Physical distancing

Physical distancing is an important way we can unite against COVID-19.

What is physical distancing?

Physical distancing, sometimes known as “social distancing”, is about keeping a safe distance from others.

This is about physical distance. For your own mental health you can, and should, keep in touch with friends and family via the phone, or online

How to physically distance

It’s best not to shake hands, kiss hello or hongi for now. 

Where you can, keep a bit of space.

Hongi and harirū

We are all being asked to play our part to refrain from physical contact to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through physical contact. As well as the impact on New Zealanders generally, this will have an effect on particular areas of tikanga Māori including kawa, as we move to protect our whānau, hapū and iwi. It will particularly affect those who are more vulnerable such as our kaumātua — our koroua and kuia.

In practice, for those who don’t live together and aren’t family/whānau or close friends, this means suspending our customs of hongi and harirū, as well as kissing, hugging and other forms of close physical contact.

Alternatives include waving, smiling or other non-physical contact greetings.

Physical distancing at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2, you can leave home to do more things and reconnect with friends and family. You should follow public health measures and consider others around you.

We still need to be careful and socialise safely to keep COVID-19 under control.  

What we can do: 

  • Keep a 2 metre distance in public. Take extra care if you interact with people you don’t know as it won’t be easy to do contact tracing if needed. This means making the space when you’re in places like playgrounds, parks, retail businesses, shopping malls or walking along the street.
  • Keep 1 metre physical distance in ‘controlled environments’ where contact tracing and other public health measures are possible. This includes places like cafes, church groups, gatherings, restaurants and gyms.

Try to only socialise with people you know well and keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.

If you’re feeling sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19, cold and flu like symptoms, you should stay at home and not socialise with anyone.

Physical distancing at Alert Level 3

As a nation we did a great job at Alert Level 4 of staying in our bubble and maintaining physical distancing when we went outside. This is one of the key reasons we were able to move down to Alert Level 3 and we have to keep it up.

Outside of your home, you must continue to keep a 2 metre distance from people at all times.

Workers must maintain physical distance in the workplace.

Advice on staying home and self-isolation

Physical distancing at Alert Level 4

Outside of your home, or if you're sick, keep a 2 metre distance from people at all times.

Advice on staying home and self-isolation

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