What are Essential Businesses in Australia?

View our list of essential and non-essential businesses for the Australian COVID-19 lockdown.

Essential Businesses Australia

May 28th, 2020

In order to curb the spread of the novel COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, Australia has instituted restrictions on business operations. Certain businesses have been banned or closed and some have had their operations restricted. Only those considered "essential businesses" will be allowed to remain open.

What is an Essential Business in Australia?

Those businesses that provide a service or product that is necessary for the health and well-being of the public are considered to be essential businesses. The Australian government has released a list of restrictions on non-essential businesses.

Essential Businesses Remaining Open:

  • Shopping centers and other shops not specifically told to close.
  • Medical centers.
  • Pharmacies.
  • Schools until the end of term, with some pupil-free days to plan distance learning.
  • Petrol stations.
  • Waste industry.
  • Utilities companies.
  • Banks.
  • Convenience stores.
  • Freight and logistics.
  • Food delivery.
  • Bottle shops.

Banned Businesses:

  • Registered and licensed clubs.
  • Licensed premises in hotels and pubs.
  • Casinos.
  • Night clubs.
  • Cinemas and entertainment venues.
  • Auctions and open house inspections.
  • Personal services, such as beauty therapy, tanning salons, massage parlors (excluding physiotherapy), and tattoo parlors.
  • Outdoor and indoor markets.
  • Amusement parks and arcades.
  • Indoor and outdoor play centers.
  • Galleries and museums.
  • Libraries.
  • Swimming pools.
  • Gyms and indoor sports venues.
  • Overseas travel.

Restrictions on Food and Drink Businesses:

Business

Restriction

Cafes

Take away and home delivery services only. Cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, or schools as well as prison and military canteens may remain open. Services that provide food and drink to the homeless. Workplace canteens may only offer takeaway services.

Food courts

Delivery and takeaway services only.

Pubs and registered and licensed clubs

Only bottle shops attached to these venues may remain open.

Restricted Businesses:

  • Hairdressers and barbershops are restricted to 1 person per 4 square meter.
  • Boot camps and personal training are restricted to 10 people.
  • Restaurants, cafes, and food courts can only offer delivery and takeaway services.
  • Places of worship may conduct weddings restricted to 5 people.
  • Places of worship and funeral parlors may conduct funerals limited to 10 people, but exceptions can be made in special circumstances to be determined by each state and territory.
  • Visits to residential houses should be limited to very small numbers of people.
  • Concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums, and stadiums can live stream performances by a small group if social distancing is observed.
  • Community and recreation centres may remain open for essential voluntary or public services only, such as food banks or homeless services.
  • Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan and camping parks, and boarding houses will be restricted to permanent residents and workers or those who use them as interim abodes when their residence is not available.

Restrictions on Retail Businesses:

Business

Restriction

Real estate auctions and open houses

Private appointments for inspections only.

Outdoor and indoor markets

Food markets only, other types of markets will be determined by each state and territory.

Australia's States and Territories:

Each of Australia's states and territories has been given autonomy to set restrictions and bans on non-essential businesses. While there are some exceptions that differ by state or territory, these businesses have been asked to close for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.

New South Wales Non-Essential Businesses:

Business

Exceptions

Pubs and registered clubs

Selling food and beverages for takeaway and providing hotel and motel accommadation with food or beverages for guests to consume in their rooms.

Food and drink premises (other than pubs)

Selling food or beverages for takeaway and providing food or beverages for guests to consume in their hotel or motel room.

Entertainment facilities

No exceptions.

Amusement centres

No exceptions.

Casinos

Providing food or beverages to guests to consume in their hotel or motel rooms.

Micro-breweries

Selling food or beverages for takeaway.

Indoor recreation facilities

No exceptions.

Places of worship

Conducting weddings or funerals.

Queensland Non-Essential Businesses:

Business

Exception

Registered and licensed clubs and licensed premises in hotels and sporting clubs

No exceptions.

Indoor gyms, fitness centers, and sporting centers

No exceptions.

Cinemas

No exceptions.

Gambling venues

No exceptions.

Nightclubs, theatres, and other entertainment venues

No exceptions.

Places of worship

Only funerals limited to 1 person per 4 square metres allowed.

Restaurants, cafes, fast-food outlets, and food courts

Only takeaway or hotel room services allowed.

South Australia Non-Essential Businesses:

Business

Exceptions

Restaurants, cafes, and food courts

Restricted to delivery and takeaway services; Cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, schools, prisons, military sites, and homeless services may operate as normal.

Auction houses

No exceptions.

Real estate auctions and open houses

Private inspections by appointment only.

Outdoor and indoor markets

Indoor spaces are restricted to 1 person per 4 square meters. Food markets can operate as normal.

Hairdressers and barbershops

Restricted to 1 person per 4 square metres and appointments of less than 30 minutes.

Businesses which offer beauty therapies and body modifications

No exceptions.

Wellness centres, spas, saunas, bath houses, and massage parlors

No exceptions.

Cinemas

No exceptions.

Licensed hotels, bars, and clubs

No exceptions.

Gambling venues and retail gambling outlets

No exceptions.

Concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums, and function centres

Restricted to live performances by small groups where there is only 1 person per 4 square metres.

Amusement parks and arcades

No exceptions.

Indoor and outdoor play centres

No exceptions.

Community and recreation centres

Restricted to hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.

Gymnasiums, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre, and spin facilities

No exceptions.

Outdoor sporting and recreation venues and activities

Restricted to 10 people per activity with 1 person per 4 square meters.

Boot camps and personal training

Restricted to 10 people per activity with 1 person per 4 square meters.

Public swimming pools

No exceptions.

Accommadation services

Restricted to 1 person per 4 square meters.

Galleries, museums, national institutions, and historic sites

Restricted to takeaway food and beverages.

Local government non-essential facilities and services (libraries, community centres, pools), community facilities, and places of worship

No exceptions.

Venues that host weddings and funerals

Restricted to a maximum of 5 people for weddings and 10 people for funerals where the 1 person per 4 square meters rule is followed.

Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia Non-Essential Businesses:

Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia are following the same closure rules put into place by the Australian government and have so far not made any individual adjustments.

Australia's territories are also currently following the closure rules put into place by the Australian government with no individual adjustments so far.

COVID-19 Resources for Australia:

FAQs:

What is an essential business in Australia?

Those businesses that provide a service or product that is necessary for the health and well-being of the public are considered to be essential businesses. The Australian government has released guidelines for business closures that individual states and territories can adjust as needed.

Can my business remain open if it is considered non-essential?

The majority of non-essential businesses have been banned or restricted. Exceptions mostly relate to takeaway or delivery food services or those businesses that can provide an essential voluntary or public service.

Can I get government support if my business is forced to close?

Yes. The Australian government has released several measures to support Australian businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Read our full article for more information.