Private social gatherings

Advice on hosting or attending a private social gathering at each of the Alert Levels.

What is a private social gathering?

The rules on this page apply to private social gatherings.

A private social gathering is informal and involves getting together with friends and whānau you regularly socialize with.

Private social gatherings can include:

  • Birthday parties, stag dos, hens parties, baby showers or a celebration of a significant life event with friends and whānau
  • A social gathering organised through work or school
  • Family dinners 
  • Social club get-togethers — for example, book clubs, musical or cultural groups or hobby groups
  • Weddings and civil union ceremonies.

Advice for planning and attending a wedding or civil union

Private social gatherings at Alert Level 1

At Alert Level 1, there are no restrictions on the number of people you can invite to your gathering. You can travel to any region that is in Alert Level 1 or 2 to attend a party. 

There are also no rules around physical distancing. 

But COVID-19 is still around and we all need to be ready in case it reappears in our community. 

There are some simple things you can do to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

  • Do not go to a party or social gathering if you are unwell or if you are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test. 
  • Do not host a gathering or party if you or anyone you live with is unwell. 
  • Wash and sanitise your hands regularly.
  • Keep a record of the people you come into contact with, and scan in everywhere you go. 

Private social gatherings at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2, you can host or attend a gathering of up to 100 people in any defined indoor or outdoor space.

Defined spaces

The 100 person limit does not include workers providing services to a gathering.

You do not have to wear a face covering when going to a party or private social gathering, but we encourage you to wear one.  

Hosting a social gathering 

  • Remind your guests to stay home if they are sick. 
  • If you are hosting a gathering at your own home, you do not need to keep contact tracing records if everyone at the gathering knows each other. But it is a good idea to keep a guest list to help with contact tracing if it is needed. 
  • Your guests do not need to physically distance.
  • Provide hand sanitizer or soap so guests can wash their hands. 
  • Serve food and drinks individually rather than having shared platters. 
  • Try to avoid shared utensils. If possible, limit the number of people handling or serving food. 
  • Let your guests know what steps you are taking to make sure your gathering is as safe as possible. 

Hiring a venue for a social gathering

  • You can hire a venue — for example a bar or restaurant for a private event. You can only have 100 guests indoors or outdoors. Staff are not included in the guest limit.
  • You can have guests in both indoor and outdoor spaces, but you need to make sure the two groups do not mix. This means making sure the venue has separate entrances for shared areas —  for example bathrooms or counters where people go up to order or pay.
  • You must have ways for guests to record their visit, such as a QR code poster for them to scan, or another safe and secure way to manually record their contact details.
  • If you have hired the entire venue for your gathering, your guests can move freely and they do not need to be seated or served at tables.
  • If you have only hired a room or space at a venue, then your guests will need to keep 1 metre apart from other guests at the venue. 
  • Staff at the venue will need to wear face coverings if food and drink is being served.

Attending a social gathering 

  • Stay home if you are unwell or if you have been asked to isolate. 
  • Try to keep 1 metre away from people you do not know. 
  • Avoid congregating or gathering at entrances or in small shared spaces such as the bathroom. 
  • If you need to pay for your food or drinks, use contactless payment options if possible. 
  • Limit physical contact with people who are not your close whānau or friends 
  • If you are attending a gathering at a public venue, scan in using the NZ COVID Tracer app. 
  • Avoid sharing food and drinks with people you do not know. 

Private social gatherings at Alert Level 3

At Alert Level 3, we all need to stay in our bubble. The safest way to celebrate a special occasion with friends and whānau who are outside our bubble is to do it virtually 

Private social gatherings at Alert Level 4

At Alert Level 4, you legally must stay in your household bubble.  Private social gatherings cannot go ahead. This includes gatherings in your home and in public spaces. You can only celebrate with people in your household bubble. 

We encourage you to connect virtually with your friends and whānau to celebrate special events. 

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