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.
Even if you are wearing a face covering, we recommend still physically distancing.
Physical distancing at Alert Level 1
COVID-19 is contained at Alert Level 1, so you do not need to maintain physical distance from others. It is still worthwhile keeping a safe distance from people you do not know while out and about. This will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 if it reappears in the community.
Physical distancing at Alert Level 2
At Alert Level 2, you can leave home and do many aspects of everyday life. You should follow public health measures and consider others around you.
What to do
- When you leave your home, keep a 2 metre distance from other people, except for friends and family. This means making the space when you are in places like playgrounds, parks, shops, or walking along the street.
- Businesses must make sure workers can keep 1 metre apart, where possible.
- When using public transport, you must be seated — you are not permitted to stand, unless you are on a dedicated school bus.
- At restaurants, cafes and bars, there must be 1 metre between adjacent tables.
- At event facilities such as cinemas, stadiums, and concert venues, everyone must keep 1 metre apart, except for friends and families.
You can socialise at Alert Level 2, but keep track of where you have been and who you have seen. This is easier if you socialise with people you know well.
If you are feeling sick or have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, we recommend you stay at home and not socialise with anyone.
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 affect 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 do not live together and are not 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 3
Outside of your home, you legally must keep a 2 metre distance from people at all times, as much as possible.
Workers legally must maintain a 1 metre physical distance in the workplace, as much as possible.
Physical distancing at Alert Level 4
Outside of your home keep a 2 metre distance from people at all times.