We have received a number of enquiries about venues banning patrons with Sydney addresses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Denying entry to someone because of their geographic place of residence is not considered discrimination under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW).
The Act does allow for complaints based on actual or presumed disability which includes illnesses and diseases. For example, where a person had, or was assumed to have, COVID-19 and was terminated from their employment as a result.
An exception under Section 49P of the Act applies where the disability is an infectious disease and the conduct complained about is reasonably necessary to protect public health. Whether a venue’s conduct is ‘reasonably necessary’ to protect public health is a matter that we would review through the submission of a complaint.
Public health advice is changing regularly, and heavy penalties are in place for venues who do not follow public health measures. Venues may be applying heavier restrictions to ensure that they are meeting their public health requirements for their staff, patrons and local communities.
We do not regulate the administration of public health information; this is the job of NSW Health and the Federal Government.
If you feel you have been directly discriminated against because of your presumed illness or disability, you can submit a complaint and we will assess it. More information about disability discrimination and infectious diseases is available on our website.
Please be aware that this information is not legal or public health advice. We would strongly encourage you to get legal advice about your personal circumstances. A list of free legal services in available on the Legal Aid NSW website.