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.
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 is not 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.
- Places where the public congregate must close.
- All bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries, playgrounds and any other place where the public congregate must close their face-to-face function.
- Playgrounds are an area where people congregate and so are off-limits.
- People can exercise outdoors but must maintain a 2-metre distance from others.
- People are expected to stay local when leaving the home.
- 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 are unwell, do NOT go outside.
Interaction with others
- Staying at home is meant to reduce the transmission of the virus.
- For this to work, you are 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).
Only businesses that are essential may remain open during the Level 4 Alert period. If a business isn’t sure if it provides services or products which qualify as essential, it should close.
If you are 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.
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.
Gatherings are cancelled
All indoor and outdoor events cannot proceed.
This does not include workplaces of people undertaking essential businesses.
These requirements apply to family and social gatherings such as birthdays, funerals, tangi or weddings. These gatherings cannot go ahead.
We are asking you only spend time with those who you are in self-isolation with, and keep your distance from all others at all times.
Funerals and tangi
Funeral directors provide essential services and will continue working during Level 4. However, gathering together for funerals and tangi 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 are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. For support, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.
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.
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 (call 111).
Public transport and travel
You may not fly within New Zealand.
You may use public transport or a private vehicle to get food or medicine.
Private vehicles and active travel
Using private vehicles for transport is allowed. Where possible, practise physical distancing.
Personal walks and other active travel like biking is fine, provided you follow the 2-metre physical distancing requirement at all times.
International air travel
Visitors and tourists can still use international air services to travel home but commercial flights have been impacted.
Do not go to the airport unless you have a ticket. If you do not have ticket, contact a travel agent or airline directly. If you can't get a ticket, please contact your country's embassy.
Domestic air travel
While in Alert Level 4, air travel will be used only to transport people undertaking essential services and to transport freight.
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 are at high risk if you are 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.
Audio version of this page
Simplified easy-read description of Alert Level 4