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 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 if you extend it. 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 should self-isolate from everyone else within your bubble.
Don’t invite or allow social visitors, such as friends, family and whānau, to enter your home.
Examples of expanding your bubble
- If a relative or loved one lives locally and is currently alone, you can extend your bubble to include them.
- If you're returning to work and need to make childcare or other care arrangements for those already in your bubble, a care provider can join your bubble.
Travelling around New Zealand
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. There are some restrictions if you do travel. You can only move once, and in 1 direction.
New Zealand citizens living in the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau can travel domestically within New Zealand to connect to international flights to these islands.
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, or children who might be in shared care. Or, if you're living alone, or a couple who wants the company of another one or two people. These people don't 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're in this situation or concerned for someone else, find out what support is available.
Exercise and recreation
We have suggestions about how you can exercise safely and be safe doing other recreational activities.
- Where and how you can exercise and do recreational activities
- Detailed information on sport and recreation under each Alert Level on the Sport New Zealand website (external link)
FAQs for recreation
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.
You can hunt on private land, but not on 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 isn't allowed.
Boating, yachting and any team sports or training are not allowed.
Who can I do recreation with?
You can do recreational activities by yourself or with people from your bubble.
We have guidance on education during each Alert Level, including distance learning and sending children to school.
Most tertiary education will be through distance learning. Tertiary education facilities may open for limited activities involving small groups of up to 10 people where the members of the group stay the same and maintain physical distancing. Examples of these limited activities include campus research that can’t be done off campus, lab work, and practical hands on learning such as trades courses. Courses where close contact is unavoidable will remain online only
FAQs for education
Is it safe for my child to go to school?
Yes, it's 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.
Businesses and employees
There's guidance for businesses and employees under Alert Level 3. Find more information about:
Examples of businesses and employees under Alert Level 3
- If you run a takeaway business, you can reopen it if you have pre-ordered contactless pick up or can provide home delivery.
- A real estate agent can open, but people should work from home if they can. The agent can enter people’s 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 for businesses and employees
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, for example, 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?
Employment New Zealand has advice, including on health and safety, financial support and speaking up.
Travel and transport
The primary aim of travel restrictions is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand by reducing contact between people, including by stopping or restricting some types of travel. This is the best way to fight COVID-19 and ultimately save lives in New Zealand.
Travel is still restricted and is only allowed for permitted movement in your local area, for example going to work or school, shopping, or getting exercise.
Find more information about:
- public, private and active transport
- taxi and ride-sharing services
- travel within New Zealand
- leaving your house
Other travel should not be undertaken. The risk of transmitting the disease is too high. This isn't 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's a suitable one in your local area.
Examples of travel and transport
- 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 recreation or work unless you're an essential worker travelling for work.
- You should not take a flight to another region unless you're an essential worker, travelling to do essential work.
FAQs for travel and transport
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. This is only if you're not working from home or doing distance learning.
Can I take public transport if I am sick?
You should avoid public transport if you're sick. Call your GP or Healthline to get advice.
Gatherings and events
Gatherings and events create a very high risk of transmitting COVID-19. At Alert Level 3, we are keeping tight restrictions on gatherings. The only permitted gatherings of up to 10 people are for:
- funerals and tangihanga
- wedding ceremonies, not receptions.
Find more information on:
- gatherings and events
- community groups, faith-based groups, clubs and societies
- gatherings for religious communities
- funerals and tangihanga
Examples of gatherings and events
If you hold a wedding ceremony:
- the 10-person limit means there can only be the couple, the celebrant, a couple of witnesses and family
- 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.
Most people will still need to attend through video conferencing.
FAQs for gatherings and events
Why is there a limit of 10 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.
There's guidance for people at higher risk of COVID-19. It includes advice under the different Alert Levels, who is at higher risk, and how they can protect themselves.
Staying safe and well
We should work together to stay safe and well at every Alert Level. Kindness to others is a powerful way to look after each other.
Detailed table of New Zealand COVID-19 Alert Levels
New Zealand’s 4-level Alert System specifies measures we must take against COVID-19 at each level. Find out what each Alert Level means for you:
NZSL videos relating to this page
- Extending your bubble (external link)
- Can I create a bubble with another person? (external link)
- Where can I travel? (external link)
Exercise and recreation
- Education (external link)
- Is it safe for my child to go to school? (external link)
- Tertiary education (external link)
Gatherings and events
Easy Read information relating to this page
- The rules for travel in Alert Level 3 [DOCX, 4.8 MB]
- The rules for travel in Alert Level 3 [PDF, 1.7 MB]
- Total Mobility card changes — 7 May [PDF, 518 KB]
- Total Mobility card changes — 7 May [DOCX, 1.4 MB]
- Making your bubble bigger [DOCX, 5.4 MB]
- Making your bubble bigger [PDF, 1.6 MB]
- Work and volunteer work [DOCX, 6.9 MB]
- Work and volunteer work [PDF, 2.2 MB]