COVID Safe events over the festive holiday season


Gatherings and events are a great way for people to look after their mental health and enjoy some time with friends and family. By joining in activities people can reconnect with loved ones, celebrate those important occasions or have some time to rejuvenate.

To help everyone have a good time and stay safe, here are some reminders for businesses, organisations and community groups wanting to hold events and activities over the festive holiday season.

Public Health Directions and the COVID Safe Events Framework

Businesses, organisations and community groups that want to hold events and activities over the festive holiday season must ensure they comply with the requirements of the Chief Health Officer Public Health Directions and the COVID Safe Events Framework—this means operating under a COVID Safe Event Checklist, approved COVID Safe Event Plan or Approved Industry Plan.

Key principles for safe events

Wherever possible events and activities should be held outside and should adhere to the following key principles:

Physical distancing

  • Physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres must be maintained at all times unless people are from the same household.
  • Use floor markings and signs to identify 1.5 metre distance between people queuing.
  • Use spaced tables and chairs to separate household groups.
  • Use announcements or marshals to issue verbal reminders.
  • Where possible, set up separate entry and exit points to prevent people being forced close together.

Occupant density

  • For events and activities held indoors, the maximum occupant density is 1 person per 2 square metres for venues and businesses, except for accommodation providers who must continue to abide by the 4 square metre rule in sleeping quarters.
  • Events and activities held outdoors are able to have 1500 attendees under a COVID Safe Event checklist.

Physical distancing rules apply so people should remain 1.5 metres away from others.

Contact information

  • Organisers of events and activities must collect and keep contact information of attendees for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days.
  • This information must include name, phone number, email address, and the date and time period of patronage.

Cleaning and hygiene

  • Ensure frequently touched areas and surfaces (for example tables, door handles and push plates) are cleaned at least hourly with detergent or disinfectant.
  • Ensure handwash facilities, including clean running water, liquid soap and paper towels, are available for all staff, volunteers and visitors at the event or activity. If handwashing facilities are not readily available, provide appropriate alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

Singing and dancing

  • Performers can reduce distance from audience from 4m to 2m, except choirs which remain at 4m from the audience.
  • Dancing in outdoor spaces such as outdoor beer gardens and music festivals is allowed (but limited to 1 person per 2 square metres).

Food and drink

  • Festive events that include the provision or sale of food and drink should set up separate areas for ordering/payment and collection with separate entry and exit points wherever possible.
  • Self-serve buffets, grazing/share plates are not permitted. This requirement extends to organisations providing festive meal services.
  • Self-serve drinks stations, other than public water bubblers, are not permitted.
  • Non-disposable crockery/cutlery/glassware is permitted only when cleared after each course and washed using a commercial grade dishwasher or glasswasher.

Festive displays

  • Festive displays such as shop window scenes, festive light displays and festive/religious displays must be managed so that visitors are required to maintain at least 1.5 metres physical distancing from other household groups.
  • Festive displays should not encourage physical interaction (for example touching) to limit cleaning requirements.
  • If snacks or treats are offered, ensure they are individually  wrapped.

Fireworks and events or activities that encourage gatherings in public spaces

  • Organisers are responsible for taking measures to ensure people attending events or activities that encourage gatherings in public spaces adhere to physical distancing requirements. This may require the use of signage, announcements and marshalling to achieve compliance.

Festive photo opportunities

  • Festive photo opportunities should be organised so there is no need for physical interaction, for example persons wishing to have photos taken with Santa or other festive characters, should ensure physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres is maintained between household groups.
  • Photo opportunity locations, for example Santa’s sleigh/bench should be cleaned at least hourly with detergent or disinfectant.
  • Festive photo opportunities should be organised to prevent queuing/crowding, for example via the use of booking/ticketing systems.

Gift donations

  • While there is no sustained community transmission of COVID-19 in Queensland the provision of gift donations (for example food, toys, gift vouchers) is supported.

What will happen to community events and activities if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland

If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in Queensland which includes sustained community transmission, further restrictions may be put in place which may limit gatherings or events and activities either statewide, or within identified communities.

Events or activities operating under approved Industry Plans, Event Checklists or Event Plans may be cancelled at short notice.

Further information

You can find COVID-19 health advice on the Queensland Government website, including the current status in Queensland and how to protect yourself and others.

If you are seeking clarification on a Public Health Direction or have any questions, please call 134 COVID (134 268).

Visit Unite against COVID-19 for information about the Queensland Government response, including current requirements  for social distancing, border closures and business restrictions.

The Department of Health has a variety of COVID-19 Resources including fact sheets, videos, signage and posters with detailed information to guide businesses and organisations in helping reduce the spread of COVID-19.