Special compliance rules for the delivery of council services and facilities

2 June 2020

Further to our Alert regarding council/committee/subsidiary meetings under the Emergency Management (Public Activities) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 (‘the Direction’), this Alert provides a practical summary of the special compliance rules that now apply in the delivery of certain council services and facilities.

Defined Public Activity

A person must not allow, organise or attend at a prohibited gathering, being a gathering of more than 20 people at any one place, unless it is:

  • an excluded gathering, as set out in Schedule 1, or
  • a gathering which occurs as part of a defined public activity.

A defined public activity is any of the activities set out in clause 4 of the Direction. For the purposes of this Alert, this includes:

  • onsite purchase and consumption of food or beverages (in an indoor or outdoor area);
  • sport (including sports training), fitness or recreation activities; and
  • provision of public entertainment.

Fitness or recreation activities will include:

  • any classes or activities at gymnasiums, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities and dance and Pilates studios;
  • swimming and other activities at swimming pools used by the public; and
  • any other group fitness or physical recreation activity open to members of the public (whether paid or otherwise).

Public entertainment includes galleries, museums, libraries (other than those in a school) and other public institutions, publicly accessible historical sites, and any other place of entertainment that is open to members of the public.

Density and Occupancy Requirements

Under the Direction, a council is permitted to facilitate a defined public activity if it meets the density and the maximum occupancy requirements.

The density requirement is that the total number of persons present does not exceed 1 person per 4 square metres. In calculating this, only the part(s) of the place used by members of the public are included and persons employed or engaged to work, or undertake official duties, for the purposes of the defined public activity are not counted;

The occupancy requirement is that, whilst the number of people present for the defined public activity (as a whole) cannot exceed 80 at the place, regardless of what the density requirement would permit, there must be no more than 20 people present in any single room or enclosed area. Again, in meeting this requirement, persons employed or engaged to work, or undertake official duties, for the purposes of the defined public activity are not counted;

Councils are also required to use best endeavours to comply with the physical distancing (1.5m) principle for persons present at a defined public activity and to download and complete a COVID Safe Plan at www.covid-19.sa.gov.au.

Special Compliance Rules

The following special compliance rules apply to the above defined public activities, subject, in all circumstances, to the density and the occupancy requirements being satisfied:

Cafes and restaurants

  • Onsite purchase of food or beverages (including alcohol) is only permitted if consumed by patrons while seated at tables that are physically separated from any area for taking orders;
  • there are no communal service areas, such as buffets, salad bars or shared water dispensers/pitchers and share platters are discouraged;
  • the physical distancing principal does not apply to people attending in a group while seated at the table together;
  • there is a maximum of 20 patrons in each dining area;
  • tables should be separated as much as possible; and
  • recreational spaces and shared equipment, such as children’s games consoles, are not permitted to be used, which, in our view, will also apply to the provision of a basket of toys and other children’s playthings.

Outdoor and indoor sport, fitness or recreational activities

  • Outdoor sport activities, fitness or recreation activities are permitted, but sports competition must be non-contact (or accidental contact) until 25 June 2020;
  • indoor sport activities and indoor fitness and recreation activities are permitted, as long as it is non-competitive and non-contact (or accidental contact) until 25 June 2020. Indoor competitive non-contact sport (or accidental contact) is permitted after this date;
  • contrary to the occupancy requirements, the number of participants in any indoor fitness or recreational group class (not counting the person(s) facilitating the activity) are not to exceed 10 people per room, and in any other case the occupancy requirement of 20 people per room will apply; and
  • communal change rooms and shower facilities are not permitted to be used but toilet facilities may be made available.

Swimming in public pools

  • Pool activities are not restricted to swimming, all water activities are permitted;
  • no swimmer is to be accompanied by more than one caregiver who is not swimming;
  • in premises with multiple pools, each pool may have 20 persons, subject to meeting the density and occupancy requirements in each pool; and
  • communal change rooms and show facilities are not permitted to be used but toilet facilities may be made available.

Community halls

  • For those groups that use council community halls for meetings, the considerations set out in our Alert yesterday, regarding an indoor public meeting (i.e. a ‘defined public activity’) apply;
  • councils may now (subject to meeting density and occupancy requirements) have up to 20 persons per room (to a maximum of 80 persons in the building) in a community hall;
  • however, if a community hall is used for an indoor sport, fitness or recreational activity, the above compliance rules apply, which means that group fitness classes are restricted to 10 persons.

For the avoidance of doubt, infants and children of any age are counted in the total density and occupancy calculations for any defined public activity.

Contact Tracing

A council is required to make and retain contact tracing records for persons attending and participating in:

  • indoor sport, fitness or recreation activities;
  • indoor public meetings; and
  • public enterainment (which includes libraries, galleries, museums etc).

but not for:

  • the onsite purchase and consumption of food and beverages; or
  • use of swimming pools.

Those records must include the time and date of the activity and the name, phone number or email address of the person attending (unless the person refuses to provide the information). The records are to be retained and produced for inspection on request by an authorised officer. A contact tracing form is available for download at www.sa.gov.au.

If you have any questions regarding the operation of the Direction please contact Michael Kelledy on 08 8113 7103 or mkelledy@kelledyjones.com.au; Tracy Riddle on 08 8113 7106 or triddle@kelledyjones.com.au; or Natasha Jones on 08 8113 7102 or njones@kelledyjones.com.au.