Exercising and recreation

How you can exercise safely and be safe doing other recreational activities.

Exercise at Alert Level 1

At Alert Level 1, you can do your usual sport and recreation activities. There are no limits on gathering sizes.

We encourage voluntary and not-for-profit sport and recreation facilities and events to display NZ COVID Tracer app QR codes to assist with contact tracing.

Get your QR code poster

Stay safe at Alert Level 1

At Alert Level 1, we still need to play it safe. We all need to be ready in case COVID-19 comes back into the community.

To be ready at Alert Level 1:

  • practise good hygiene
  • stay home if you’re sick
  • get tested if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms
  • wear face coverings on public transport and domestic flights
  • keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.

Living at Alert Level 1, including keeping your distance, and contact tracing for businesses

Exercise at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2, you can do your usual sport and recreation activities if you can do them safely. But if you’re sick, stay home. 

When exercising in public, keep a 2 metre distance from people you don’t know if possible.

You can do activities like:

  • walking, biking and hunting, including on public conservation land — overnight trips are okay
  • swimming at a public swimming pool, but there will be restrictions
  • going to the gym, but there will be restrictions
  • boating and motorised watersports.


At Alert Level 2, you can fish for whitebait as long as you keep a 2 metre physical distance from other fishers. You also need to follow the whitebait regulations.

Community sports

Community sports are limited to groups of 100 in a defined space. Referees, officials and other workers providing services to a sports game are not included in the 100 people.

A sports field can have multiple defined spaces by keeping:

  • people in groups of up to 100
  • groups separate either through consistent 2 metre physical distancing when outdoors, or using barriers.

We recommend groups be prevented from intermingling or sharing common facilities at the same time.

For example, a game of rugby can occur so long as there are no more than 100 people on the field. If that field has a stand on either side, up to 100 people can gather in each stand if they are kept separate from those from the other stand and from players and umpires on the field.

Organisers and the person in control of the premises are responsible for collecting contact tracing information.

Guidelines from Sport New Zealand (external link)

Sporting events

Professional leagues can go ahead at Alert Level 2 because they take place in controlled workplaces.

High Performance Sport New Zealand activities can take place at Alert Level 2 using a controlled workplace approach in consultation with WorkSafe.

Spectators at professional sports games are limited to groups of 100 in a defined space.

Gatherings, events and public venues

Exercise at Alert Level 3

Exercise and recreation is an important part of maintaining our health and wellbeing. However, there's a very high risk of transmission if we come into contact with others, touch common equipment or surfaces, or need rescuing or medical care.

You can do activities that are local and safe. Only exercise alone or with the people in your bubble. You need to keep a 2 metre distance from people who are not in your bubble, and you are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering.

The most important thing is to stay safe. Do low-risk activities, so you don’t need rescuing or medical care. 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. 

If you’re experienced you can do more activities. These include:

  • surfing — if you’re an experienced surfer, you can go to your local break. If you’re not experienced, don’t surf
  • tramping — is okay for day walks on easy trails. Remember to keep your distance from other people
  • mountain biking — if you're experienced and know the trail
  • swimming — in safe local spots. Do not take risks that might mean rescue services have to break their bubble to help you
  • horse riding — if you’re an experienced rider and it's low risk. Stay as close to home as you can.

Stay within 200 metres from shore if you are kayaking, canoeing, rowing, surfing, wind surfing or paddle boarding. 

What is not allowed:

  • Flying manned aircraft
  • Hunting in motorised vehicles
  • Water-based activities involving sailing boats, motorised boats or other craft like jet skis, and scuba diving
  • Team sports and training.

Where you can exercise

Stick to your local area. For example, go to your nearest beach or park, not your favourite one. You cannot stay overnight at a bach or holiday home.

If you're exercising outside and it's too busy to keep a 2 metre distance from others, go home — go out later.

We recommend driving as short a distance as you can and still do the activity.

Find detailed information about sport and recreation under each Alert Level on the Sport New Zealand website (external link)

Hunting and fishing

You can hunt on both private and public conservation land. You need to stay within your region and stick to your bubble. Overnight trips are not allowed. You may only hunt on foot — using quad bikes, off-road bikes, helicopters and other motorised vehicles is not allowed.

Hunters cannot stay in DOC huts or campgrounds under Alert Level 3 and hunting must also be consistent with the usual local area restrictions.

This is not the time to take up hunting as a new hobby. Use your common sense — stay local, stay safe.

If you want to go fishing you can do so from a wharf or the shore, but do not cast off the rocks or fish from a boat. Boating is not allowed.


You can fish for whitebait at Alert Level 3 during the whitebaiting season. Fish locally, stay 2 metres from other river users and do not use motorised vehicles to get to your fishing spot.

You legally must also comply with all current whitebait regulations, including fishing from the banks of rivers or the water’s edge, and do not enter the water or use a boat to fish.

Volunteer conservation work

You can do conservation volunteer work — including checking trap lines, planting and weeding.

We recommend only doing the project if it’s close to home. You need to be able to keep 2 metres from people outside of your bubble. We recommend not organising large volunteer groups.

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