COVID-19 Information

LASTEST UPDATE 20TH April 2020

When we’re moving to Alert Level 3

The Government has announced New Zealand will move out of Alert Level 4 lockdown at 11.59pm on Monday 27 April. We are still in Alert Level 4 until then.

We will hold at Alert Level 3 for two weeks, before Cabinet reviews how we are tracking and makes further decisions on 11 May.

At Alert Level 3 we will need to be even more vigilant. All of us will need to unite against COVID-19 by sticking to the rules.

Personal movement

Limiting our interactions with others is our best defence against COVID-19. Under Alert Level 3 we must continue to stay in our household bubbles whenever we are not at work, school, buying the groceries or exercising.

People must stay within their immediate household bubble, but can expand this to reconnect with close family / whānau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. It’s important to protect your bubble once it’s been extended. Keep your bubble exclusive and only include people where it will keep you and them safe and well. If anyone within your bubble feels unwell, they self-isolate from everyone else within your bubble.  

If you were in the wrong place when the restrictions came into place, and need to get home, you can now move throughout New Zealand to do so. You can only move once, and in one direction. New Zealand citizens from the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau can travel domestically within New Zealand in order to connect to flights home.

Examples to help explain these measures

If a relative or loved one lives locally, and is currently alone you can extend your bubble to include them. If you are returning to work and need to establish child care or other care arrangements for those already in your bubble, a care provider can join your bubble.

FAQs

What life will look like at Alert Level 3

The Alert Level 3 Frequently Asked Questions document tells you more about life at Alert Level 3.

Alert Level 3 Frequently Asked Questions [PDF, 274 KB]

What is a bubble?

A bubble is your household – the people you live with. Under Alert Level 3, you can slightly extend your bubble. For example, you can bring in a caregiver you might need, or children who might be in shared care. Or, if you are living alone, or a couple who wants the company of another one or two people. These people do not need to live in the same household, but must be local. Always keep your bubble exclusive, and keep it small.   

What if my bubble isn’t safe?

If the situation in your bubble is unsafe or life-threatening you can leave your bubble immediately, and seek help from a neighbour or friend. Once there you can reach out to the Police, or Women’s Refuge. If you are in this situation or concerned for someone else, find out about the support available for family or sexual violence.   

Recreation

We know that exercise and recreation is an important part of maintaining our health and wellbeing. However, this also presents a very high risk of transmission if we come into contact with others, use or touch common equipment or surfaces, or need rescuing or medical care.

The most important principle here is to stay safe (so that you do not need rescuing or medical care), and to stay physically distant from people outside of your bubble.

You can do activities that are local, which you can do safely, and which do not involve interacting with other people, or equipment touched by other people. You should go to your nearest beach or park, not your favourite one. Staying overnight at a bach or holiday home is not permitted.

If you are an experienced surfer, you can go to your local break. If you’re not experienced, don’t surf. If you want to go fishing you can do so from a wharf or the shore, but don’t cast off the rocks or fish from a boat (boating is not allowed). Tramping is ok for day walks on easy trails, same for mountain biking if you are experienced and know the trail. Please be aware of maintaining two metres distance from other people.

Do not use any common equipment touched by people from outside your bubble.

Now is not the time to take up new activities, or expose yourself or your bubble to any risk. Use your common sense – stay local, stay safe. 

Find detailed information on sport and recreation under each Alert Level on the Sport New Zealand website

FAQs

How far can I drive to do a recreation activity?

You should drive as short a distance as you can, and still do the activity. You must stay local.

Your nearest recreational area could mean travelling to a neighbouring region if you live on a regional boundary, as long as this is still local and a close distance to your home. Travel to your nearest park or beach, not your favourite one.

What sort of activities can I do?

You can do low-risk recreation activities in your local area – for example to go for a walk or a run.

You can go for a swim at the beach, a day walk, or fishing from a wharf.

Boating, yachting and any team sports or training are not allowed. We are developing guidance for hunting.

Who can I do recreation with?

You can do recreational activities by yourself or with people from your extended bubble.

Education

Under Alert Level 3 it will be safe for Early Learning / Education Centres and schools to open for children up to and including year 10, with appropriate public health measures in place. All young people in years 11-13 will continue to learn at home.

Where possible, students should remain at home connected to distance learning. Where parents or caregivers need to, they can send their children to school. Schools will be a safe place for children to go to learn if their parents need to return to work, or the children cannot learn at a distance. Children who are able to, should remain home and learn via distance.

Schools and Early Learning / Education Centres will contact parents as they work through their plans for re-opening.

Home based early learning services can resume up to the maximum number of licensed children of 4 including the educators own children, provided public health requirements are met.

Play centres and play groups will be closed.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like gloves and masks are not necessary for a school environment. Children, young people and staff who are at greater risk are encouraged to stay at home. Any child, young person or staff member who is sick should remain at home.

It will take at least a week for Schools and Early Learning Services to get ready to open after we go to Alert Level 3.

Alert Level 3 FAQs for Schools and Early Learning Centres

Most tertiary education will be through distance learning. Tertiary education facilities may open for limited activities involving small stable groups (up to 10 people who do not change). Campus research that can’t be done off campus such as lab work, and practical hands on learning, such as trades courses, where the learning can happen in small groups with appropriate physical distancing. Courses where close contact is unavoidable will remain online only. 

Examples to explain these measures

Schools will look different under Alert Level 3. There will be far fewer students on the grounds, and they will stay within their small groups. Some teachers will be teaching students at school, while others will providing distance learning.

FAQs

Is it safe for my child to go to school?

Yes, it is safe for your child to go to school. The restrictions on the numbers of children are necessary due to the need for physical distancing, transport constraints, and limited resources. The limits also help reduce the risk.

Alert Level 3 FAQs for Schools and Early Learning Centres

Workers and businesses

Most, but not all businesses can start to open under Alert Level 3. They must take health measures to keep their workers safe.

  • Workers must work from home if they can
  • Workplaces must operate safely – keeping one metre between workers, recording who is working together, limiting interaction between groups of workers, disinfecting surfaces, and maintaining high hygiene standards
  • Retail and hospitality businesses can only open for delivery and contactless pre-ordered pick up – customers cannot enter stores
  • Supermarkets, dairies and petrol stations can continue to allow customers into their stores, with the same restrictions and measures in place as Alert Level 4
  • Businesses cannot offer services which involve face-to-face contact or sustained close contact (e.g. hairdressing, massage, house cleaning, or door-to-door salespeople)
  • Other in home services can be delivered if it is safe to do so (like tradespeople for repairs or installations) – keep two metre separation from those in the house
  • Most workers will not require PPE to stay safe at work. Incorrectly used PPE can create more risk. Good hygiene measures like hand washing with soap and water, physical distancing, sneeze and cough etiquette, and wiping down surfaces is the best defence against COVID-19.

How businesses and workplaces can get ready for Alert Level 3

WorkSafe information about transitioning from Alert Level 4

More detailed guidance for sectors will be made over the coming days.

Examples to help explain these measures

If you run a takeaway business, you can reopen it if you have pre-ordered contactless pick up, or can do home delivery.

A real estate agent can open, but people should work from home if they can. The agent can enter peoples homes, but not have customers in the office. You cannot run an open home. Construction businesses can start work again but strict hygiene measures must be put in place – and office staff who can work from home should do so.

FAQs

Why can’t people queue or browse in a retail shop?

This is about managing the risk of transmission. Retail shops can be difficult to control in terms of physical distancing and keeping surfaces clean. Exceptions have been made for businesses like supermarkets, but right now the risk of transmission is too high to allow this more widely. Measures like drive through or home delivery better manage this risk, but unfortunately not everyone will be able to do this.

When will businesses that involve close personal contact be allowed to open?

Right now, the risk of transmission from people providing services that require close personal contact (e.g. hairdressers, manicurists, beauticians, domestic cleaners, personal trainers, gymnasiums) is too great. These businesses can resume under Alert Level 2, with appropriate health measures in place.

How do I find out about my rights as a worker, will wage subsidies continue?

You can get some good advice from Employment New Zealand, including on health and safety, financial support and speaking up.

Employment New Zealand advice on COVID-19 and the workplace

Travel and transport

Travel is still restricted, and is only allowed for permitted movement in your local area – e.g. for going to work or school, shopping, or getting exercise.

Public transport will still be available. You can use it to travel to work or school, but be aware there will be limited capacity. You should sit 2 metres away from other people on public transport.

Regional travel is allowed for permitted movement, with some exceptions – our detailed table about settings at each Alert Level details what these are.

Detailed table about the settings at each Alert Level [PDF, 1.7 MB]

Other travel should not be undertaken. The risk of transmitting the disease is too high. This is not a time to take a holiday, travel between regions to celebrate birthdays or travel from one side of a city to the other to go to a supermarket when there is a suitable one in your local area.

Examples to explain these measures

If you need to go to work or school, you can make your usual commute, even if you cross a regional boundary to do so. You cannot travel to another region for a recreation or work (unless you are an essential worker travelling for work). 

You should not take a flight to another region unless you are an essential worker, travelling to do essential work.

FAQs

How can I stay safe on public transport?

Public transport will have fewer people on-board to maintain distancing, and buses and trains will be regularly disinfected. You should thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water immediately after taking public transport.

How far can I travel?

Don’t travel inter-regionally, unless your local area crosses a regional boundary. Keep as local as you can, while doing your usual commute to work and school (if not working from home or doing distance learning).

Can I take public transport if I am sick?

You should avoid public transport if you are sick. Call your GP or Healthline to get advice.

Gatherings

Gatherings present a very high risk of transmitting COVID-19, and acceptable gatherings are very limited. Up to 10 people can gather for:

  • Funerals and tangihanga
  • Wedding ceremonies (not receptions).

Examples to help explain these measures

For those holding a wedding ceremony, the limit means there can only be the couple, the celebrant, a couple of witnesses and family. Most people will still need to attend through video conferencing. Those who do attend must keep themselves and others safe. Keep a list of those who attend, stay at least 2 meters apart and wash hands regularly.

FAQs

Why is there a limit of ten people?

To maintain momentum in eliminating COVID-19 gatherings must be small. Keeping the limit low means the risk of community transmission stays low and our gains from Alert Level 4 aren’t compromised.

Are schools, workplaces, supermarkets and public transport gatherings?

These places are not considered gatherings because they have appropriate public health measure in place.

At risk people

People at higher-risk of severe illness (older people, or those with underlying medical conditions) are encouraged to stay home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home, like avoiding supermarkets, or touching any surfaces. Do not interact with people from outside your bubble. Consider getting others to deliver your supermarket shop, or ordering online.

People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should take extra precautions. They should discuss with their employer whether they can work from home, or other ways to keep them safe while at work and travelling to work. If they decide to stay at home, and cannot work from home they should agree with their employer what their leave and pay arrangements will be.

If at risk people considering leaving their home should seek advice before doing so – for example from a friend, family member or medical professional.

Staying safe and well

At every alert level people should take measures to stay safe and well.

  • Regularly disinfect surfaces
  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly and regularly
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have flu like symptoms – call your GP or Healthline
  • Continue to seek primary medical care.

COVID-19

Information and updates
We are committed to supporting our customers and staff through the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on for updates and information and where to find help and support.

26 March – COVID-19 update

We appreciate how much you have had to respond to and adjust for, in the last weeks building up to the commencement today, of a New Zealand-wide lockdown. There has been a lot of information to absorb and from a range of providers.

Key dates reminder
  • 26 March: Alert Level 4 commenced
  • 28 March: School holidays begin
  • 10 – 14 April: Easter including the Tuesday after Easter
  • 15 April: Term 2 begins
  • 22 April: Current date for ending of lockdown period
  • 27 April: ANZAC Day observed
Key lockdown messages from the Prime Minister (Select Committee Media Briefing 25 March)
  • If the virus is left unchecked it will have an unacceptable toll on New Zealanders
  • Staying at home will break the chain and save lives
  • Breaking the rules could risk someone close to you
  • If the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lock down period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands
  • Success will not be instant. The benefit of actions taken today will not be felt for many days to come. People need to expect the numbers to continue rising, because they will.
  • Modelling indicates that New Zealand could have several thousand cases before today’s measures have an impact. However, if everyone sticks to the rules there will be change over time.
  • Act like you have COVID-19. Every move you make could be a risk to someone else. That is how New Zealanders must collectively think now.
  • All New Zealanders urged to be calm, be kind, stay at home.
  • If people have no explanation of why they are outside the Police will remind them of their obligations and can take enforcement actions if they feel it is necessary.
  • New Zealanders will want to do the right thing. The Government is being as clear as they can on the guidance and Police will be working with people to help them understand.
  • The Government’s goal is to keep people connected to their employer through the wage subsidy, and said if that was not happening then they have the backup mechanism of the welfare system.
  • In regard to those overseas – even under the most difficult of circumstances New Zealand is their home.
Update on the provision of home-based supervision and care for the children of essential workers

As advised in yesterday’s Bulletin, the Government has agreed that our educators can be the parents of their care children’s first contact for care but only to essential service workers, where workers are not able to make their own arrangements.

The level of demand from essential service workers is not yet clear and we are exploring all options to make sure that essential service workers can do the important work necessary.

Please note that all home-based service providers can provide care for children of essential workers so long as they are compliant with the Public Health rules ie:

  • The person caring for the child becomes part of the self-isolating group.
  • This group must remain the same for the whole period.
  • The carer must not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period.
  • If a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home.
Important information on websites

Most of the information you need should be available from various government websites. Listed below are the key websites for you to add to your favourites (click on the link below to view):