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Work is underway across all levels of government is response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Details of initiatives that may impact on liquor licence holders, as well as initiatives announced by the Government of South Australia to support the sector during this time can be found here. 

Lifting step 3 restrictions

Capacity restrictions

From 12.01am, Monday June 29, capacity restrictions at all licensed venues were eased.

Venues are now able to host one person per two square metres, with no overall cap beyond this requirement and any others specified on the venue’s licence. Businesses must use their best endeavours to apply the physical distancing provisions and hygiene measures.

All approved licensees are encouraged to download and display a patron density poster for your premises and one for each area.

These posters advise the public of how many people can enter at one time.

COVID Management Plans

From midnight 9 June 2020 a new Emergency Management Direction (Public Activities) came into effect, making activities such as the operation of a nightclub and a relevant licenced premises prohibited without an approved COVID Management Plan.  

Nightclubs and relevant licensed premises requiring a COVID Management Plan

Under the direction a nightclub includes, but is not limited to, a licensed premised under the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 where the principal purpose or main activity is the:  

  • consumption of liquor
  • playing of loud, amplified music and
  • dancing.

Relevant licensed premises are those where:

  • more than 1,000 people are expected to be present (calculated at 1 person per two square metres)
  • dancing and any consumption of liquor is facilitated
  • any part of the premises is used for the consumption of liquor, playing of loud, amplified music and dancing.

No venue without an approved COVID Management plan may operate as either a nightclub or a relevant licenced premises.   

What's the difference between a COVID Safe Plan and a COVID Management Plan?

Venues and activities outlined above require a COVID Management Plan. A COVID Management Plan is a unique and comprehensive plan that must be specific to your venue or activity. The plan sets out how a high-risk activity will be managed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 between patrons/attendees and staff.

If you do not meet the above criteria, but you have a businesses involved in a defined public activity, you must have a COVID-Safe Plan in place in order to trade.

Consumer and Business Services, SAPOL SA Health and local council officers will be undertaking compliance checks to ensure that venues have completed a COVID Safe Plan and, where applicable, a COVID Management Plan. 

Submitting a COVID Management Plan

The COVID Management Plan template is expected to be available online from 10 July at covid-19.sa.gov.au/recovery. If you have not already done so, venues should first complete a COVID Safe Plan and indicate that you would like to be contacted about preparing a COVID Management Plan. 

Venues should be aware that due to the complexities of assessing each venue’s unique requirements, and to ensure the safety of the public, the management plan approval process may take several weeks. 

Once venues have submitted their Management Plan, they may be contacted by SA Health to provide further information. For more information about this process please read the COVID Management Plan Preliminary Information Factsheet


In addition as of 8am on Monday 29 June, gaming is now also allowed at licensed venues, subject to your trading hours. The density requirements referred to above and physical distancing and hygiene measures will need to be applied in gaming rooms.  

Short-term licence applications

Venues wishing to expand their licensed footprint can apply for a short-term licence to temporarily increase their capacity.

More information about the easing of restrictions in South Australia, and requirements regarding specific activities are being updated as circumstances change and can be found at covid-19.sa.gov.au/recovery.