Sports and recreation

Advice on playing sports and other recreational activities at each of the Alert Levels.

Sport at Alert Level 1

At Alert Level 1, you can do your usual sport and recreation activities. There are no limits on the number of people you can exercise with. 

Community sports and large sporting events and tournaments can go ahead. There is no limit on the number of spectators. 

All indoor and outdoor recreation facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, climbing walls, driving ranges and skate parks can open.

If you’re unwell, you should stay home.

Even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, you should still continue to keep track of where you go, wash your hands before and after touching shared equipment and surfaces, and stay home if sick. These actions help to slow the spread of the virus and help protect you, your whānau, and your community.

All sport and recreation event organisers, including voluntary and not-for-profit organisations and businesses providing facilities or venues for sports activities legally must display NZ COVID Tracer app QR codes to help with contact tracing.

Sport 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, try to keep a 2 metre distance from people you do not 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.

When exercising outside, try to record the route you took and when. You can exercise with others in a group. Someone in the group should keep a record of the people you're with.

Parks and playgrounds

At Alert Level 2, public parks and playgrounds are open and families can get together for their children to play. You can drive to play in a public space, for example a beach or a park.

Try to keep 2 metres away from people you do not know. 

Wash or sanitise your hands after using shared equipment, and encourage tamariki (children) to do the same.

Indoor recreation facilities

At Alert Level 2, indoor sports facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, dance studios and health clubs can open, but with extra safety measures.

You'll need to keep 1 metre apart from others. Facilities may restrict numbers to help with physical distancing.

Wipe down and clean shared gym equipment after you use it.

If you use a recreation facility, remember to sign in using the NZ COVID Tracer app.

Team sports

At Alert Level 2, team sports events can continue. These are limited to 100 people. This includes both indoor and outdoor venues. The 100 person limit includes players and spectators. Referees, officials and other workers providing services to a sports game are not included in the 100 people.

If a sports ground has more than 1 field, you can play multiple games at the same time, as long as each group is separated. Groups should try not to mix with each other, or share common facilities such as changing rooms at the same time.

If you’re organising a sports event, make sure everyone records their visit. If you’re watching the event, stand 2 metres away from others.

Guidelines from Sport New Zealand (external link)


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.

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. A defined space is a single indoor or outdoor space separated from other spaces.

You can travel to other regions that are at Alert Level 1 or 2 to attend a sports game or tournament. If the event is in an Alert Level 2 region, the 100 person limit applies.

Remember to keep a record of who you have been in contact with, and what transport services you used. 

When you are out and about, keep a 2 metre distance from people you do not know. 

If you cannot maintain physical distance from people you do not know, we encourage you to wear a face covering.

Rules for gatherings and events at Alert Level 2

Sport at Alert Level 3

At Alert Level 3, you can exercise in your local area on your own, or with people in your household bubble.

If you're exercising outside, try to keep a 2 metre distance from people who are not in your bubble.

The most important thing is to stay safe and stay close to home. Go to your local park or beach, not your favourite one. You cannot stay overnight at your bach or holiday home.

Do low-risk activities so you do not need rescuing or medical care. 

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. DOC huts and campsites are closed.
  • mountain biking — is okay on easy trails if you're experienced and know the trail. Choose a trail close to home.
  • swimming — in safe local spots. 
  • 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. 

Some trails or parks may be closed. Check with your local council to see what trails or parks are open before heading out.

Do not go out to exercise if you have cold or flu symptoms. Please stay home and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your GP for advice.

Activities you cannot do at Alert Level 3

  • 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 with people outside of your household bubble.


At Alert Level 3, playgrounds are closed. 

Indoor recreation facilities

At Alert Level 3, indoor recreation facilities such as gyms and swimming pools must close. Personal trainers and exercise instructors can offer virtual sessions that can be done from home.


You can hunt on both private and public conservation land. Stay within your region and stick to your bubble. Do not go on an overnight hunting trip. You can only hunt on foot — using quad bikes, off-road bikes, helicopters and other motorised vehicles is not allowed.

If you're out hunting, you still need to follow the local regulations.


You can fish from a wharf or the shore, but do not cast off the rocks or fish from a boat. Boating is not allowed. Keep it local — go to your nearest fishing spot, not your favourite fishing spot. 


At Alert Level 3, you can fish for whitebait 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:

  • only fishing from the banks of rivers or the water’s edge
  • not entering the water
  • not using 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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