Essential businesses and services at Alert Level 4

Decisions about essential businesses and services at COVID-19 Alert Level 4.

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Overview by sector at Alert Level 4

The list below provides a sector-level overview of the essential businesses and services. This includes any critical suppliers in their supply chains, such as a firm repairing IT and data infrastructure for an essential service can remain in operation. 

This was last updated at 4pm, 8 April 2020.

Accommodation

Lead agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

  • Any entity that provides accommodation services for essential workers, isolation/quarantine, and emergency housing.
  • Retirement villages.
  • Backpackers accommodation.

Border

Lead agency: Customs New Zealand

  • Customs New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Building and construction

Lead agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment 

  • Any entity involved in building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure, including those in the supply and support chain.
  • Any entity involved in any work required to address immediate health or life safety risks, or to prevent serious environmental harm, and relevant essential supply chain elements.
  • Any entity with statutory responsibilities or that is involved in building and resource consenting necessary for the above purposes.

Courts, tribunals and the justice system

Lead agency: Ministry of Justice 

  • Courts of New Zealand, tribunals.
  • Critical Crown entities, for example, the Electoral Commission.

Protocols setting out the arrangements for each court, including arrangements made for remote appearances and the circumstances in which people may need to appear in person are in operation.

Education 

Lead agency: Ministry of Education 

At Alert Level 4

  • Any entity or individual determined by the Secretary for Education as required to provide distance or online learning, such as printers, devices, IT.

At Alert Level 3 only

  • Any person employed or contracted as teaching, nursery and childcare staff, including specialist education professionals and others who provide support, for example to disabled children.
  • Any person employed by or contracted to an educational facility.
  • Any entity supplying educational facilities or educational materials, for example printers.

Fast-moving consumer goods 

Lead agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment 

  • Any entity involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people.

Financial services 

Lead agencies: Financial Markets Authority and Reserve Bank of New Zealand 

  • Any entity that operates consumer and business financial services, financial services infrastructure including banking services, a stock exchange, broking services, payment and settlement systems, funds management including KiwiSaver, insurance services, financial advice, and support services such as administrators, supervisors and custodians.

Health

Lead agency: Ministry of Health 

  • District Health Boards and all of their facilities, PHARMAC, New Zealand Blood Service, Health Promotion Agency, Health Quality and Safety Commission.
  • Any person employed or contracted as a doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, paramedic, medical laboratory scientists, kaiāwhina workers, social workers, aged care and community workers, and caregivers more generally.
  • Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities like rest homes.
  • Emergency dental and optometry care services.
  • Any entity providing ambulance services.
  • Any entity involved with the deceased/tūpāpaku, for example, funeral homes, crematories, cemeteries.
  • Any entity producing health sector equipment, medicines and PPE.

Local and national government 

Lead agencies: Department of Internal Affairs (local government) and State Services Commission (national government) 

  • Any entity involved in COVID-19 response, enforcement, planning or logistics or that has civil defence/emergency management functions including any entity that supplies services for these purposes.
  • Key public services. 

Foreign government

Lead agency: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade 

  • Maintaining critical operations at foreign missions based in New Zealand. 

Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing 

Lead agency: Ministry for Primary Industries 

  • Any entity involved in the packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products, whether for domestic consumption or export.
  • Any entity involved in relevant support services, such as food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions.
  • Any entity providing veterinary services.
  • Any entity whose closure would jeopardise the maintenance of animal health or welfare standards including the short-term survival of a species. 

Public safety and national security 

Lead agency: National Emergency Management Agency 

  • The Department of Corrections, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, Government Communications Security Bureau, and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
  • Courts of New Zealand.
  • Any person employed or contracted in a public safety or national security role. 

Science 

Lead agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment 

  • ESR, GNS, GeoNet, NIWA, MetService.
  • Any entity, including research organisations, involved in COVID-19 response.
  • Any entity, including research organisations, involved in hazard monitoring and resilience.
  • Any entity, including research organisations, involved in diagnostics for essential services like biosecurity or public health.
  • Laboratories and Physical Containment level 3 (PC3) facilities that could provide essential services and products that could be used to respond to COVID-19.
  • Other significant research facilities including animal facilities, clinical trials and infrastructure that requires constant attention, for example, samples, collections and storage facilities that are important to New Zealand. 

Social services 

Lead Agency: Ministry of Social Development/Oranga Tamariki

  • Those entities, including non-government organisations, that provide welfare and social services to meet immediate needs, in the following categories:
    • Where the service is the only way for people to access food and other goods they need to live day-to-day.
    • A social service that provides and supports a place for someone to live.
    • A social service that supports disabled people to maintain critical wellbeing.
    • Crisis support for people who are unsafe.

Transport and logistics 

Lead agency: Ministry of Transport 

  • Any small passenger service vehicle driver who holds the relevant licence such as ride-share or taxi drivers.
  • Any entity providing services to keep vehicles operational for essential work purposes, such as vehicle testing, mechanics, tyre services.
  • Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Customs, New Zealand Transport Agency, Civil Aviation Authority including Aviation Security Service, Maritime New Zealand including the Rescue Coordination Centre, Airways NZ, MetService, KiwiRail including Interislander, and any entity which is contracted by these entities.
  • Any entity that provides, or is contracted to an entity that provides, logistics services, including New Zealand Post and courier services.
  • Any entity providing, or that is contracted by an entity that provides, transport services to the Ministry of Health, a District Health Board, a Medical Officer of Health, or a Controller as defined in section 4 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002.
  • Any entity which provides services related to the maintenance and ongoing operation of critical infrastructure, for example, roads, rail, ports, airports.
  • Any entity which operates or is contracted by an entity listed in Schedule 1 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002, an aerodrome, a passenger and/or freight aviation service, a passenger and/or freight shipping service, a road freight service, a rail freight service, a vehicle recovery service; or a public transport service under contract with a Regional Council.
  • The delivery of solid fuels including firewood, pellets and coal for immediate needs, such as home heating or fulfilling existing orders is an essential service.
  • Maintenance of aircraft, as per manufacturers instructions

Utilities and communications, including supply chains 

Lead agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and Ministry for Culture and Heritage for broadcasting

  • Any entity involved in the production, supply, sale distribution or disposal of electricity, gas, water, wastewater, for example, sanitation, waste, rubbish collection and recycling, liquid and solid fuel, telecommunication services, and any entity that is contracted by these entities.
  • The delivery of solid fuels including firewood, pellets and coal for immediate needs, such as home heating or fulfilling existing orders, is an essential service.
  • Disposal of waste, including recycling, is an essential service.  Individual operators have responsibilities to appropriately meet the health, safety, and security requirements of their staff and customers, and should not operate if they feel they cannot do so.
  • News including news production and broadcast media are considered essential. Daily delivery of newspapers is considered essential. Non-daily newspapers for communities that are hard to reach due to physical location and with limited access to digital connectivity, or for non-English language material audiences are considered essential. Non-broadcast news organisations are encouraged to deliver services online wherever possible. Magazines do not provide critical up-to-date news information. The physical production, delivery and retail distribution of magazines are not considered an essential service. Magazines are encouraged to deliver services online wherever possible.
  • Security and cleaning of GLAM institutions: All galleries, libraries, archives and museums will remain closed to the public. Essential security and maintenance are permitted.
  • Security is considered an essential service, even if security services are being provided in relation to a premise for a non-essential service.
  • Internet service providers.
  • Any entity that provides maintenance and repair services for utilities and communications, including supply chains.
  • Any entity supplying services to essential workplaces that are required for the safe operation of that workplace, such as cleaning, security services.
  • Commercial cleaners that clean common areas of apartment buildings may also continue to operate, where there is high-traffic like lifts, stairwells.

Essential sectors and occupations specified by law

For the avoidance of doubt, sectors and occupations specified in the following are also considered essential:

  • Schedule 1 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management CDEM Act 2002 Schedule 1 of lifeline utilities, and
  • Employment Relations Act 2000 Schedule 1 of essential services.

Additional decisions made about essential services at Alert Level 4

This was last updated at 11am, 16 April 2020.

Note this reflects guidance for essential services at Alert Level 4, issued between 26 March and 27 April 2020. It does not necessarily mean these services will be operating the same way at different Alert Levels.

Accommodation and housing

Airbnb

Airbnb is considered to be an essential service but must operate under very strict protocols and management of access conditions.

Backpackers

Backpacker accommodation providers may continue to operate under very strict protocols and management of access conditions.

Campgrounds

Campgrounds may continue to operate under very strict protocols and management of access.

Property management residential

Some property management services may be considered essential, for example urgent maintenance to ensure the supply of essential services gas, water, power, waste. All other property management activities are considered non-essential and therefore must be conducted remotely, or deferred until end of Alert Level 4.

Real estate services

Real estate services, such as the sale and purchase of houses, are not considered to be essential. All real estate business must be undertaken from home.

Alcohol

At Alert Level 4, alcohol is available to be purchased in supermarkets, and Licensing Trust stores in the four areas where Licensing Trusts hold a monopoly. The four areas where Licensing Trusts have a monopoly are Invercargill, Waitakere (West Auckland), Portage (West Auckland) and Mataura (Gore). Open liquor store premises can only operate with a one-in-one-out rule. All other liquor stores must be closed to the public.

The online or remote sale and contactless delivery of alcohol including spirits is permitted under certain conditions.

Courier services

Courier and parcel services should only be used for essential goods during Alert Level 4.

During this period, our postal and courier service will be busy helping our society receive items and goods that are essential. Adding additional pressure and burden to that service may impact on society's wider ability to get through this period, and to stop the virus in its tracks.

Essential non-food consumer products

Businesses are able to sell essential non-food consumer products, provided they do so in a way that protects the public and minimises the risk of COVID-19 spreading. Registration with MBIE is required.

Maintenance and care of turf and nursery plants

From Tuesday, 14 April 2020 urgent maintenance of turf and care for plants in nurseries will be permitted under Alert Level 4 restrictions.

Maintenance and safety

Aircraft maintenance

Aircraft can be maintained according to manufacturers' maintenance instructions during Alert Level 4.

Building and construction retailers

Bunnings, Placemakers, Mitre 10 and other retailers essential to the supply chain for building and construction can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only. They will not be open to the public.

Disposal of waste and recycling services

Disposal of waste, including recycling, is an essential service and may continue to operate during Alert Level 4. Individual operators have responsibilities to appropriately meet the health, safety and security requirements of their staff and customers, and should not operate if they feel they cannot do so.

Locksmiths

Locksmiths can undertake essential work on emergency call-outs and essential activity to maintain the security of premises/personal properties.

Pest management

Pest management may be undertaken only where required for human health and safety, and it is essential during the Alert Level 4 period. However, operators must ensure people have somewhere safe to go while the process is underway, in particular where a property is being vacated.

Road safety equipment

Road safety equipment for road construction should only be used only where maintenance is essential.

Security

Security is considered an essential service, even if security services are being provided in relation to a premise for a non-essential service.

Tradespeople

Tradespeople can do maintenance if it is to maintain the necessities of life or critical to safety. This includes electricians, plumbers and builders.

Vehicle washing services

Vehicle washing services must only be undertaken when supporting essential services to ensure they are complying with the necessary health and safety requirements, for example washing off contaminated or biohazard materials.

Pets and animal welfare

Veterinary and animal health/welfare services are essential services, and pet food is a fast-moving consumer good. Pet food is available at supermarkets and vets.

Travel to look after animals is allowed, as long as you take the necessary health measures, and comply with any region-specific travel measures.

Food delivery and food banks

Food delivery, other than cooked meals such as takeaways, is allowed. This includes supermarket home delivery, food parcels from charitable organisations, frozen pre-prepared meals, subscription food boxes or any other whole-food delivery service. Meals-on-Wheels may continue to deliver prepared food.

Food banks are considered an essential social service. Food banks must operate a one-in-one-out rule, and cannot sell or provide cooked food.

Shopfronts of butchers, bakers, and fruit and vegetable suppliers are not permitted to open during Alert Level 4.

Contactless delivery of whole foods from butchers, bakers, and fruit and vegetable suppliers is permitted during the Alert Level 4 period. This includes delivery to consumers’ homes, and for the supply of supermarkets, dairies, and whole food delivery providers. Operations must follow strict COVID-19 health guidelines, orders must be taken online or via telephone, and delivery must not involve any interaction with the receiver.

Whole foods includes bread, meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, and specifically excludes cooked or prepared foods such as takeaways.

Frozen pre-prepared meals not chilled are allowed for contactless delivery under COVID-19 Alert Level 4.

Supermarkets and dairies

All supermarkets and dairies are considered essential services. A supermarket's primary focus is selling food products, and is a retail store operating on a self-service basis, selling groceries, fresh produce, meat, bakery and dairy products, and sometimes an assortment of non-food goods.

Dairies must operate a one-in-one-out rule, and can sell food that has been prepared and pre-packaged off-site by a supplier as well as pre-packaged food that needs to be heated such as pies and sausage rolls.  They cannot sell food or drink that has been prepared or cooked onsite including coffee, milkshakes, or made-to-order sandwiches.

Convenience stores at service stations can operate using the one-in-one-out rule. They cannot sell food or drink that has been prepared or cooked onsite including coffee, milkshakes, or made-to-order sandwiches. Convenience stores at service stations can sell pre-packaged food that has been prepared off-site and delivered, which can then be heated on-site if required. This includes pre-packaged pies and sausage rolls.

Click and collect services for consumers

Click and collect services can only be offered by supermarkets at Alert Level 4. No other click and collect services should be offered by any other businesses to consumers at this time.

Surveying

Essential surveying, that is critical to the supply chain of an essential service, may operate at Alert Level 4.

Surveying should only be carried out if the service is immediately required for the continuation of essential services, or to prevent the failure of an essential service in Alert Level 4. Surveying for a non-essential service should not be carried out during Alert Level 4.

If essential surveying for essential services is carried out, this should be done in a way that limits the transmission of COVID-19.

With regard to aerial surveying, businesses should comply with all aviation requirements and directions from applicable authorities.

Other services

Laundry

Self-service laundries can stay open.

Recruitment services

While recruitment for essential services positions may be considered essential, this should be done entirely remotely, from home.

Rental cars

Rental cars may be accessed in some circumstances.

Self-storage

Self-storage facilities can operate only to facilitate access for essentials. New sales or expiries of units are considered non-essential. Access to existing lockers is permitted for essential items or services only, for example fridges.

Support services like IT, payroll

Critical support services to ensure businesses and workers can continue working from home are considered to be essential. This includes functions such as IT and payroll.

Telecommunications like TVs, phones, modems, computers

The sale, installation and repair of connectivity devices, for example, TVs, mobile phones, smart phones, telephones, computers, modems/internet, radios is considered to be essential for the maintenance of connectivity. Installation and repair may continue where it is essential for the maintenance of connectivity, for example, to conduct essential business, receive news or contact a doctor. Sale, installation and repair may not occur where it is duplicating or upgrading items.

Unions

Unions can operate, ensuring that all non-essential activity is conducted from home or remotely. Unions may only attend premises in exceptional circumstances, like for essential health and safety or security issues.

Other decisions

Methanex

Methanex can remain in production, but at a scale consistent with the stability of gas supply.

NZ Steel

NZ Steel is to shut down in a way that allows for production to recommence easily.

Pulp and paper plants

Pulp and paper plants are to shut down their non-essential elements in a way that allows for production to recommence easily, and while maintaining essential production.

Tiwai Point

The Tiwai Point smelter is exempt from closure.

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