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.

Latest update — 1 November 2021

  • The Government has announced a 3 step plan for easing Alert Level 3 restrictions in Auckland and Waikato.
  • Some businesses will be able to open at step 2.

Find out more about doing business at Steps 1, 2 and 3

Who can open

At Alert Level 3, everyone should work from home if they can.

If your business involves close physical contact, it cannot open. 

All other businesses can operate, but with restrictions. This includes:

  • meeting physical distancing requirements
  • having extra hygiene measures
  • regularly cleaning and disinfecting shared surfaces
  • having contactless options for ordering, pick-up, delivery and payment
  • making sure staff, customers and visitors wear a face covering if they are required to. 

If your business does not have measures in place to operate safely, then you should close.

Guidance for specific businesses at different Alert Levels | (external link)

Information for businesses and services in primary industries | (external link)

Keeping employees and customers safe

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. 

Customers cannot come onto your premises — unless you are a:

  • supermarket
  • dairy
  • food bank
  • liquor store in a Licensing Trust area
  • butcher  — your shop must be indoors and have a fixed location
  • fishmonger — your shop must be indoors and have a fixed location
  • greengrocer — your shop must be indoors and have a fixed location
  • petrol station
  • self-service laundry
  • pharmacy
  • health service
  • accomodation service
  • court or tribunal
  • social and community-based service to maintain critical wellbeing or crisis support
  • rental car service
  • veterinary and animal care service
  • shopping malls — only to access stores which are open to customers, or to pick up a contactless order 
  • public transport or passenger service
  • New Zealand Post — for PO Box and collection services only
  • bank or financial institution —  in person customer transactions can only happen if online or phone banking options are not possible
  • hardware or DIY store— these can open to trade customers only
  • venue that holds organised funerals, tangihanga, weddings and civil unions

Customers cannot eat or drink on your premises. 

At Alert Level 3, work such as building and construction can resume.

If you are a retail business operating in the Alert Level 3 area, you can sell and deliver both essential and non-essential goods to customers in the Alert Level 4 area.

If you own or run a business where staff cannot work from home, make sure:

  • employees keep 1 metre apart. 
  • customers stay 2 metres apart, including when waiting in line to pick up a contactless order. If your business is allowed customers on site and physical distancing is difficult, you may need to implement a "one-in, one out" policy.
  • you offer flexible working options — for example staggered meal breaks, or staggered start and finish times to reduce the number of people your employees have contact with at work. 
  • your employees stay home if they are sick, have cold or flu symptoms, or if they have been asked to get a COVID-19 test. You can apply for financial support so you can keep paying your employees who need to isolate. Financial support if an employee needs to self-isolate.
  • you provide hygiene and cleaning products so workers can clean and disinfect shared surfaces, and wash and dry their hands.
  • you display your QR code and have an alternative contact tracing system for people who cannot access a smartphone.

Face coverings

Your employees must wear a face covering if they work:

  • in a public-facing role at a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, licensing trust, pharmacy, food bank, self-service laundry, hardware store, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, shopping mall, bank or New Zealand Post
  • in the public-facing area of a court, tribunal, local or central government agency or social service provider
  • as a delivery driver to residential addresses — delivery drivers only need to wear a face covering when they are out of their vehicle
  • as a driver of a taxi, ride-share vehicle, ferry, bus or train used for public transport — this excludes school buses
  • in the passenger areas of the ferry that runs between the North and South Island
  • at a veterinary clinic
  • in someone's home — for example as a tradesperson or locksmith.

Some people are exempt from wearing a face covering.

Who does not need to wear a face covering

Record keeping and contact tracing

At Alert Level 3, it is important we have strong contact tracing abilities. Many Alert Level 3 businesses are now legally required to provide safe and secure ways for everyone 12 years and over who enters their premises or location to record their visits. 

Businesses legally must display an NZ COVID Tracer QR code in a prominent place at or near your main entrance. You also need to offer visitors an alternative way to record their visit. If you are using an alternative contact tracing system, you need to record:

  • the entry and exit times for workers, visitors and contractors
  • the names of everyone on your premises or location
  • their contact details.

Make sure you keep your contact tracing records secure.

Find out more about mandatory record keeping

Get your QR code poster

Businesses that cannot open at Alert Level 3

  • Farmers markets
  • Nightclubs
  • Entertainment and tourist facilities where people gather —  for example museums, cinemas, libraries, arcades.
  • Hairdressers and beauty salons
  • Gyms and exercise facilities
  • Driving instructors
  • Outdoor adventure activity operators

Going into someone's home to work

At Alert Level 3, only certain in-home services can operate.

Your employees can go into someone's home to work if they are a tradesperson  for example a plumber, electrician, locksmith, if they are a gardener or landscaper, or for pest control. 

They must wear a face covering when going into someone's home. 

They should stay 2 metres apart from everyone in the home. We recommend having online payment options to minimise physical contact.

They also need to keep records of their visit to support contact tracing. This includes recording:

  • the date and time they arrive and leave a customer's home
  • their customer's contact details.

Your employees should not go into someone's home if they are unwell, or if the clients they are visiting are unwell.

Home cleaners can only work to provide support to vulnerable people — for example, disabled people or people with health conditions.

In-home carers

At Alert Level 3, in-home carers can continue to provide support. Employers of in-home carers must have appropriate guidelines and systems in place to keep their staff safe in the workplace. This includes following the public health guidelines and notifying a carer if the person they are visiting is sick.

Anyone who enters a home to provide care should:

  • stay home if they are sick and get tested if they have any COVID-19 symptoms
  • practise good hygiene at all times
  • maintain physical distancing where possible
  • use personal protective equipment (PPE) as appropriate
  • keep a record of their visit for contact tracing purposes
  • get vaccinated if they have not already.

Travelling for work

Travelling to the workplace

At Alert Level 3, your employees can travel locally using both public and private transport to get to their workplace premises in an Alert Level 3 area. Think about what tasks can be done from home — for example, having a virtual meeting rather than meeting in-person, or doing the administration work from home. 

If your workers do need to go onto the workplace premises, only allow those who need to go into work to do so. Everyone else should work from home.

Public transport services will have limited capacity at Alert Level 3 so everyone can distance safely. This means public transport services cannot carry standing passengers.

Public transport at Alert Level 3

Travelling within the Alert Level 3 area

Permitted movement within an Alert Level 3 area

If workers need to cross the Alert Level boundary

Business or work travel in and out of Auckland is strictly limited. The Alert Level boundaries are an important way to manage the risk of the virus spreading.

If your workers need to cross the Alert Level boundary, only allow those who need to travel to do so. You should put in place extra measures to keep your workers safe — including rotating shifts to minimise the number of people they come in contact with.

Business travel over an Alert Level boundary

Financial support for businesses

If your business needs financial support, there may be help for you.

Financial support for businesses

Last updated: at