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NSW Health Has Confirmed That Sitting Down to Eat Outdoors Is Permitted During Sydney's Lockdown

You can have a picnic, or sit down to read while you're out of the house for recreation — but only if you're not in Greater Sydney's Local Government Areas of concern.
By Sarah Ward
August 24, 2021
By Sarah Ward
August 24, 2021

UPDATE, Wednesday, August 25: All of the below information is based on the current NSW Government website and the NSW COVID-19 public health orders, which state that you can undertake "exercise or recreation outdoors in groups of no more than two (excluding members of the same household)" — and that "you can exercise with one other person that you do not live with, or your nominated visitor ("singles bubble")."

This information is correct as per the aforementioned NSW Government websites as of Tuesday, August 24, when the article was first published. It remains correct as per the same sites at 12.30pm on Wednesday, August 25, when this update was written.


Since the Greater Sydney region went into lockdown at the end of June, Sydneysiders have been told to stay at home. That's been the rule, with leaving the house only allowed for one of four main reasons. But, exactly how those restrictions work in practical terms isn't always straightforward — and those rules have been changed and tightened as lockdown has been extended until at least the end of September, too.

One area that's been particularly murky is heading out of the house for exercise and recreation. Working up a sweat is clearcut, but a few of things fall under recreation that you mightn't think would be permitted. To clarify, NSW Health has shared a few details via Instagram Stories — in addition to details on the NSW Government website and in the NSW COVID-19 public health orders — and if you're not in Greater Sydney's Local Government Areas of concern and you'd like to have a picnic or just sit in the park and read, you're in luck.

People in LGAs of concern are under stricter rules, including a 9pm–5am curfew, which applies 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. In these areas, going outside for recreation isn't currently allowed. But for everyone else in Greater Sydney outside of these spots, you can indeed have a picnic or sit down to read while you're out of the house for recreation.

Destination NSW

NSW Health advises that "recreation includes outdoor leisure activities such as sitting for relaxation, or to eat, drink or read outdoors" — and that they're all currently allowed in most of the state during lockdown.

You do need to abide by the other applicable rules, however, which means that you can only undertake exercise and recreation outdoors with one other person. That said, there's no rule requiring that other person to come from your household, or to be part of your singles bubble. Or, you can do so with the folks you live with if there's more than two people in your household.

And, you're asked to stay within your LGA — or within five kilometres of home if you do venture beyond your LGA for recreation.

Also, you're not allowed to carpool with anyone outside of your household, and you need to wear a mask if you're outdoors and you're not exercising — other than when you're actually eating and drinking, that is. That mask rule came into effect on Monday, August 23.

For more information on what you can and can't do in NSW under lockdown, check out our rundown of the current rules. You can also 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 NSW, head to the NSW Health website.

Top image: Destination NSW.

Published on August 24, 2021 by Sarah Ward


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