COVID-19: Legal Info

These Rules are current as at 1 June 2020.  Because it is very likely that these rules will change, please keep checking for changes.

WHAT IS COVID-19?

COVID-19 also known as Corona Virus is a very serious illness which is spreading quickly through the community.  This illness is making many people very sick, and some people have to go to hospital, sometimes for a long time.  People including young people have also died from this illness. 

This crisis of COVID-19 is so serious that the government has made new rules around how people are allowed to socialise at home and in public. 

There are new rules around:

  • What you are allowed to do,
  • Where you are allowed to go; and
  • Who you are allowed to be with. 

If you break these rules you can be arrested and taken by police or fined on the spot.

Can I leave my home?

You can only leave your home and travel anywhere inside Queensland except remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities[1].   BUT you must keep at least 1.5 meters away from other people at all times.

If you leave Queensland and visit certain places in Australia, you may have to go into quarantine when you get back. 

Who can I be with in public?

You can leave your home and meet up with up to 19 other people. The maximum of people who can be together in public is 20.

Where can I go?

You can go to public spaces like parks and skate parks with friends so long as there are only 19 other people in your group. 

Cinemas, libraries, gyms are only allowed to have 20 people inside at the same time.  If you go to the movies with a friend you will not be able to sit next to them. You can sit next to people you live with. 

Public swimming pools, including lagoons like at South Bank in Brisbane, Cairns Esplanade Lagoon and Airlie Beach Lagoon can only have up to 20 people at a time,   

When you are out in public you have to keep 1.5 meters (about two arms’ lengths) away from other people.  

You can play non-contact sport (like tennis or cricket) with up to 19 other people (this includes spectators and coaches).  You can only do contact sports (like boxing, footy, or wrestling) with members of your household.

If you go inside a shop or business, you have to keep at least 1.5 metres from other people.  A lot of shops have security guards counting people. The people who run the business have to limit how many people can be in their shop at the same time. You may have to wait your turn before you can go in.   

Only a total of 20 people are allowed to eat in, like at McDonalds and KFC, at any one time. You cannot “eat in” at a food court in a shopping centre.   

How many people can be in my house?

No more than 20 people are allowed to be in your house at the same time.  This includes the people who live there. This means if 6 people live in your house you can only have another 14 people over to visit or party.

If you have visitors, you must try to stay 1.5 metres from them and they should stay 1.5 meters from each other. Even if you do not own the house or you are not the person renting it, you can get into trouble if people do not follow these rules.

Who can I visit?

You are allowed to meet up with friends at another person’s house, even if none of you live together. But if there is already 19 people at your friend’s house you will have to go there alone.

If you are visiting someone you must try to stay 1.5 metres from them and everyone else at the house. 

What if I have to go to court during the COVID crisis?

Court is still operating, but to keep people safe the courts are putting most matters off without young people needing to come to court.  If you have a lawyer, you should call them and ask them if you need to go to court.  If you do not have a lawyer see who can help below.

You will still have to go to court sometime in the future. If you are not at court when your charge is put off, the court will let you know your next court date. If you move house you should call the court and let them know.

If you are on bail and you want to change your bail conditions, call your lawyer if you have one otherwise see who can help you below.

Spitting, coughing or sneezing on certain workers

It is always against the law to spit on another person (assault).  It is now an offence to intentionally (on purpose) spit, sneeze or cough on any “public officials” and workers: this includes police, any health workers, ambulance officers, teachers, shop workers and bus or taxi drivers. It is also an offence to threaten to do it. You do not need to have COVID-19 to be charged under these rules (for example if you say “have some Corona” when you cough but you know you don’t have it, you can still be charged because a person has been made to fear that you might be sick and they might now be infected).

To be safe, if you are near anyone and you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth or nose – use your elbow, or tissue.

What happens if I break these rules?

Police are on the look-out for anyone who doesn’t do what they are supposed to because the COVID-19 crisis is very serious.   

If the police see you with a group of people they might want to talk to you even if you are doing nothing wrong.  If the police come to your house, for example, because of a noise complaint and  there are more than 20 people in the house, then everyone who lives there can get into trouble not just the person who invited the others over. 

If you are stopped or questioned by police you must give them your name, age and address. If police approach you, try to stay calm and be clear on the reason why you are out.  Before you leave the house think about what you would do or say if the police came up to you. You can only go out if you are doing something listed under “Can I leave my home?” The police can arrest you or give you an on the spot fine up to $1345.00 if they think you are breaking the rules.


[1] Aurukun, Cook, Hope Vale, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Mapoon, Napranum, Northern Peninsula Area, Pormpuraaw, Torres Strait Island, Torres, Wujal Wujal.

Weipa, Burke, Doomadgee, Cherbourg, Mornington, Palm Island, Woorabinda, Yarrabah.

Who can help?

Youth Advocacy Centre (YAC) www.yac.net.au ………………………….. 3356 1002

Hub Community Legal  www.communitylegal.org.au………………… 3372 7677

YFS Legal  www.yfs.org.au……………………………………………………. 3826 1500

Legal Aid Queensland www.legalaid.qld.gov.au……………………. 1300 651 188

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Service www.atsils.org.au…………………………………………………………. 3025 3888 or ………………………………..  (free call) 1800 012 255 (24hrs 7 days a week)

Indigenous Youth Health Service www.atsichsbrisbane.org.au ……………………………………………………………………………………… 3240 8971

Child Safety After Hours Service (24hrs) (DOC)………………………….. 3235 9999 or (free call) 1800 177 135

Youth Legal Advice Hotline …………………………………………………..1800 527 527

Kids Help Line………………………………………………………………. 1800 551 800

H.A.D.S. (Queensland Health)…………………………………………………… 3646 8704

Headspace www.headspace.org.au ………………………………………… 3370 3900

Tenants Queensland www.tenantsqld.org.au ………………………. 1300 744 263

Community Legal Centres (CLCs) see www.naclc.org.au for your nearest CLC

For further information:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/coronavirus

https://tenantsqld.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-Fact-Sheet-26-3-20-v3.pdf)

*Outback includes Balonne, Banana, Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall-Tambo, Boulia, Bulloo, Carpentaria, Central Highlands, Cloncurry, Croydon, Diamantina, Etheridge, Flinders, Longreach, Maranoa, McKinlay, Mount Isa, Murweh, Paroo, Quilpie, Richmond, and Winton.

This information was last reviewed and updated as at 1 June 2020.  The Youth Advocacy Centre does not accept responsibility for any action or outcome as a result of anyone relying on the information provided.