Easing of restrictions on liquor and gaming business closures due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

With the low number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases over recent weeks, we can begin to ease restrictions on the closures of liquor and gaming businesses.

The Queensland roadmap to easing restrictions outlines stages of how restrictions will be eased. We are currently in Stage 5.

Read about how this affects hospitality and other industries and businesses.

Under Stage 5, all businesses can open in line with the COVID Safe framework. This means you must operate under either:

  • an approved industry COVID Safe plan
  • a COVID Safe checklist or a COVID Safe event checklist, where there is no approved plan for their business.

Read about COVID Safe businesses to learn more about the framework and checklists.

Return to standing and seated drinking and dining

Due to reduced COVID-19 cases, hotels, pubs, clubs and nightclubs can again allow patrons to stand while eating or drinking, including being able to stand up while enjoying a drink at the bar.Patrons and staff should continue to practice physical distancing (1.5m between people, unless from the same household).

Venues are required to manage the risk and numbers of congregated patrons in accordance with their industry COVID Safe plan or checklist.

What to do if someone with COVID-19 visits your venue

In recent weeks multiple Queensland business owners have been informed that someone with COVID-19 visited their venue, prompting them to close their doors to clean, disinfect and manage waste before reopening.

If you're unsure of what you need to do if this happens, read the recommendations for cleaning, disinfection and removal of waste from an environment where people with confirmed, probable or suspected COVID-19 infection may have been.

Approved industry COVID Safe plans

An approved industry COVID Safe plan provides advice on how to operate within a COVID Safe framework. You do not need to be a member of an industry association to access the plans.

The following plans are available for Queensland's liquor and gaming industries:

  • Queensland hotels, and clubs, nightclubs and adult entertainment
  • Queensland wineries
  • Food services.

View the list of approved industry COVID Safe plans.

These plans have been updated to include the requirements for:

  • patrons to be seated while eating or drinking
  • venues to collect patron's entry times, and exit times (where possible)
  • venues to ensure that any mobile application used to collect patron contact details can provide details immediately (or at least within an hour) on request and that patrons are using the application when entering the venue.

The updated COVID Safe checklist for seated dining and drinking (PDF, 173KB) is also available.

Once you have the plan specific to your venue, you must:

  • review the plan, implement the necessary controls and complete any checklists
  • complete the statement of compliance and display this at your venue

You do not need to submit any additional plans or checklists for approval, but you must be prepared to show an enforcement officer how you are complying if they visit your venue.

You must also ensure existing employees undertake a free online COVID Safe training course, provided by TAFE Queensland, within 2 weeks of reopening. Employees who start work after this 2-week period must complete the course prior to commencing.

Record-keeping for contact information

Venues must collect and keep contact information for all guests and staff for 56 days (this is not required for takeaway or home delivery).

This information must include:

  • full name
  • phone number
  • email address (or physical address if email not available)
  • date and time period that each patron attended the venue.

To capture the time period, businesses must keep a person's 'in time' and the person's 'out time', or have policies that restrict time periods (e.g. 2-hour table limit) or inform the person they are more likely to be contacted by authorities for contact tracing if an 'out-time' is not provided.

There is no single method for collecting or storing contact tracing information, this is a decision for individual businesses, but information must be provided immediately (i.e. within 1 hour) when required by a public health officer.

If using technology (i.e. an app or online form) you also need to have controls in place to ensure:

  • staff are checking patrons have entered all the relevant information
  • information is stored securely.

When technology is used, a manual option must still be available for those who don't have a smartphone or device or don't feel comfortable using this technology.

Download the sign for providing contact details or you can develop your own.

Learn more about collecting and storing customer information during COVID-19.

Failure to provide this information in a timely manner may result in enforcement action (fine of $1,334 for individuals and $6,672 for corporations), including closing offending businesses.

Requirements for wineries open to patrons

Wine licensees may have welcomed patrons back to their premises under Stage 3. As a winery operator, you should understand and follow the current restrictions, including physical distancing and contact tracing measures.

Note that the industry COVID Safe plan for Queensland wineries has been changed to:

  • clarify the definitions of physical distancing, period of patronage and seated drinking and dining
  • explain the importance of contact tracing
  • explain operating under multiple approved industry COVID Safe plans
  • cover holding events
  • update the statement of compliance.

Make sure you download and review the latest plan (PDF, 814KB) (dated 29 August 2020) and complete your updated statement of compliance (PDF, 234KB).

Holding events at wineries

Under current restrictions, if you're hosting an event at your winery, you must comply with the:

It is the responsibility of the winery hosting the event to review and know their obligations, including compliance with the direction on restrictions on businesses, activities and undertakings and ensuring that there is no dancing at the event, unless it is for a specified exception.

Tour groups at wineries and physical distancing

Under the COVID Safe plan, you are responsible for ensuring patrons from different tour groups visiting your winery do not mingle and are physically distanced at 1.5 metres.

Upon the arrival of tours at your winery, you are required to:

  • determine if the people on the bus are from 1 or separate groups (i.e. there could be 15 people on the bus who comprise 2 families of 5 and a friendship group of 5 – these are considered 3 separate groups)
  • put measures in place to ensure physical distancing is practiced between each group (i.e. prevent mingling between groups; ensure groups are queued and seated 1.5 metres apart).

The Queensland Tourism and Accommodation COVID Safe plan provides guidelines for tour operators.

Changes for entertainment venues

Entertainment venues can continue to operate under Stage 5 as long as they are meeting the current requirements.

Indoor and outdoor area occupancy

You may have 1 person per 2 square metres on your premises in outdoor areas.

The number of patrons permitted in indoor areas has also changed to 1 person per 2 square metres, or if the venue is below 200 square metres indoors, 1 person per 2 square metres up to a maximum of 50 people.

Remember that when calculating maximum allowable numbers, you can only consider spaces that are open to and used by the general public.

Venues will need to monitor the movement of patrons between indoor and outdoor areas of their premises to ensure density requirements are not breached.

Gambling venues

Since Stage 3 of eased restrictions, casinos, gaming or gambling venues can operate in compliance with an approved COVID Safe industry plan.

This means they can:

  • serve food and drinks
  • provide takeaway food and home delivery
  • operate for gaming, including electronic gaming machines.

They cannot operate:

  • dance floors (unless in an outdoor area)
  • buffets or other food-serving arrangements that allow multiple people to touch communal food or share utensils (e.g. grazing tables and shared platters). But wait staff can serve a patron food from a buffet or platter.

Each casino has their own individual COVID Safe site-specific plan.

Adult entertainment venues and nightclubs

Adult entertainment and nightclubs can operate under a new checklist in the Queensland hotels, clubs, nightclubs and adult entertainment industry COVID Safe plan.

Note that this industry plan has been changed to:

  • clarify the definitions of physical distancing, period of patronage and seated drinking and dining
  • explain the importance of contact tracing
  • explain operating under multiple approved industry COVID Safe plans
  • cover holding events
  • update the statement of compliance.

To prevent unnecessary contact or transmission, indoor nightclub dance floors must remain closed. Nightclubs can use this space for additional seating.

Operating gaming areas

If you're operating gaming machines at your venue, you must ensure:

  • gaming machines are regularly sanitised after use
  • you have no more than 1 person per 2 metres square.

It is also important that you encourage physical distancing. Ensuring that patrons maintain a safe distance between each other (unless from the same group) is vital to reduce the risk of community transmission.

To help manage this, consider:

  • moving or removing chairs
  • placing signage on alternate machines
  • use floor markers
  • only allow people from the same group to sit side-by-side at gaming machines.

The COVID Safe checklist for gaming rooms under Stage 5 is on pages 37–39 of the COVID Safe plan (PDF, 827KB).

Dance floor restrictions

For licensed venues operating under their approved COVID Safe industry plan, dancing is permitted in outdoor areas, though some exceptions exist for indoor areas.

Stage 5 is not a return to business as usual and authorities will continue to monitor activities and adjust restrictions as appropriate.

Our compliance officers will continue inspecting venues and will take enforcement action (a $6,670 fine) against those operating in breach of these requirements.

The exceptions for indoor dancing being permitted under the Restrictions on business, activities and undertakings direction (No. 9) or an approved Industry COVID Safe Plan are:

  • for a venue hosting a wedding or school formal
  • to facilitate a structured exercise class in accordance with the Industry COVID Safe plan for fitness facilities
  • for an adult entertainment performance, with physical distancing between the performer and the patron.

For licensed venues operating under another plan or checklist, such as restaurants, indoor dance floors cannot be used for dancing.

These requirements are for the safety of your staff, patrons and Queensland communities.

Follow these steps on how to close your indoor dance floor and manage other areas of your venue where dancing may occur:

  • increase security presence in the area
  • place furniture (tables and chairs) in the area for patron use
  • use obvious barriers and signage so patrons know the area is off-limits for dancing
  • ensure DJs are not encouraging patrons to dance, but instead assist in reinforcing the restrictions.

Read more about restrictions for businesses, activities and undertakings.

Managing queuing at your venue

With limited capacity in licensed venues during Stage 5, not all patrons may be able to gain entry to your venue.

By law, licensees are required to maintain a safe environment in and around their venue and this includes managing queuing patrons.

At a minimum, we suggest you:

  • monitor queues and remind patrons of the importance of physical distancing
  • alert patrons to how long they may be waiting
  • discourage patrons from queuing if entry won't be granted in a reasonable time.

Communal games and entertainment

You can allow communal games such as pool and darts to be played at your venue, and a jukebox to be operated by patrons, provided it complies with your industry COVID Safe plan or checklist.

This includes providing for physical distancing and putting hygiene measures in place, particularly high touch points such as pool cues, darts and jukebox controls.

Players are still required to be seated while eating or drinking and other patrons are not permitted to stand around watching the game.

Indoor play areas within a premises can also open.

Designated outdoor smoking areas (DOSAs)

Licensed venues can operate their DOSAs provided the following controls are in place:

  • no more than 1 person per 2 square metres are permitted in the DOSA
  • physical distancing is observed
  • existing smoking laws are complied with.

Non-smokers are also permitted in DOSAs if the above requirements are met.

Mandatory ID scanning

As restrictions continue to ease, venues must consider their operational risk of dealing with undesirable patrons, including scanning IDs.

During Stage 5, regulated licensees who are authorised to sell alcohol after midnight on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the day before a public holiday, or past 1am on Monday to Thursday nights must either:

  • use their ID scanner to scan IDs from 10pm
  • manually check patrons against a banning list from 10pm.

Remember, if you have a compliant re-entry pass system at your venue, you don't have to scan patron IDs more than once during the regulated hours of any single trading period.

You should also continue to screen patrons on entry to ensure they are not unduly intoxicated, disorderly or a non-exempt minor.

QikID customers are required to engage a new approved operator by 10 July 2020, until then they must use manual ban lists provided to them by the Queensland Police Service.

Learn about approved operators of ID scanning equipment in Queensland.

Hygiene requirements and physical distancing

If you are operating your ID scanner, you must ensure the appropriate hygiene measures are in place for both staff and patrons. This includes having adequate controls in place when handling ID documents (e.g. hand sanitiser at the scanning point).

If using a manual list, patrons should present their ID in a way where physical distancing is maintained (e.g. presenting it with an outstretched arm).

Read about collecting and storing customer information during COVID-19.

ID scanners and COVID-19 tracing

The requirement to collect contact records (name, address and mobile phone number) for all guests and staff, and keep them securely for at least 56 days for contact tracing purposes, is separate to ID scanning requirements.

It is up to each venue to determine if they collect this information at the same time as scanning IDs.

Compliance checks

Compliance officers will be checking that your COVID Safe plan or checklist for the following if they inspect your venue during Stage 5.

Operating under a COVID Safe plan

  • Your compliance statement is publicly displayed.
  • The checklist in your COVID Safe plan is complete.
  • For indoor areas, there are no more than 1 person per 2 square metres.
  • Physical distancing is encouraged and managed appropriately.
  • Hand washing and sanitiser is readily available for patrons and staff.
  • All contact information collected and retained appropriately, in line with privacy requirements.
  • Your staff have completed COVID Safe training.
  • There are no buffets or indoor dance floor activities (unless otherwise allowed under the current health direction).
  • If you are operating gaming machines:
    • you are regularly sanitising machines after each person's use
    • there is no more than 1 person per 2 square metres in the gaming room
    • there is prominent signage for gambling harm minimisation.
  • Adult entertainment performances must not include physical contact between an entertainer and patron.
  • Nightclubs and venues with an adult entertainment permit can only operate under a COVID Safe plan.

Operating under an COVID Safe checklist

  • Your checklist is complete, signed, displayed and followed.
  • No gaming machines, TAB or Keno is allowed.
  • For indoor areas, there are no more than 1 person per 2 square metres.
  • Physical distancing is encouraged and managed appropriately.
  • Hand washing and sanitiser is readily available for patrons and staff.
  • All contact information collected and retained appropriately, in line with privacy requirements.
  • Your staff have completed COVID Safe training.
  • There are no buffets or indoor dance floor activities.

Regardless of whether you’re operating under a plan or checklist, officers will also, if required, ensure that:

  • you're following responsible service of alcohol (RSA) practices – this includes monitoring for unduly intoxicated and disorderly patrons, minors, safety and that all practices and promotions are responsible
  • crowd controllers are in place
  • your CCTV is operating
  • IDs are scanned or banning lists are checked
  • there is attention on contract tracing.

Also consider…


General enquiries 13 QGOV (13 74 68)

  • Licence and permit enquiries

1300 072 322

  • Gaming compliance enquiries


  • Liquor compliance enquiries


  • Media enquiries (07) 3738 8556