Are you thinking of throwing a party or wedding during the current covid-19 crisis? There is so much confusion at the moment on the rules and regulations on what you can and can’t do. To make things a bit easier we have put together everything you need to know about throwing a Covid-19 safe party in Melbourne.

Everything in this article is current as of February 2021 but as restrictions change you may need to check for up to date information. You can do this by going to the DHHS website or contact our office. Learn how to throw a covid-19 safe party or wedding to avoid doing the wrong thing. 

covid safe party sign

What Are The Different Rules For Throwing Covid-19 Safe Party

If you are planning a party or wedding in Melbourne the rules will vary for multiple reasons. Rules will vary based on where your party is, for example – your home, function venue or outside.

At minimum, all functions venues in Melbourne must follow the minimum 2 square metre rules. This rule applies to function venues, restaurants or anywhere indoors that can have functions. If the venue is not set up to collect guests details electronically, they need to follow the 4 square metre rules. So, what is the 2 square metre and 4 square metre rules?

What Is The ‘Two Square Metre’ Rule?

To limit the number of people gathering in a venue at the same time, some businesses must only allow entry to one person for every two square metres of available floor space.

To be able to apply the two square metre rule, businesses must use electronic record keeping. QR codes are a barcode that people scan using their Australian Playamo smartphone camera. The QR code takes the person to a website where they enter their details.  

2 square metre rule for parties

For example, if an indoor space is 8 metres long and 1 metre wide, its total area is 8 square metres. Its density quotient is 2, so no more than 4 people would be permitted to be in the outdoor space at the same time. The density quotient must be rounded down, for example a density quotient of 9.68 becomes 9 patrons.

The spaces specifically available for staff only (for example, behind bars or counters) are not included when calculating the density quotient for customers. 

2 square metre rule image
2 square metre rule explained

What Is The ‘Four Square Metre’ Rule?

To limit the number of people gathering in a venue at the same time, some businesses must only allow entry to one patron for every four square metres of available floor space.

4 square metre rule explained

For example, if a space is 8 metres long and 2 metres wide, its total area is 16 square metres. Using the ‘four square metre’ rule, the density limit (also called the density quotient in the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s directions) is 4. So, no more than 4 people would be permitted to be in that indoor space at the same time.   

The density limit must be rounded down to the nearest whole number. For example – a density limit calculation of 9.68 becomes 9 people.

4 square metre rule explained with more than one person

The spaces that are specifically for staff only (for example, behind bars or counters) are not included in the total floor space when calculating the density limit for customers.

4 square metre rule with lots of people

Closed areas within venues (for example, storage areas that are accessed only by staff) cannot be included when calculating the number of members of the public permitted under the four square metre rule. 

What Venues Does The ‘Four Square Metre’ Rule Apply To?

The four square metre rule applies to gaming machine areas, adult entertainment venues, staffed sport and exercise facilities, play centres, indoor skateparks and trampoline centres, indoor amusement parks, indoor pools and dance floors. The four square metre rule applies when businesses use manual record keeping.   

Karaoke bars are also bound by the four square metre rule. However, electronic record keeping is mandatory in these settings.

What Happens If I Have Invited More Guests Than The Venue Is Allowed

 If you have invited more than the venue has space for based on the 2m rule you are only allowed to have that many. Potential fines can be handed out if this rule is broken.

What To Think About If Planning a Covid-19 Safe Party

party planning during covid 19

If you are organising a small party at home a wedding, corporate event or even an event outside you need to create a Covid safe plan. These are some of the things you should think about when planning your party or event.

  1. Always check local guidelines before planning your event.
  2. Brief guests about precautions before the event starts; during the event, remind guests of these precautions and ensure they are followed.
  3. Designate a Covid marshal to police things on the night and make sure everyone is doing as they should.
  4. Choose outdoor venues over indoor spaces – if indoors, ensure the area is well-ventilated.
  5. Minimize crowding by staggering arrivals and departures, numbering entries, designating seats/places and marking the floor to ensure physical distancing between people of at least one and a half meters.
  6. Provide all necessary supplies – hand hygiene stations, hand sanitizer or soap and water, tissues, closed-lid bins, distance markers, masks.

What Are The Rules Regarding Dancing At Parties During Covid-19

It doesn’t matter whether you are having your party at home or in a function venue you need to abide by the 4 square metre rule. If you are in a venue the rule might be 2 square metres for the number of guests but for dance floors the 4 square metre rule always applies. When it comes to the size of your dance floor it will need to be quite big. This is so that more than a few people are allowed to dance at once. This rule applies for both inside and outside parties.

If you look at a 4m x 4m dance floor this would normally comfortably hold 16 to 25 people. Based on this rule you would only be allowed 4 people at a time. What this means is your dance floor is going to be pretty empty and the atmosphere pretty flat.

What Are The Current Rules For Having A Party At Home In Melbourne

If you are planning to have a party at home the most you are allowed during the current restrictions is 15 people. This is the same rule whether your guests are inside or out at your home. As mentioned if planning for dancing the 4m rule applies.

You would also need to keep track of everyone’s contact details for contract tracing as well.

What Are The Rules For Having A Party Or Wedding Outside In Melbourne During Covid-19

The current rules for having a party or wedding outside will be determined by its location. If it is a function venue you can have up to 150 people maximum. If your party or wedding is at home but outside you are still restricted to 15 people maximum. If you wedding or party is in a public space, guest numbers will be determined by the state government. You will be required to have a permit for any event in a public space which will tell you how many people you can have based on the type of event.

What Are The Face Mask Rules When Having A Party or Wedding In Melbourne

If you are choosing to have a party at home or in a function venue face masks must be worn unless eating or drinking. Face masks must be worn also when dancing.

What Are The Current Rules If You Are Having A Wedding In Melbourne During Covid-19

covid safe weddings in melbourne

Current restrictions for having a wedding in Melbourne is a 150 guest provided that you are having it in a hired function venue. The venue does need to follow the 2 square metre rule for the number of guests. The 4 metre rule also applies if having dancing and a dance floor. If you are choosing to have you wedding at home the limit is still 15 people maximum.

Is It Worth While Having A Party or Wedding During Covid-19

When you look at all the current restrictions in Melbourne you have got to ask the question is it worth all the stress involved in throwing a party. It all comes down to what sort of party you want and if you are willing to wait until restrictions ease. If you have the budget hire a venue as you will be able to invite more people. If you are wanting a party with dancing and more than 15 people, then a function venue really is your only choice.

If you are planning a more low-key event with no dancing and a few people, your house is a great option. Garden Parties and Dinner Parties are definitely on trend at the moment as they are easier to plan for. Any event outside is usually a lot easier to manage but you do need to allow for weather.

The other issue that makes planning parties hard at the moment is the constant changing of restrictions. In a short space of time restrictions can be changed and parties have to be cancelled. If you really want to have a party and restrictions do ease over the coming months you need to be flexible. I think moving forward anyone planning a party will need to plan on short notice. Make sure you have a backup plan if things do not go your way.

Make sure that anything you book or hire you have an option of credit or refund so that you also do not lose too much money. If this all just sounds too hard maybe just wait until things improve for the better.

We do ask as a party, wedding and event company that you do have a party as soon as you can to keep our industry alive.