Gatherings and events

Advice about gatherings and public events, refunds for events, and reporting breaches of self-isolation.

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Gatherings and events at Alert Level 2

Gatherings can be held with up to 100 people in a defined space.

Gathering at your home

You can have guests over to your home, but gatherings are limited to up to 100 people. This includes the people who usually live in your house.

Play it safe — keep surfaces clean, wash your hands and maintain safe physical distancing where possible.

If everybody knows one another and a record of who attended can be easily generated after the event if needed, then you do not have to keep a formal record at the time.  However, if not everybody knows one another you must keep a record of those attending at the time of the event. This needs to include name, what time they were there and one method of contact — either an active email address or phone number.

To play it safe, you are encouraged to keep records regardless.

Social gatherings outside your home

You can attend gatherings in controlled settings outside of your home.

Social gatherings include:

  • weddings
  • funerals and tangihanga
  • family events
  • religious services
  • community club activities — except when they occur at the same time and place as services provided under a club licence
  • community sport
  • private functions like a birthday or stag do.

Gatherings must have no more than 100 people in each defined space and keep high hygiene standards.

Defined spaces

A defined space is an indoor or outdoor space that has walls or partitions that divide it from other spaces. These walls can be permanent or temporary. If outdoor, spaces are divided if everyone in one space is at least 2 metres from those in another space.  Each defined space can have up to 100 people.

Hospitality and event facility businesses and social gatherings, including faith-based gatherings and clubs, can operate with defined spaces, with up to 100 people in each space. You need to ensure each group does not mingle with other groups in common spaces, for example entrances, exits and toilets.

This also applies to separate businesses that work from the same location.

Contact tracing

The person responsible must record attendees to ensure contact tracing can happen if necessary. At a social gathering you don’t need to do this if every person at the gathering knows each other.

Venue hire

If your gathering is at a venue or in a defined space you have hired exclusively for the gathering, then the rules on gatherings apply. If you are at a business or service you haven’t hired out, for example dinner with friends at a restaurant, then the rules for businesses and hospitality establishments apply.

Doing business at Alert Level 2

Funerals and tangihanga

Organisers of funerals and tangihanga no longer need to apply to the Ministry of Health to hold one.

Information on funerals and tangihanga

Faith-based gatherings and clubs

Faith-based gatherings and clubs are social gatherings and so don’t need to follow the rules for businesses and hospitality.

However, if an institution or club operates with a club licence to sell alcohol, then it must follow hospitality requirements.

More information for religious communities

Don’t participate in gatherings if you are sick or in isolation

You shouldn’t participate in any gatherings if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you need to be in isolation for any reason. 

Gatherings at event facilities

Gatherings at event facilities include those at:

  • cinemas
  • casinos
  • theatres
  • concert venues
  • stadiums
  • conference facilities.

Gatherings must have no more than 100 people in each defined space and keep high hygiene standards.

Defined spaces

A defined space is an indoor or outdoor space that has walls or partitions that divide it from other spaces. These walls can be permanent or temporary. If outdoor, spaces are divided if everyone in one space is at least 2 metres from those in another space.  Each defined space can have up to 100 people.

Event facilities can operate with defined spaces, with up to 100 people in each space. You need to ensure each group does not mingle with other groups in common spaces, for example entrances, exits and toilets.

This also applies to separate businesses that work from the same location.

Contact tracing

The business or person responsible must record attendees to ensure contact tracing can happen if necessary. This will need to happen even if each person knows everyone at the gathering.

Physical distancing

You should keep 1 metre physical distance from people you don’t know.

Don’t participate in gatherings if you are sick or in isolation

You shouldn’t participate in any gatherings if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you need to be in isolation for any reason.

Public venues

Many public venues will be open again at Alert Level 2. These include:

  • museums and libraries
  • gyms
  • pools
  • community centres.

All public venues must keep records to enable contact tracing. They must also manage their numbers to ensure that every individual or group of people is kept 1 metre apart.

Gatherings and events at Alert Level 3

Gatherings of people create a very high risk of transmitting COVID-19. At Alert Level 3, we are keeping tight restrictions on gatherings. The only permitted gatherings are for:

  • funerals and tangihanga
  • wedding ceremonies, not receptions.

Keeping these gatherings small means the risk of community transmission stays low and our gains from Alert Level 4 aren’t compromised.

Workplaces, education facilities, public transport and supermarkets are not considered gatherings.

If a gathering goes ahead, there are additional steps the attendees must take to ensure the gathering is safe.

You should:

  • Keep a 2 metre distance from people who aren’t in your extended bubble.
  • Wash your hands regularly throughout the event.
  • Make a list of those who attended. This will ensure contact tracing can happen if necessary.
  • Don't attend if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or if you need to be isolation/quarantine for any reason.

Weddings and civil unions

Wedding ceremonies are acceptable gatherings at Alert Level 3 but are limited to 10 people or under.

Wedding receptions and other celebrations are not allowed.

For those holding a wedding ceremony, the limit means there can only be the couple, the celebrant, a couple of witnesses and a small number of family up to a maximum of 10 people. Other people can still attend through video conferencing.

Those who do attend must keep themselves and others safe. Keep a list of those who attend, stay at least 2 meters apart and wash hands regularly.

No food or drink should be consumed and there can be no reception.

Advice about virtual weddings

Under the Marriage Act, a marriage can’t happen virtually. The couple, celebrant and witnesses must be physically present in the same place.

How to get a refund for a marriage licence

The Registrar-General’s team is offering refunds to those who cannot use the marriage licence within 3 months of getting it because of COVID-19. Email celebrants@dia.govt.nz for a refund.

Funerals and tangihanga

Funerals and tangihanga are acceptable gatherings at Alert Level 3 but are limited to 10 people or under. No food or drink should be consumed at any gathering, including funerals and tangihanga.

More details about funerals and tangihanga

Advice for at-risk people

People at higher risk to severe illness from COVID-19, for example, those with underlying medical conditions should avoid gatherings at Alert Level 3.

Gatherings and events at Alert Level 4

At Alert Level 4, we must limit interactions with others as much as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This means all indoor and outdoor events cannot proceed. This does not include the workplaces of people undertaking essential businesses.

These requirements apply to family and social gatherings such as birthdays, funerals, tangihanga or weddings. These gatherings cannot go ahead.

We are asking you only spend time with those who you're in self-isolation with, and keep your distance from all others at all times.

Weddings and civil unions

Approvals for weddings and civil unions

Marriage licences are issued by the Registrar-General. The Registrar-General’s role is to

  • issue licences where the couple meets the legal requirements
  • register celebrants
  • register marriages and civil unions that have been legally solemnised.

The Registrar-General does not approve or decline individual ceremonies. The Registrar-General does not have authority to issue permissions and exemptions for weddings or civil unions.

It's up to the couple and the celebrant to use their judgement as to whether the marriage is essential and should proceed.

Advice for celebrants

The Registrar-General strongly advises celebrants to carefully consider any request to conduct a marriage and whether it's the right thing to do at this time, taking into account the Ministry of Health’s guidance.

Celebrants need to be aware that this is not an essential service. They cannot justify their travel with the need to perform a marriage, even if it’s for someone who may not have long to live.

No celebrant is obliged to conduct a ceremony.

Advice for couples

The Registrar-General advises couples who, for whatever reason, believe that they need to go ahead with a marriage to use a celebrant in their bubble or who lives close by, for example, across the street, and follow the distancing and sanitising guidelines.  

Advice about ‘virtual’ weddings

Under the Marriage Act, a marriage can’t occur virtually and the couple, celebrant and witnesses must be physically present in the same place.

How to get a refund for a marriage licence

The Registrar-General’s team is offering refunds to those who are not able to use the marriage licence within 3 months of getting it because of COVID-19. Simply email celebrants@dia.govt.nz for a refund.

Funerals and tangihanga

Gathering together for funerals and tangihanga is not permitted while New Zealand is at Alert Level 4.

More details about funerals and tangihanga at Alert Level 4

Refunds for events

In the first instance, please contact the event organiser. They will likely need some time to determine their process and obligations for any refunds, payment to suppliers etc.

Please be patient as they work through the process to meet any obligations they may have.

Reporting breaches

If you believe you have observed behaviour that's not appropriate, and you're certain the individuals concerned are not following alert level requirements, please complete the Police online report.

Police online reporting form (external link)

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