Alert Level 4

Find out what Alert Level 4 means for New Zealand.

We are at Alert Level 2

New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2 at 11:59pm on Wednesday 13 May.

Alert Level 2

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Staying at home — what it means

We need your support to protect New Zealand and eradicate COVID-19. Enforcement measures may be used to ensure everyone acts together, now.

  • Everyone must now stay home, except those providing essential services.
  • Only make physical contact with those who you live with.

Don’t worry, during this time, you will be able to access all the essentials you need, including medicine, food and other home supplies.

Advice for staying at home and things to do to make it easier

Guidance on Alert Level 4 rules from Ministry of Health and New Zealand Police (external link)

Food and shopping

  • Supermarkets, dairies, pharmacies and food banks will remain open.
  • When shopping, as much as possible send in only 1 family member at a time. Practise 2 metre physical distancing and hygiene rules while shopping.
  • Dairies and food banks will operate a strict “one-in, one-out” policy. They won’t be allowed to sell or provide food prepared on the premises.
  • Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing, will still operate.
  • Freight and courier drivers will continue to transport and deliver food.
  • Grocery food deliveries — such as My Food Bag and Hello Fresh — will continue, as long as the food isn't pre-cooked.
  • Takeaway services will be closed.
  • Liquor stores will close, unless within a Licensing Trust Area and will operate with a strict “one-in, one-out” policy. Wine and beer will continue to be sold at supermarkets.

Guidance on how to shop safely

Information about accessing food banks

Public spaces and gatherings

Places where the public congregate must close

Any place where the public congregates must close their face-to-face function. This includes:

  • bars
  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • gyms
  • cinemas
  • pools
  • museums
  • libraries
  • playgrounds

Indoor and outdoor events cannot proceed

Events, including family and social gatherings cannot go ahead. This includes birthdays, funerals, tangihanga, and weddings. Workplaces where people are undertaking essential businesses are not included.


  • Rubbish collection will continue. Check your local authority website for recycling.
  • NZ Post will deliver mail and courier drivers will continue to make deliveries.
  • Self-service laundries can stay open, as long as 2 metre physical distancing is enforced.
  • Service stations will remain open and will be supplied.
  • Public transport, regional air travel and ferries are mostly restricted to those involved in essential services and freight.
  • Some public transport will be available for essential trips, such as to the supermarket or doctor, but options will be limited.
  • Building and construction workers will carry on in cases where they’re needed to maintain human health or safety.

Recreation or exercise

  • You can go for a walk, run or bike ride. Exercise is good for people’s mental health.
  • If you do, it must be solitary, or with those you live with.
  • Keep a 2 metre distance.
  • Don't do activities that may require search and rescue services. For example, don’t go swimming, surfing, boating, hunting or tramping.
  • If you're unwell, do NOT go outside.

Guidance for leaving your house

Advice for exercising safely, including types of exercise you should stick to and where you can exercise

Interaction with others

  • Staying at home is meant to reduce the transmission of the virus.
  • For this to work, you're asked to only have physical contact with the people you live with.
  • If you live alone, you may arrange with another person living alone or a household to be part of your self-isolating group, or bubble. This can include at most 2 households, and they must be in the same town/city.
  • If you want to talk to a friend, call or video chat with them.
  • If you want to talk to a neighbour, do it over the fence.
  • Children can travel between the homes of separated parents so as long as they live in the same town/city.
  • Feel free to drop off groceries to others, but drop the groceries a the door. Always keep a 2 metre distance.

If you’re not sure what assistance may be available or don’t know who to contact for help, call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997, 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

Essential businesses

Only businesses that are essential may remain open during the Alert Level 4 period. If a business isn’t sure if it provides services or products which qualify as essential, it should close.

If you're a business or worker in a non-essential business, you may still work — as long as this is from home. If you cannot work remotely, you must stay home.

Find out more about essential businesses

Where can I get financial support?

The Government is acting to support all people in New Zealand through these changes. This includes:

  • a wage subsidy scheme 
  • leave and self-isolation support 
  • business cash flow and tax measures. 

Your usual financial support, such as benefits, will continue.

COVID-19 support, including how to apply, on the Work and Income website (external link)

More information about the types of financial support available

Funerals and tangihanga

Funeral directors provide essential services and will continue working during Alert Level 4. However, gathering together for funerals and tangihanga is not permitted while New Zealand is at Alert Level 4.

Only people from the same self-isolation household group as the deceased person can go to the funeral home and cemetery with the deceased, and only if these are in the same region. Talk with your funeral director about specific arrangements, including how to keep your physical distance.

This may be a challenging time for you and your family. If you ever feel you're not coping, it's important to talk with a health professional. For support, you can call or text 1737. It's free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to talk with a trained counsellor.

Find out more about funerals and tangihanga


All schools and early childhood education centres are closed.

Schools will be providing information directly to all parents about what this means for them.

The school term break was brought forward to start on Monday 30 March. Schools are establishing ways to teach online and remotely.

Where possible, essential workers with children aged 0 to 14 need to make their own arrangements for childcare. We know this will not be possible for everyone.

Alternative arrangements are in place to allow essential workers to access childcare and continue to work.

Your employer will tell you if you qualify as an essential worker for these purposes.

Information about schools and early childhood, and information for parents and caregivers about arranging childcare

How to access healthcare

Health and medical facilities are essential services and will remain open while we are at Alert Level 4.

You can still get medical help if you need it. This includes healthcare services, such as Healthline, GPs, cancer services, disability and aged support services.

However, if you need to see a doctor or other medical professional you MUST phone first.

Most consultations will happen over the phone or by videoconference to stop any risk of COVID-19 spreading by person-to-person contact.

If a face-to-face meeting is required, your doctor or other medical professional will organise this with you.

Please only call Healthline if you or someone you know feels unwell or you need medical advice, rather than general questions about COVID-19. It's important Healthline is able to answer calls from those who need medical advice. The more people who call asking for general information, the fewer people who need medical advice can get through.

If you cannot get through and are severely unwell, for example having trouble breathing, contact emergency services by calling 111.

Further advice on how to access healthcare

Transport and travel

At Alert Level 4, all types of transport and travel are restricted.

Only travel for essential reasons, such as to get food or medicine, or to go to work if you’re an essential worker.

Transport and travel if you’re unwell or at risk

If you’re unwell or at high risk, you should avoid leaving your home at all.

Advice if you’re unwell

Advice for at-risk and vulnerable people

Public transport, taxis, and ride-sharing services

You can use public transport, taxis and ride-sharing services for transport for essential reasons.

Information about public transport

Advice about using taxi and ride-sharing services

Private vehicles and active transport

You can use a private vehicle for essential reasons. You should only travel in your vehicle with people from your household.

Advice for using private vehicles

You can use active transport like walking and biking, if you keep a 2 metre distance from anyone not in your household.

How to exercise safely

International air travel

Visitors and tourists can still use international air services to travel home but commercial flights have been impacted.

Don't go to the airport unless you have a ticket. If you don't have ticket, contact a travel agent or airline directly. If you can't get a ticket, please contact your country's embassy.

Information about travel restrictions and visa extensions from Immigration New Zealand (external link)

Information about international travel, including latest border restrictions and advice about travelling overseas

Guidance for recent arrivals in New Zealand

Domestic air travel

While in Alert Level 4, air travel will be used only to transport people undertaking essential services and to transport freight.

Information about domestic travel exemption for foreign nationals connecting to international flights

At-risk people

At-risk or vulnerable people in particular should stay at home, and ask others to pick up supplies for them. You just need to ask them to leave supplies at the door, rather than come in. 

You're at high risk if you're over 70, have a compromised immune system or have underlying health conditions.

People with underlying medical conditions include a compromised immune system, liver disease, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes mellitus, pregnant people or those on immunosuppressant medications.

You need to take more precautions to protect yourself against all infections, including COVID-19.

More information for vulnerable and at-risk groups

Download a poster asking people not to enter your building

Find out more about COVID-19

Follow normal emergency procedures

If there's another emergency while we are at Alert Level 4, you should do what you would normally do.

If you feel an earthquake: drop, cover and hold during the shaking. If you’re near the coast, remember long or strong: get gone.

If you're advised to evacuate by authorities because of a tsunami, flood, fire or other emergency, follow the evacuation advice.

Emergency evacuation orders will override the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 requirement to stay at home. If you have to evacuate and leave your house, take your grab bag with you and try to avoid contact with people who aren’t in your bubble. Stay 2 metres away from others.

If life or property is threatened always dial 111 for Police, Fire or Ambulance.

How to get ready for an emergency (external link)

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