel for an allowed reason, you'll need to get a permit.

cp-line

Can I road trip to an out-of-town beach for a day?

Again, no. You can't take a day trip out of town for outdoor recreation.

And, once more, it's now an offence to leave Greater Sydney to travel to regional NSW without a reasonable excuse. If you do need to travel for an allowed reason, you'll need to get a permit.

cp-line

For more information on what you can and can't do in NSW, head to the NSW Government website or read the NSW COVID-19 public health orders.

To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

Published on September 13, 2021 by Concrete Playground

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter Pixel