Doing business at Alert Level 3

At Alert Level 3, there are restrictions to keep workers safe, limit interaction with customers and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Golden Rules for business at Alert Level 3

  • If your business requires close physical contact, it cannot operate.
  • We recommend people work from home if they can.
  • You legally must display a QR code and have an alternative contact tracing system. We recommend you make sure that people either scan in or provide their contact details. 
  • Customers cannot come onto your premises — unless you are a supermarket, dairy, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, petrol station, pharmacy or a health service.
  • Your business legally must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up legally must also be contactless.
  • Basic hygiene measures legally must be maintained. This includes physical distancing, handwashing and regularly cleaning surfaces.
  • Workers legally must stay home if they are sick.
  • Workers legally must remain a minimum of 1 metre apart at all times where practical. We also recommend workers wear a face covering, and use personal protective equipment (PPE) if needed.
  • There are different rules for essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders and corrections staff. You can get further advice from the Ministry of Health (external link).
  • You legally must meet all other health and safety obligations.

How to do business safely

At Alert Level 3, businesses should self-assess their ability to meet the public health guidelines to decide if they can operate safely. If your business requires close physical contact it cannot open.

If you do decide to operate, make sure you have a plan for keeping your workers, your customers and the community safe from COVID-19.

Be contactless

Have ways for customers to pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. We also recommend having contactless delivery or pick-up methods.

For retailers, manufacturers and the service industries, if you did not use personal protective equipment (PPE) before COVID-19, you do not need it now.

Businesses providing necessities

Businesses providing necessities, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, dairies and petrol stations can open at Alert Level 3.

Businesses that provide necessities should:

  • try to reduce the number of physical interactions between workers and customers
  • have appropriate health, hygiene and safety measures in place.

Businesses can sell prepared food and drinks, but we recommend encouraging customers to consume them off-site.

Retail and hospitality

Customers cannot come onto your premises — unless you are a supermarket, dairy, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service.

Retail shops can only open to customers for delivery and non-contact collection of goods and prepared food at the door (including the doors of businesses located inside malls). Customers cannot enter your store to browse products, or consume food and drinks. 

You can decide if customers can use reusable cups and containers. If you do allow reusable cups, we recommend you follow food safety requirements. 

Building and construction

At Alert Level 3, most building and construction work can continue.

COVID-19: Building and construction sector guidance (external link)


All goods can be delivered, if it is contactless. Alcohol can be delivered if the business has an off-licence.

WorkSafe advice for delivery drivers (external link)

In-home services

You can provide certain services in home, if you can meet physical distancing requirements. However, we recommend not having house cleaning.

Public facilities

Public facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, libraries and museums cannot open.

Travelling for work at Alert Level 3

If your workers have to travel during Alert Level 3, they will need to have proof that they are allowed to cross an Alert Level boundary.

If there is an Alert Level 3 boundary, we will publish information on this website about which travel is permitted.

Get free COVID-19 resources

You can order free printed resources through our website to help your workplace or business operate safely. This includes posters, signs and stickers.

Order free posters, signs and other resources

Further information and resources for businesses has sector specific information for businesses that can operate during different Alert Levels

Workplace operations at COVID-19 Alert Levels (external link)

WorkSafe has guidance on operating safely at all alert levels, including setting up a COVID-19 safety plan.

Your COVID-19 safety plan (external link) 

The Public Service Commission has detailed guidelines for State services.

State services guidelines during COVID-19 (external link)

Last updated: