Household bubbles

Advice about who can be included in your household bubble at each Alert Level.

Who your household bubble can include

Your household bubble (or ‘bubble’) is the group of people you have day-to-day, physical contact with — for example, your immediate family or flatmates. It may also include close friends or workmates.

At some Alert Levels, there are restrictions on who can be included in your bubble. This is to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Household bubbles at Alert Level 1

There are no restrictions on who can be included in your household bubble.

You can invite people to your home and gather with them in a public place.

Household bubbles at Alert Level 2

There are no restrictions on who can be included in your household bubble.

You can invite people to your home and gather with them in a public place. Gatherings are limited to 100 people in any indoor or outdoor space.

Household bubbles at Alert Level 3

Meeting other households

At Alert Level 3, you cannot meet other households. This means you cannot invite friends, whānau and extended family who are not in your bubble to your home.

At Steps 1 and 2, you will be able to meet close friends and whānau with some restrictions.

Expanding your household bubble

You can expand your household bubble to bring in people who live alone, caregivers or close whānau — as long as everyone in the bubble agrees. You can meet with people who are in your extended bubble inside your house. Keep your bubble small and exclusive.

Shared custody and childcare 

Tamariki can travel between their parents' or caregivers' homes under a shared custody arrangement — including between an Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 area. This includes care for tamariki under a whāngai arrangement. Parents or caregivers can accompany their tamariki to and from the home of the other parent or caregiver.

Everyone aged 12 and over must have evidence of a COVID-19 test within 7 days of travel. If tamariki are travelling for a shared parenting arrangement, they do not need proof of travel.

Travel across the Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 boundary

Expanding your bubble with a carer from an Alert Level 2 area

If you need to go to work and you have no other available options for childcare, you can apply for an exemption to bring in a carer from an Alert Level 2 area.

Exemptions are only granted on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed. You can apply through the Ministry of Health.

Apply for an exemption (external link)

Household bubbles at Alert Level 4

You must keep your household bubble as small as possible. Only make physical contact with those in your bubble. 

If you live alone, you may arrange with another person living alone or a household to be part of your household bubble. This arrangement must be exclusive between you and the other household.

You cannot invite friends, whānau and extended family who are not in your bubble to your home.

Events, including family and social gatherings cannot go ahead. This includes parties, funerals and tangihanga, and weddings.

If you are not safe

If you are not safe, you can leave your bubble.

Family violence and sexual violence support lines are open for people to call, email or text.

Wellbeing helplines and support

If you or someone you know is in danger, call 111.

Shared custody and childcare at Alert Level 4

During Alert Level 4, tamariki (children) can continue to go between 2 homes to form a shared bubble if their parents or caregivers have a:

  • shared care arrangement, or
  • a court order under the Care of Children Act 2004 saying who has the day to day care of a child at specified times. 

Your shared bubble can include 2 households at most, and the other household must be in the same or adjacent district.

If you are working for an Alert Level 4 business or service and you have no available options for childcare, you can extend your household bubble to include a carer for your children. The carer can leave their home to provide childcare for your children. The carer cannot join another household bubble.

Shared custody and childcare at Alert Level 4

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