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Superseded - Non-essential Indoor Gatherings

This direction has been superseded by the Mass Gatherings Direction (No 2)

Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)

Section 362B

On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for ‘all of Queensland’. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 19 May 2020.

Further to this declaration, l, Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, reasonably believes it is necessary to give the following directions pursuant to the powers under s 362B of the Public Health Act to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

PART 1 — NON-ESSENTIAL INDOOR GATHERINGS OF 100 PERSONS OR MORE

The purpose of this Part is to prohibit non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 persons or more.

Directions

  1. A person who owns, controls or operates premises in the State of Queensland must not allow a non-essential indoor gathering of 100 persons or more to occur on the premises from the time of publication of this direction until the end of the declared public health emergency.
  2. A person must not organise a non-essential indoor gathering of 100 persons or more on premises in the State of Queensland from the time of publication of this direction until the end of the declared public health emergency.
  3. A person must not attend a non-essential indoor gathering of 100 persons or more on premises in the State of Queensland from the time of publication of this direction until the end of the declared public health emergency.

Definitions

For the purposes of the directions in paragraphs 1,2 and 3:

  1. Premises has the same meaning as in Schedule 2 of the Public Health Act 2005, but also includes land.
  2. A non-essential indoor gathering of 100 persons or more occurs when 100 persons or more gather in a single undivided space at the same time, but does not include a gathering:
    1. at an airport that is necessary for the normal business of the airport;
    2. for the purposes of or related to public transportation, including in vehicles or at public transportation facilities such as stations, platforms and stops;
    3. at a medical or health service facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facilities;
    4. for the purposes of emergency services;
    5. at a disability or aged care facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facility;
    6. at a prison, correctional facility, youth justice centre or other place of custody;
    7. at a court or tribunal;
    8. at Parliament for the purpose of its normal operations;
    9. at a food market, supermarket, grocery store, retail store, shopping centre that is necessary for the normal business of those premises;
    10. at a workplace, including but not limited to an office building, factory, manufacturing facility, resource extraction, mine or mineral processing facility, utilities or construction sites that is necessary for the normal operation of those premises;
    11. at a school, university, educational institution or childcare facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facility;
    12. at a hotel, motel or accommodation facility, such as a worker camp, that is necessary for the normal operation of accommodation services;
    13. at a place where 100 persons or more may be present for the purposes of transiting through the place;
    14. specified as exempt from this direction by the Chief Health Officer in writing.

Guidance

For the purposes of the directions in paragraph 1,2 and 3:

  1. For indoor gatherings of fewer than 100 people, additional risk mitigation measures should be applied and followed by those who own, control or operate premises, as well as persons organising and attending the gathering.
  2. In a given occupied space, there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metresof floor space.
  3. Availability of hand hygiene products and suitable waste receptacles, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal.
  4. Promotion of the Department of Health recommendations for unwell individuals to isolate at home and not attend.
  5. For settings where there is ongoing movement and an increased number of interactions between individuals, an individual’s attendance should be less than two hours duration.
  6. For settings that are primarily static such as theatres, restaurants, cinemas, sporting events, an individual’s attendance should be limited to four hours duration.
  7. Social venues, pubs, clubs and nightclubs must ensure the total number of people in a venue, including staff is fewer than 100 per uninterrupted space and the four square metres per individual rule must apply.
  8. Settings such as gyms and indoor fitness centres are not required to close providing they meet the requirements for social distancing and hygiene outlined in 6a. 6b and 6h. Such venues should take actions to ensure regular high standards of environmental cleaning take place.
  9. General hygiene measures at facilities: All facilities should ensure that:
  10. Spaces at each facility, surfaces and objects are regularly cleaned with disinfectant;
  11. Provide hand washing guidance (www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/);
  12. Promote regular and thorough hand washing by staff and participants;
  13. Provide sanitising hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the event (particularly entry or high use areas such as a registration desk, change rooms, toilets or kiosk);
  14. Make sure dispensers are regularly refilled; and
  15. Promote exclusion of ill persons.

Examples:

  • Cinemas and theatres to implement decreased density of patrons, which could include alternate seating, staggered seating and alternate rows, except for family groups who may be seated together.
  • Seated restaurants may need to undertake a significant capacity reduction in order to meet the above density requirements.
  • Weddings and funerals will need larger spaces, staggered attendance or a reduced number of attendees to meet the above density requirements.
  • A symphony orchestra or choir will need to consider the measures mentioned above and amend practices to comply with recommendations.

PART 2 - PENALTIES

A person to whom the direction applies commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the direction.

Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005 provides:

A person of whom a requirement or direction is made under section 362B must comply with the requirement or direction, unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
Maximum penalty—100 penalty units.

Dr Jeannette Young
Chief Health Officer (Qld)
19 March 2020

Published on the Queensland Health website 19 March 2020, 9.59pm

Last updated: 27 March 2020