Pubs reopen, beauty salons back as covid rules lift in Australia

Australia reopens TODAY: Coronavirus restrictions are lifted across the country as pubs open for the first time in two months, road trips are allowed and some gyms are back in business – here’s everything you need to know

  • Queensland opened gyms today and now allows unlimited internal state travel  
  • NSW welcomes 50 customers in pubs as drinkers whoop it up in Sydney
  • ACT allows travel to Sydney and orchestra practice to resume 
  • South Australia opens venues to up to 80 people in groups of 20 
  • Victoria lifts restriction on overnight stays, up to 20 allowed in cafes, pubs
  • WA and NT are already far ahead in reopening but their borders remain shut
  • Queensland insists on border closures despite pressure from other states
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Some of Australia’s tough coronavirus restrictions eased at the stroke of midnight on Sunday, bringing sweet relief across the nation on the first day of winter after almost two months of lockdown. 

Just four people out of the nation’s 478 active cases were in intensive care with coronavirus on Monday as restrictions were lifted to some degree in most states. 

In worst-hit New South Wales, pubs began to open their doors for up to 50 guests instead of 10. 

Drinkers flocked to the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel in Sydney from midnight as the inner-city pub welcomed back its patrons.

The Pyrmont Bridge Hotel (pictured) opened its doors to 50 people in the early hours of Monday morning after a two-month coronavirus break

Gyms have opened in Queensland and can have up to 20 people. Pictured: Nicole Hall, 28, cleans weights at Club Bunker in Brisbane on Sunday ahead of today’s reopening 

These pubgoers were among the first to enter the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel after it opened its doors for the first time in two months 

The state’s 1,500 gyms, however, remain closed to the public, angering Fitness Australia, whose chief executive Barry Elvish called it ‘totally illogical’.

In Victoria, the state with the toughest restrictions, skate parks reopened and up to 20 people can gather for a party – outdoors or indoors – for the first time since the lockdown began in late March. 

Restaurants, cafes and pubs in Victoria can look forward to increasing this number to 50 from June 22 – less than a month away. 

The Pyrmont Bridge Hotel was among the first to reopen in the early hours of Monday morning when the 10-person limit for customers was increased to 50

Pubgoers line up before being scanned in and heading to the ‘Sanitising Station’ at the Sydney pub

Victoria had an increase of four coronavirus cases on Sunday bringing the state’s total to 1649 late on Sunday night. 

Queensland has opened its state to unlimited internal travel including overnight stays although the borders remain shut. 

Cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs in the Sunshine State can now host up to 20 people – with the reform brought forward from June 12. 

Bigger weddings and funerals of up to 50 people are now allowed in several states, and nail salons and gyms are now open in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. 

A gym employee at Brisbane’s Club Bunker wipes down equipment ahead of it’s reopening 

Pubgoers chat with security outside the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel in the early hours of Monday morning 

Freedom: skate parks officially reopened to the public in Victoria today as coronavirus restrictions eased. Pictured: Knox Skate & BMX Park, Melbourne, Victoria on May 26

In Western Australia, almost normal conditions are now in place even though the state borders remain closed.

The national four square meter distancing rule will also be relaxed to two square meters by next Saturday, June 6.

Western Australia’s easing comes despite three new coronavirus cases – one of whom was a three-year-old child – bringing the state’s tally to 589 on Sunday night.

The state now has 28 active cases of which 20 came from the Al Kuwait live export ship stranded in Fremantle.

Pictured: the live export ship Al Kuwait stranded in Fremantle, WA. The coronavirus-infected ship is the source of 20 of the state’s 28 active cases, as the state eases restrictions

More than six million of an estimated 16 million people with smartphones have downloaded the federal government’s COVIDSafe tracing app since it was launched on April 26, helping authorities trace contacts of any diagnosed cases. 

The Federal Health Department said on Sunday night it had not changed its stance on not recommending face masks in public despite recent studies showing they cut transmission rates, as the rate of community transmission of coronavirus is low.

Nationwide the coronavirus tally rose by 10 to 7195 late on Sunday night with 103 people dead, 478 active cases and 6614 patients recovered. 

Globally more than six million cases were confirmed as of early on Monday morning with 371,860 dead, more than three million sick and almost three million recovered. 

Here’s the latest on the virus in your state and the restrictions that were lifted today.   

Customers lining up at the sanitising station to enter the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel in Sydney just after midnight on Monday morning. The pub reopened after a two-month closure as restrictions eased allowing 50 people in. Large venues can fit more if they have separate areas

New South Wales

Travel around NSW is now unrestricted, so visits to friends out of town and camping holidays are open without the need to exploit a loophole.

You can also travel to Victoria and back as unlike other states there are no travel restrictions.

Pubs, cafes, and restaurants have been open for a couple of weeks with 10 customers but are now able to host 50.

Most chose to remain closed rather than open for just 10 patrons as it was not profitable, but some watering holes were willing to reopen for 50 last night. 

At the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel, which reopened in the early hours of Monday after a two-month break, customers  lined up to walk through a sanitising station before splitting up: 17 guests downstairs and 33 upstairs to make the total of 50 work with the physical distancing rules. 

In Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, couples can now have up to 20 guests at their weddings. (Pictured: A couple at Observatory Hill, Sydney, on May 19)

Many businesses, especially pubs and bars, had stayed shut because 10 people wasn’t enough to turn a profit have opened.

Some may even be able to admit 500 people if they have enough separate bars and restaurants in the same complex, such as a big RSL. 

A venue’ patron capacity can increase depending on the number of restaurants and cafes inside.

So a venue with three restaurants and two cafes, for example, can admit up to 250, provided they can maintain the one patron per four square metre rule.

The number is capped at 500, though hotel associations are negotiating to increase that figure for venues that can safely accommodate it. 

Residents in New South Wales can now get a pamper session as beauty salons have reopened

Beauty salons and other personal care businesses can open for 10 customers but must remove their magazines from waiting rooms. Massage and tattoo parlours are still closed.

Museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums and libraries can now reopen but cinemas, theatres and concert halls are still closed.

All of the above are for now subject to the four square metre rule, but in coming weeks this will likely be relaxed to two metres as it is in Western Australia.

However, there is strangely no change to the number of people allowed to meet outside a venue as home visits are capped at five people and 10 outdoors. 

Controversially, there is no timeframe yet for gyms to reopen so they will remain shut for the forseeable future.

Weddings can have 20 guests, funerals 50, and churches 50 – not including staff necessary to put on the service. 

Public school students returned to class on Monday and non-essential regional travel will be allowed from next week.

Workers have been gradually returning to their offices however public transport has a reduced capacity to cope with them due to social distancing requirements.

A maximum of 12 passengers are allowed on buses while trains are limited to 32 people per carriage and up to 45 people are allowed on ferries. 

Before the pandemic, more than 900,000 school students used the transport network to get to school and 110,000 of those caught public transport, Nine News reported.

Moore Park has been turrned into a temporary parking hub for workers to leave their cars as an alternative to public transport.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance warned stations could be closed if they became too busy, while staff would monitor social distancing.


Australia’s most locked down state is ahead of NSW with gatherings of up to 20 people allowed from today including holidays and parties.

The new round of easing allows community facilities and businesses to reopen including libraries, community centres, markets, beauty parlours and tattoo studios. 

Students from kindergarten to grade two, years 11 and 12, and those in specialist schools have already returned to class.  

Businesses have to adhere to strict social distancing rules which include a staying 1.5m apart and having four square metres of space per person.

Playgrounds, skateparks, outdoor gym equipment, museums, drive-in cinemas, zoos and theme parks are all now open to the public, subject to distancing requirements. 

Victoria is easing to Stage Two lockdown on June 1 allowing gatherings of up to 20 people. Pictured: Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia

Camping grounds and caravan parks have opened alongside hotels, but the use of communal bathrooms and kitchens is still banned.

These have a limit of 20 people, the same as cafes, bistros and restaurants which can now reopen. 

Art galleries and museums can also now open for a maximum of 20 people along with zoos and outdoor amusement parks.

Weddings can have 20 guests, plus the celebrant and couple, and up to 50 people allowed at a funeral in addition to the staff conducting it.


Queensland is ahead of both NSW and Victoria in reopening, and brought forward further cuts to restrictions by almost two weeks. 

Gatherings of 20 people are now allowed outside and inside, and all businesses that are open can have 20 customers.  

These include playgrounds, skate parks, outdoor and indoor gyms, health clubs, yoga studios, Museums, galleries, libraries, amusement parks, zoos and arcades.

Queensland’s tourism industry will benefit as residents of the Sunshine State can now travel anywhere in the state they want. Pictured: a turtle at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef

Restaurants, cafes, pubs, RSL and other clubs, hotels, casinos, cinemas, theatres, auditoriums, arenas, concert venues and stadiums are also allowed more  people.

Beauty, nail and tanning salons, tattoo parlours, and spas can also have up to 20 customers.

However, as with the 10-customer limit in much of Australia, many businesses may choose to stay shut as that is not enough people to stay profitable. 

Open homes and auctions and places of worship are also now allowed 20 people. 

Internal travel is now free but the state borders will remain firmly closed despite attacks on the policy from the tourism sector and the NSW Government.  

The border closures are set for review at the end of this month however Ms Palaszczuk has said it was likely they would remain closed until September.   

Tourism bodies from Cairns, the Whitsundays, Mackay and Townsville have called for a North Queensland travel bubble of free movement to help the tourism industry. 

Western Australia 

Western Australia has already reopened almost all internal travel.


New South Wales: 3,095

Victoria: 1,649

Queensland: 1,058

Western Australia: 589

South Australia: 440

Tasmania: 228

Australian Capital Territory: 107

Northern Territory: 29




The Kimberley region, parts of the East Pilbara and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku remain off limits to protect vulnerable remote indigenous communities.

The areas, including the tourism hotspot Broome, have been declared federal biosecurity areas.

The state government has applied to the Commonwealth to have the declarations lifted on June 5, a fortnight earlier than anticipated. 

Accommodation and restaurant bookings were immediately snapped up when most regional borders were reopened and the dining patron limit was doubled to 20 last week, but the state’s north and Goldfields region remained closed to Perth residents.

Northern tourism businesses rely on travellers from the south seeking warmer climes during winter. 

From June 6, anywhere that is open will be allowed 100 patrons, so most pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open at full capacity.

This is further aided by the four metre rule being halved to two metres, in a promising sign for the future for the rest of the country.

The hundreds customer limit will apply to gyms and fitness classes, playgrounds, skate parks, and outdoor gym equipment.

Also to beauty services, nail, tanning and waxing salons, personal-care services, spas and saunas, galleries, museums, theatres, cinemas and concert venues, zoos, amusement parks and arcades.

Venues with divided spaces can have up to 300 customers, which will greatly assist large pubs with multiple floors. 

Full contact sport and training will also finally be back on. 

However, the state government remains adamant the interstate border will remain closed for months – despite opposition from medical experts.

 Pictured: Cable Beach, Broome in The Kimberley region of WA. The Kimberley has been declared a federal biosecurity area to protect remote Aboriginal communities and parts of it will remain closed while other internal state travel restrictions are eased ahead of June 1

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall (pictured left) announced the guidelines for the easing of restrictions on Monday

South Australia

Venues including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are now able to host up to 80 customers.

They must remain in groups of 20 and stay in discrete rooms within the business. Pubs may also serve alcohol without food – but only to seated patrons. 

Cinemas, indoor fitness centres, beauty parlours, theatres, galleries and museums across South Australia can all open as well, but are limited to 10 patrons.  

Rules allowing only one person per four square metres, and 1.5-metre social distancing, remain in place. 

Funerals will be able to host up to 50 mourners, with 20 inside and 30 outside.

Businesses must create coronavirus safety plans and produce them on request.

Under the eased restrictions, non-contact outdoor sport is now able to resume while competition for outdoor contact sports can resume from June 25.

Some restrictions have eased in Tasmania. Returning Tasmanians can to isolate at home for 14 days while others have to quarantine at a hotel. Pictured: Hobart Airport, March 19


Tasmania doesn’t have its next round of relaxed restrictions until June 15, and even then businesses will be limited to just 20 customers.

This is in contrast to most other states that will by then have opened their economies up much further and be contemplating even fewer restrictions. 


Businesses, including gyms, can now have 20 people at a time with this expected to be raised to 50 on June 15.

Cinemas, amusement parks and play centres are also allowed to reopen now.

Pictured: Bugler plays the Last Post at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, April 25. Cultural institutions are expected to open in the ACT for up to 20 people from Saturday

Northern Territory

Interstate borders remain closed, blocking travellers from driving in from Queensland, WA and South Australia.

However, internal travel restrictions within the NT will be lifted on June 5, allowing travel to remote areas and Aboriginal communities. 

The NT Government is urging NT residents to spend on local holidays to help out tour operators.

Many internal restrictions have already been eased in the NT with beauty salons and gyms open already.

From June 5 many more restrictions will come off and Territorians can even go to a bar without consuming food.

They will also be allowed to go to nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, concert or music halls and other approved entertainment venues. 

Amusement venues, community centres and play centres will also open.

Pictured: East Arnhem Land dancers perform at Mutitjulu near Uluru. The Biosecurity Act preventing travel to remote indigenous communities is to be removed 2 weeks early 


The federal government has announced a three-phase plan to ease coronavirus restrictions in the coming months, with the states and territories to determine their own timings.


NSW – What you can do now:

 * Pubs, restaurants and cafes up to 50 people subject to the four-square metre rule, patrons must be seated

* Weddings up to 20 guests and funerals up to 50

* Churches and places of worship up to 50 people

* Beauty salons for 10 people subject to the four square metre rule, magazines removed from waiting areas 

• Museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums and libraries reopen, subject to four square metre rule 

* Travel within the state allowed   

* Outdoor gatherings allowed for a maximum of 10 people 

* Public schools are open but commuter caps remain on Sydney buses, trains and ferries. 

* Playgrounds and outdoor gym equipment use with caution 

 * Beaches open with restrictions including Bondi, Clovelly, Coogee and Maroubra, as well as some ocean pools

VICTORIA – what you can do now

* 20 people allowed inside restaurants, cafes, the dining areas of pubs and in the home subject to physical distancing 

• Zoos, galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, outdoor amusement parks, arcades, libraries and community facilities can open for 20 people maximum, subject to four square metre rule 

• Beauty therapy, spas, tattoo studios, massage parlours to reopen for 20 people subject to the four square metre rule

• Market stalls to re-open subject to four square metre and distancing rules

• Drive-in cinemas to reopen 

• Place of worship: up to 20 people

• Weddings up to 20 people not including the celebrant and couple

• Funerals up to 50 people not including staff, subject to four square metre rule

*  Overnight stays in hotels, motels, camping and caravan parks

• Skate parks and playgrounds reopen  

* Schools open June 9 with a staggered return for students starting with students in Prep and Years 1, 2, 11 and 12 on May 26.

* Year 11 and 12 students will sit exams from November 9 to December 2. 

* Indoor and outdoor swimming pools for 20 people with a limit of three people per lane

* Outdoor group sport for 20 people

* AFL begins on June 11 


* 50  people allowed inside restaurants, cinemas, concert venues, theatres, cafes and pubs subject to 1.5m distance rule

 * Alpine resorts open to skiers 

• Indoor sports centres and venues up to 20 people subject to the four square metre rule, group activities limited to 10 people

• Gyms reopen with up to 20 people per space, subject to four square metre rule and up to 10 people per group 

• Galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, outdoor amusement parks, zoos and arcades allowed up to 50 visitors

* Up to 100 people to be allowed in enclosed spaces in mid-July


What you can do now: 

* Unlimited travel within the state including overnight stays 

* Indoor gyms reopen and from Friday June 5 can have up to 20 people 

* Restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs can open for up to 20 people. From June 5, large venues can host up to 20 people in each separate area

* Shopping for non-essential items 

* Public school students in grades 2 to 10 have resumed full-time classes with no commuter caps on public transport  

• Some beauty therapies including nail salons for up to 10 people 

• Libraries, playgrounds, skate parks, outdoor gyms, open homes and auctions open for up to 10 people

• Weddings up to 10 people

• Funerals up to 20 people indoors, 30 outdoors 

• Public pools and lagoons up to 10 people and with an approved plan for more than 10 people

• Non-contact sport for up to 10 people 

Queensland – what you can do from June 12: 

* Subject to the four square metre rule and social distancing, up to 20 people will be allowed to gather indoors and outdoors 

* Museums, art galleries, libraries, historic sites, outdoor amusement parks, zoos, arcades, concert venues, theatres, arenas and stadiums up to 20 people 

* Non-contact indoor and outdoor community sport, personal training sessions, parks, gyms, health clubs, skate parks and yoga studies can all have up to 20 people 

* Weddings, places of worship and religious ceremonies up to 20 people

* Hiking, camping and other recreational activities 

* Open homes and auctions up to 20 people

* State borders remain closed  


What you can do now 

 * Stage two easing of restrictions began June 1 allowing more customers to be served and cinemas to reopen

* Large venues can host up to 80 people in groups of 20 provided they can keep the groups in discrete rooms within the business 

* Pubs allowed to serve drinks without a meal but customer must be seated 

* Gyms, indoor fitness centres, cinemas, galleries, museums and theatres can open with a maximum of 20 people

 • Beauty salons, tattoo and massage parlours can re-open subject to four square metre rule

 * Funerals of up to 20 people indoors and 30 people outdoors plus those officiating

* Parks, playgrounds and national parks are open with hotels, camp sites and caravan parks open subject to the four square metre rule 

* Driving lessons allowed, subject to social distancing

* Students are already back in school full time

* Non-contact sport can resume but contact sports must wait till June 25 


What you can do now: Phase Two (began May 18) 

* Cafes, restaurants and meal service inside pubs, bars, clubs, can serve up to 20 customers

* Indoor and outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people

* Weddings and funerals of up to 20 guests indoors or 30 outdoors 

* Students are already back in school full time.

* Fitness classes, pools, non-contact sport allowed up to 20 people

* Churches, religious houses, libraries and community centres up to 20 people

WA – What you can do coming soon: 

* June 6: four square metre rule relaxed to two square metres for both indoor and outdoor venues 

* Gyms and real estate auctions resume, beauty salons, arcades, galleries, museums, cinemas, zoos, food courts, playgrounds and wildlife and amusement parks to open. 

*  Public gathering limits raised to 100, including for cafes, pubs and restaurants. Venues with divided spaces can have up to 300  

* WA to reopen almost all intrastate borders on Friday June 5 except for the Kimberley, parts of the East Pilbara and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku to protect vulnerable indigenous communities 

* Further easing of restrictions expected on June 8

* State border remains closed


What you can do now: 

* Restaurants, cafes, food service inside pubs, clubs and RSL: up to 10 people

* Aged care home residents can now have two visitors once a day

* Funerals up to 20 people indoors, 30 outdoors

* Visitors to your home: up to 5 people

*  Libraries and government centres: up to 10 people

* Kindergarten to Year Six students and Years 11 and 12 are back in school with the remainder to return on June 9 

* TAFE and training centres open to small groups of students for practical learning and assessment

* Parks, playgrounds, pools and outdoor fitness equipment opened for up to 10 people. National parks open only those who live less than 30km away 

Tasmania – what you can do from June 15: Stage Two  

* Up to 20 people can gather indoors and outdoors including in restaurants, cinemas and museums

• Beauty parlours, tanning salons, tattoo studios can open 

• Gyms and bootcamps for up to 20 people

• Funerals of up to 50 people

• Open homes and auctions with up to 20 people

* Parks and outdoor fitness equipment for up to 20 people  

• Outdoor community sports for up to 20 people

• Indoor sports including pools  for up to 20 people but no spectators

• Intrastate travel restrictions lifted, hotels and caravan parks open, camping allowed

* State border remains closed

 What you can do in Tasmania from July 13: Stage Three

 * Aged care residents can have up to five visitors, multiple times each week

* Gatherings of between 50 and 100 people 

• Bars, nightclubs, casinos and gaming to open

• Markets and food courts to open

• State border remains closed


What you can do now: 

* The NT has relaxed restrictions on parks, golf, fishing and swimming.

* Indoor activities are allowed with a two-hour limit 

* Restaurants and bars can reopen to serve food with a two-hour limit, with entertainment venues to come.

* National parks are open for camping and swimming 

• Beauty salons, gyms, libraries and places of religious worship open 

 * Gatherings up to 10 people subject to social distancing  

• Shopping centre food courts can serve food

• Non-contact sports with indoor activities under a two-hour time limit

• Art galleries, museums, public memorials, public historic sites, zoos and wildlife facilities are open.

* Restricted access to indigenous communities remain in place until at least June 5

* Students are back at school full time

* Territory borders remain closed

NT – what you can do from midday, June 5:  

• The two-hour limit on indoor activities is removed

• Bars and clubs will be allowed to operate without food being compulsory,

• Cinemas and entertainment venues can open

• Team sports such as football and netball allowed 

• Sporting arenas and stadiums can open with seating in an approved configuration 

• All licensed gaming activities including TAB open

* Travel to restricted indigenous communities is possible after June 5 


What you can do now 

* Visit NSW for a holiday

* Large clubs allowed more than 150 people, with a limit of 20 in each room

* Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people allowed. Restrictions on sport and recreation eased

* Weddings and funerals have a 20 guest limit inside, and 30 outside 

* Choirs, bands and orchestras can resume practice and national institutions can open to 20 people at a time

* Students in Years 3, 4 and 10 back in classrooms

* School Years 5, 6, 8 and 9 to return on June 2   


* Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, public transport, most state schools, hairdressers, petrol stations, postal and freight services, bottle shops, newsagents, retail shops

 Source: AAP, wires. Correct as of 1 June 2020,

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