Staying at home

What does staying at home mean?

The Government has asked all people in New Zealand to stay at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

As long as you are not unwell, you can leave your house to:

  • access essential services, like buying groceries, or going to a bank or pharmacy
  • go to work if you work for an essential service
  • go for a walk, or exercise and enjoy nature.

If you do leave your house, you must keep a 2 metre distance from other people at all times. Police may be monitoring people and asking questions of people who are out and about during the Alert Level 4 lockdown to check what they are doing.

Print your stay at home plan [PDF, 1.5 MB]

Learn more about essential businesses

Advice for unwell people

If you have COVID-19 it’s critical you self-isolate, which means stay at home and recover.

More information about self-isolating for people feeling unwell

If you become unwell while staying at home

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 like a cough, fever, shortness of breath, sneezing or a runny nose, you should call your doctor.  

If you do not have a regular doctor, you can call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453.

If you are in need of urgent assistance, contact emergency services (dial 111).

Things you can do to make it easier

Staying at home may present its own challenges, but there are things you can do to make it easier:

  • Talk to your employer to see if you can work from home during this time.
  • You can go outside for a walk, but you need to avoid contact with others. Stay 2 metres away from others.
  • If you are a vulnerable or high risk person, please stay at home and ask friends or family and whānau to drop off anything you need, or you can order supplies online – Get more advice for vulnerable or high-risk people here
  • Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect. Many New Zealand companies are now offering a ‘contactless’ delivery option, where they notify you when they have delivered your order, but remain nearby to ensure you receive it.
  • You can keep in touch with friends, family and whānau over the phone, or through other means of contact like video or chat services.
  • Physical exercise is good for your wellbeing. Look for online classes or courses to help you take light exercise in your home.
  • If you have a garden, it is a good idea to do gardening, as you aren’t in close contact with other members of your household. 

If you live with children

Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events such as COVID-19. Parents, caregivers and whānau will have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time.

Find out more on our Parents and caregivers page(external link)

Limit contact with others you are living with 

Take common sense precautions to limit close contact with those you live with. Everybody you live with must stay at home, unless they work for an essential service.

Learn more about what to do if somebody you live with becomes unwell while self-isolating

Stop having visitors in your home 

Don’t invite or allow social visitors, such as friends, family and whānau, to enter your home. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone or other means of contact. 

It is okay for friends, family, whānau or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies. They should leave these at the door.

Financial support

All New Zealand employers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 are eligible to apply. This includes all employers, contractors, sole traders, self-employed people, registered charities and incorporated societies. 

To qualify for the subsidy, you have to meet certain conditions, including

  • your business is registered and operating in New Zealand
  • your employees are legally working in New Zealand
  • the business has experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, when compared with the same month last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19
  • your business has taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19
  • you have made best efforts to retain employees and pay them a minimum of 80% of their normal income for the subsidised period.

Read more information, including how to apply, on Work and Income(external link)(external link)

There have also been some changes to the obligations for the wage subsidy.

You can find the information on Work and Income(external link)(external link)

From 3pm on 27 March 2020, the COVID-19 Leave Payment is no longer available for employers. Applications already submitted will continue to be processed and paid.

If you don’t have accommodation

The Government is providing temporary accommodation to those required to self-isolate who are unable to do so in their own homes or are travellers visiting New Zealand and do not already have suitable self-isolation accommodation arranged. 

There is a cost for temporary accommodation and the Government will work with each individual or household who uses the service on how to meet this cost.

Read more on the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment website(external link)(external link)


Right now, public transport and domestic air travel is restricted only for medical reasons, to get to the supermarket and for those involved in essential services and freight. Air travel is permitted in some cases for people to leave the country and to get home to self-isolate.

Ferry services, road and rail will still be available for the transport of essential goods.

You can use your own transport means (car, bike etc) when you need to access essential services. 

Self-isolation is about staying home and limiting travel. We are asking everyone to limit their movement around the country to help us contain COVID-19.

More information about international air travel and travel for those that are unwell

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