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

Register your business to use the new Check In Qld app – developed to help Queensland Health with contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. Hospitality businesses must use the app to sign in patrons at their premises.

With the low number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Queensland, we have eased restrictions on the closures of liquor and gaming businesses.

The Queensland roadmap to easing restrictions explains the current status of restrictions.

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

Under current Queensland restrictions, 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.

And while face masks are not required under these restrictions, staff and customers should be encouraged to carry one when they leave home and wear it in any indoor or outdoor space where physical distancing is not possible.

Return to standing and seated drinking and dining

Hotels, pubs, clubs and nightclubs can allow patrons to stand while eating and drinking, including standing while drinking 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.

The Check In Qld app and clubs

As of 1 May 2021, all hospitality businesses, including clubs, must use the Check In Qld app to record customer details.

To reduce the administrative burden on clubs, during the period that clubs are required to use the Check in Qld app, the normal requirements for keeping records about guests of members and visitors to clubs won’t be enforced.

This will mean that clubs can rely on the mandatory Check In Qld app to record visits.

Note: This relaxation relates only to the record-keeping requirements. Your licensee obligation to comply with the authority of your licence continues, so you must still have processes in place to ensure liquor is not sold to ineligible visitors or guests at the club.

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

If a Queensland business owner is informed that someone with COVID-19 visited their venue, they are prompted 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.

Changes for entertainment venues

Entertainment venues can continue to operate 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 indoor and outdoor areas.

For venues that have ticketed, allocated seating, up to 100 per cent of seated capacity is allowed, even if this means more than 1 person per 2 square metres in the venue.

Read more about occupancy limits.

Gambling venues

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

They can:

  • serve food and drinks
  • provide takeaway food and home delivery
  • operate for gaming, including electronic gaming machines
  • have dancing in indoor and outdoor areas.

They cannot operate 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.

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 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 provided no more than 1 person per 2 square metres dances in the dance area.

This 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.

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

Read more about restrictions for businesses, activities and undertakings and the Chief Health Officer's Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction.

Managing queuing at your venue

With limited capacity in licensed venues, 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.

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.

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.

COVID Safe marshalls

We encourage venues to roster a staff member to act as a COVID Safe marshall or concierge who can ensure that patrons:

  • understand the requirement to provide their contact details electronically
  • are guided through the process of signing-in, whether by QR Code, online forms, booking application, spreadsheet (i.e. Excel) or other system
  • if electronic sign-in is not possible, provide hand-written details that are legible and promptly transferred to an electronic system
  • complete sign-in with correct details and check confirmation of sign-in.

They can also assist in supporting the health and wellbeing of staff and customers through:

  • monitoring physical distancing in entry queues and other heavy traffic areas within the venue.
  • ensuring any entry and electronic system (e.g. tablet or computer used for sign-in) is frequently and properly cleaned.

Implementing a QR code system

You do not have to use a QR code system, but QR codes allow you to easily record information electronically and are easy for patrons to use.

Setting up your own QR code check in

  1. You can find a QR code guest registration service by:
    • searching online or through an app store
    • contacting your IT service, point of sale (POS) or web hosting provider for advice.
  2. Read the service terms and conditions carefully, paying particular attention to:
    • pricing and payment details
    • privacy policies
    • length of contract and how to cancel the service
    • how the data is stored and how you can access it when required - data must be stored securely onshore in Australia.
  3. Sign up with a service and download your unique QR code.
  4. Display the code at the entrance to the venue so patrons can access it easily.
  5. If any customers are unable to use the QR code, you should have an alternative check in method available, such as an SMS service or the online check-in form provided as part of business resources for COVID Safe registered businesses.

How customers use the COVID Safe check-in

When a customer arrives at a venue, they scan the QR code with their smartphone or business device if available.

Engage a concierge, staff member or COVID-19 Safe marshal to assist customers and confirm they have checked in.

Complying with collecting contact details requirements

If requested by a public health officer, the electronic data set will need to be provided in a timely manner. Public health officers will be conducting random audits to ensure businesses are complying.

You are required to keep contact details for all patrons for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 56 days, after which the information should be deleted.

If you cannot collect contact information electronically, because a patron is unable to provide their information electronically or due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. because they do not have a smart phone or there is an internet outage), you must:

  • collect contact information using another method (e.g. paper-based forms)
  • transfer the information to an electronic system within 24 hours.

You may be fined or penalised if you fail to keep electronic contact information about all guests, patrons and staff. Failure to comply will impose:

  • operating with an occupant density limit of 1 person per 4 square metres
  • for food and drink venues (including cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs), operating for seated patrons only
  • a maximum penalty of $13,345 (100 penalty units) or 6-months imprisonment.

You can otherwise follow these tips.

  • Test your systems to ensure contact tracing records can be provided to a public health officer within the required timeframe (usually 1 hour).
  • Encourage your staff to engage with patrons when ordering food and drink and providing services throughout the venue to confirm they have signed in.
  • Seek advice from a hospitality industry peak body for any additional resources (e.g. Clubs Queensland; Queensland Hotels Association; Restaurants and Caterers' Association; and RSL Services Club Association).
  • If using an in-house system, ensure member details are up to date and consider posting signage to remind patrons to update their contact information.
  • If using a manual system for those patrons without phones, during internet outages or having other technology issues, ensure staff are assisting patrons with transcribing information that is correct, legible and can be easily added to an electronic system.
  • Download the sign for providing contact details or you can develop your own.
  • Learn more about collecting and storing customer information during COVID-19.

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.

Mandatory ID scanning

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

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 30–56 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.

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 (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 (unless otherwise allowed under the current health direction).

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