COVID-19 Updates - 18th March, 2020

5.30pm, 18th March, 2020

This morning the Prime Minister announced Australia-wide restrictions on non-essential, indoor gatherings of more than 100 persons. This measure is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Based on communications with the NSW and Federal Governments, ClubsNSW can inform clubs that the 100-person restriction should apply separately to each enclosed area within the club premises.

An enclosed area is an area or room that is substantially enclosed by a roof and walls, regardless of whether the roof or walls or any part of them are permanent, temporary, open or closed.

A club with a gaming machine room and a bar may separately impose a 100-person cap on the gaming machine room and a 100-person cap on the bar. The 100-person count includes club staff.

ClubsNSW further advises that the Government has imposed restrictions on outdoor gatherings of more than 500 persons. Outdoor areas which are not enclosed, such as bowling greens and beer gardens, may adopt the 500-person limit. Where there are outdoor gatherings of less than 500 persons, clubs should ensure that there is no more than one person per four square metres.

Clubs may continue to facilitate community sport activities (click here for Government guidance on community sport, among other advice). Clubs should undertake active due diligence to ensure that the 100-person limit per room is not exceeded. Clubs are encouraged to monitor entry and exit of each room or area, for example by using clickers.

More information on the Prime Minister’s announcement can be found in the media release (click here). Further guidance is expected to be provided by the Government on Friday 20 March 2020.

Social distancing

The Government continues to reinforce that businesses should institute measures designed to promote social distancing. The Government’s position is that people should not be within 1.5 metres of each other for an extended period. Clubs are advised to take active measures to enforce social distancing, and communicate these to members:

  • Reassess the patron capacity of each area within the club, beyond the requirement not to exceed 100 persons per room. Clubs should attempt to modify the patron capacity of each room or area such that patrons may comfortably maintain a distance of 1.5 metres. This means that, even where the capacity of a room is already less than 100 persons, clubs should further reduce the capacity. 
  • Display signs reinforcing the safe social distance of 1.5 metres. ClubsNSW has developed signage that clubs may wish to use to reinforce this (click here).
  • Switch off every second gaming machine.
  • Selectively remove tables, chairs and stools from the dining room/s and bar.
  • Implement a social distancing policy on the club courtesy bus
  • Do not continue operations or events that are likely to feature unsafe distancing; including children’s playgrounds, bingo, buffets and live entertainment.

Clubs should implement additional measures where there is a mild to moderate risk that patrons will maintain unsafe distances. For example, a leagues club may continue to screen NRL games, but the club would be advised to reinforce social distance messaging through signage or physical announcements. The Government will issue further guidance on Friday 20 March 2020, including in relation to funerals and wakes.

Scaling down

In his announcement this morning, the Prime Minister suggested that restrictions may be in place for at least 6 months. Given this timeframe, clubs are advised to start taking measures to scale down their operations. ClubsNSW advises clubs to turn their attention to the following matters:

  • Reconsider all capital expenditure. 
  • Reduce operational expenditure.
  • Undertake workforce planning. Further advice on scaling down and workforce planning FAQs will be distributed tomorrow (19th March).

Enhancing cleanliness

Clubs are also encouraged to take the following active measures to enhance cleanliness:

  • Clean “high touch areas” at least every hour of trading, including gaming machine buttons, stair railings, lift buttons, bathrooms. 
  • Make available antiseptic wipes at gaming machines and instruct players to wipe down the machine before and after use. 
  • Remove food and dining that are likely to be touched by many people, including shared nuts and containers where patrons can handle salt or sugar.
  • Bring cutlery to dining tables along with a patron’s food, rather than leaving cutlery at tables or in collection trays or buckets. 
  • Introduce disposable dining items including disposable menus, cups, cutlery, crockery and straws.
  • Encourage the use of contactless payments where possible.
  • Include hand sanitisation devices throughout the club.

ClubsNSW understands that the current environment poses significant and unprecedented challenges to clubs. Staff at ClubsNSW will shortly begin contacting club representatives directly to discuss this guidance.

10.00am, 18th March, 2020

The Prime Minister just announced new measures to control transmission of COVID-19 and these have a direct effect on clubs.

The new measures include a ban on all indoor, non-essential gatherings of more than 100 persons. There will also be a ban on non-essential outdoor gatherings of more than 500 persons.

The Prime Minister announced that these measures commence immediately. This poses several practical and logistical challenges, particularly for larger clubs with greater capacities. ClubsNSW is currently in discussions with state and federal authorities to determine how these measures will be implemented in clubs, including the timeframe for the enforcement of the restriction.

ClubsNSW has sought advice from the authorities and will inform clubs on how they should respond, as soon as practicable. We will provide further information to clubs as soon as this information becomes available.

We are consulting with clubs to develop an approach that allows for zoning within clubs and enhances social distancing measures to reduce risk.

Back to COVID-19 

For more information or any questions, please contact the ClubsNSW Members Enquiries Centre.

Contact Member Enquiries Centre