Staying at home and self-isolation

Advice about staying at home and self-isolating.

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At-risk people and people over 70 years old

More detailed guidance has been developed for people who are at higher risk of severe illness should they contract COVID-19, including people who are aged 70 and over or have certain existing health conditions.

Find out about the list of health conditions and the guidance on how you can live your life as normally as possible, including work and enjoying safe activities, without compromising your health and wellbeing.

Advice for people at risk of COVID-19 [PDF, 609 KB] 

Accessing supplies for people at risk

Allocate another person in your household to pick up supplies. If you live alone, ask friends or family and whānau to drop off anything you need — including food and medicine or other essential supplies — or you can order online and request a home delivery.

Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect. No one should come inside.

If your friends or family deliver supplies to you, ask them to let you know when they have dropped it off, and they can remain nearby to ensure you have received it.

Self-isolation advice if you’re unwell

If you are unwell, it's vital you stay home and recover.

Advice on how to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you are told to do so

Keeping active

Physical activity is an important part of maintaining our health and wellbeing. Make sure you follow guidelines to stay safe because the more contact we have with others, the higher the risk of transmission if a person has symptoms of COVID-19.

It's very important to stay safe and to stay physically distant from people you do not know.

Advice on recreation and exercising safely

In case of emergency

If there's another emergency, follow the usual emergency guidelines.

Earthquakes, floods, landslides, snow, storms, tsunami, volcanic activity and other hazards can happen any time and often without warning.

If authorities tell you to evacuate because of a tsunami, flood, fire or other emergency, follow their evacuation advice.

What to do in an emergency at any COVID-19 Alert Level

More information on how to get prepared for an emergency (external link)

 

Keeping safe when leaving your home at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2 you can leave home, but play it safe. 

If you leave your house, keep a 2 metre distance from people you don’t know in public and in retail stores. In other places, like at work, keep 1 metre distance where practicable.

What you can do to stay safe and well:

  • stay home if you are sick
  • keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen
  • regularly clean and disinfect surfaces
  • wash and dry your hands thoroughly and regularly
  • try not to touch your face
  • contact your GP or Healthline to get tested for COVID-19 if you have cold or flu-like symptoms 
  • contact your doctor as you would normally do if you need medical advice
  • if you have been told to self-isolate you must do so immediately. 

Guidance on physical distancing at Alert Level 2 

Information about gatherings and events at Alert Level 2

Staying at home during Alert Level 3

Alert Level 3 means you must stay at home other than for essential personal movement, such as buying groceries, exercising, seeing the doctor or going to work or school.

However, you can now slightly extend your household bubble to include people such as close family members, caregivers or someone who needs care. Keep your extended bubble local, small and exclusive.

If you do leave your house, you must keep a 2 metre distance from other people at all times. Even in a controlled environment such as a workplace, you need to maintain physical distance.

At Alert Level 3, you should still take measures to stay safe and well:

  • regularly disinfect surfaces
  • wash and dry your hands thoroughly and regularly
  • don’t touch your face
  • stay home if you're sick
  • get tested for COVID-19 if you have flu-like symptoms — call your GP or Healthline
  • continue to seek primary medical care.

Accessing essential services

Everyone in New Zealand will have access to essential services throughout Alert Level 3.

How to shop safely

Help accessing essential goods

If you’re feeling unwell or have COVID-19

If you have COVID-19, or you’re feeling unwell, it’s critical you stay at home and recover. As soon as you feel unwell, you should immediately self-isolate from others in your household bubble.

You can talk to your employer about sick leave if you have any concerns about taking time off. If you have COVID-19 symptoms you should either call your GP straight away, or contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.

Self-isolation advice if you’re unwell 

Staying in touch with people outside your household bubble

You need to limit contact with people outside your household bubble to reduce the risk of transmission. You can have a quick chat with neighbours if you're 2 metres apart, however, you should avoid congregating with other people.

If you want to speak to someone who isn't a member of your household use the phone, video calls, messaging apps or other means of contact to check in and stay in touch.

It’s okay for friends, family, whānau or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies. They need to leave these at the door and avoid contact with all household members.

Not meeting up with others is about physical separation, but not social separation. Keep in touch with your wider group of friends, family and whānau over the phone or online. Consider setting up a regular time to chat to check in and keep in touch.

Living 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.

More information for parents and caregivers

Exceptions to the 1-household bubble at Alert Level 3

Alert Level 3 is still about stopping movement and breaking the chain. Unfortunately, having close contact with anyone outside your current or slightly extended household bubble presents some risk.

There are some small exemptions to who may be able to have different bubble arrangements.

  • If you're part of a shared household group, for example if you have shared custody of your children and they have been moving between households in the same community, this can continue at Alert Level 3.
  • If you live alone, you can join up with another person living alone, or you can join a small household. You must live in the same neighbourhood, and not interact with anyone else. You cannot join more than one household bubble.
  • If your bubble is unsafe, you can leave immediately to seek help. Talk to a trusted neighbour or friend and then call the police or Women’s Refuge.

Support available for family or sexual violence

If you don't have accommodation at Alert Level 3

The Government is providing assistance to find suitable accommodation for people to stay in. This service is available to those who are unable to stay in their own homes, or are travellers visiting New Zealand and don't already have suitable accommodation arranged.

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

Temporary accommodation service (external link)

Staying at home during Alert Level 4

Alert Level 4 means you can only have in-person contact with the people in your household bubble. You cannot have contact with any other people outside your household bubble.

If you have a confirmed COVID-19 case or symptoms, are a close contact of a case or have recently travelled overseas, refer to the specific guidance for those groups – you should be self-isolating.

Leaving your house

You should minimise trips outside your home, and stay at home as much as possible.

As long as you're not unwell or have not recently returned from overseas, you can leave your house to:

  • access essential services, like to buy groceries, or go to a bank or pharmacy
  • go for a walk, or exercise and enjoy nature – stick to your local area
  • go to work if you're an essential worker
  • visit or stay at another residence in your household bubble

If you do leave your house, you must keep a 2 metre distance from other people at all times. Police will 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.

Accessing essential services

Everyone in New Zealand will have access to essential services throughout Alert Level 4.

How to shop safely 

Help accessing essential goods 

If you’re feeling unwell or have COVID-19

If you have COVID-19, or you’re feeling unwell, it’s critical you stay at home and recover.

Self-isolation advice if you’re unwell 

Meeting up with friends

You cannot meet up with people outside your household bubble.

Don't meet up with friends, family and whānau, or allow them to enter your home. If you want to speak to someone who isn't a member of your household use the phone, video calls, messaging apps or other means of contact to check in and stay in touch.

It’s okay for friends, family, whānau or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies. They need to leave these at the door and avoid contact with all household members.

Not meeting up with others is about physical separation, but not social separation. Keep in touch with your wider group of friends, family and whānau over the phone or online. Consider setting up a regular time to chat to check in and keep in touch.

Living 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.

More information for parents and caregivers 

Exceptions to the 1-household bubble

Alert Level 4 is about stopping movement and breaking the chain. Unfortunately, having close contact with anyone outside your household presents some risk.

There are some small exemptions to who may be able to have different bubble arrangements:

  • Children in shared custody arrangements can move between 2 households if they are in the same community.
  • If you live alone, you can join up with another person living alone or a small household. You must live in the same neighbourhood and not interact with anyone else. You cannot join up with more than one household or bubble.
  • Unsafe or life-threatening circumstances require you to move from your household. There's help available if you’re in this situation or concerned for someone else.  
    Support available for family or sexual violence

Limit close contact with people in your household bubble at Alert Level 4

Take common-sense precautions to limit close contact with those you live with. Everybody you live with will also be staying at home, unless they work for an essential service.

What to do if somebody you live with becomes unwell while self-isolating

If you don't have accommodation at Alert Level 4

The Government is providing assistance to find suitable accommodation for people to stay in. This service is available to those who are unable to stay in their own homes, or are travellers visiting New Zealand and don't already have suitable accommodation arranged.

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

Temporary accommodation service (external link)

Essential workers at Alert Level 4

Essential workers must stay within their household bubble when they are not at work.

Essential workers must maintain a high level of hygiene to keep others in their household safe, including washing their hands, clothes and surfaces regularly, especially after returning from work.

Their workplace will also be required to put appropriate safety measures in place to ensure these people are safe at work. Most essential workers will not require personal protective equipment (PPE).

Essential workers who are unwell, at risk, self-isolating or have a sick person in their household

As always, anyone who is unwell should not be at work. You must stay at home if:

  • you’re sick with COVID-19, have COVID-19 symptoms or are unwell generally
  • you need to self-isolate, as per Ministry of Health guidelines, due to recent travel or close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19
  • you're caring for dependants who need to self-isolate, as per Ministry of Health guidelines.

You may also wish to stay at home if:

  • you, or someone you live with, meets the definition of an at-risk person, including those who are over 70, pregnant, taking certain medications or receiving certain treatment. These people are advised to stay home at Alert Level 2 or higher
  • you don't believe your workplace has adequate health and safety measures to minimise your risk of contracting COVID-19.

The Government will make sure essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance will still receive income.

The leave scheme for essential workers helps businesses to pay their workers who need to take leave due to COVID-19.

Guidance for essential workers and essential businesses (external link)

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