COVID-19 Alert Level Three - the rules and recommendations

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Details have been released about what COVID-19 Alert Level Three will mean, allowing businesses to make plans before the change in level is announced. The main message is that movement is still significantly restricted; New Zealanders are being asked to still stay mainly at home in their bubble, and limit contact with others.

A decision has not yet been made on whether or when the country will move out of Alert Level 4.


Wherever possible, people must work from home.

Where working from home is not an option, businesses may re-open but must ensure that there is physical distancing for workers, and contactless engagement with customers.

Businesses that are accessed by the public, including retail and restaurants, may open on a restricted basis. They will be able to process online or phone purchases, through either contactless delivery or click and collect.

Businesses that are only accessed by staff can open, but must follow strict health and safety and physical distancing rules, including ensuring that all workers are a minimum of one metre apart.

Essential businesses can continue as they currently operate under Alert Level 4.


Early childhood centres and schools will be available up to Year 10 only, but attendance is purely voluntary. Year 10 was chosen because children at that level are usually 14 years old or older, and are allowed to be at home on their own.

For children who are able, distance learning is recommended as the best option.


Travel will still be restricted, but people will be permitted to move around their region rather than staying local. This is intended to allow people to work or attend school. Travel between regions will still be restricted to essential personnel only or for one-off relocations in special circumstances. It is not stated, but travel on compassionate grounds might still also be allowed.


The recommendation is that people stay in their existing bubbles. However, this can be expanded a little if required, to include a care giver, or to allow a person who has been isolating on their own to reconnect with another family member. The message from the Government is to “keep it exclusive and keep it small.”

Public venues, such as libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds and markets will still all be closed.

Funerals and weddings will be able to take place, but they will be limited to a maximum of ten people. These events can be services only, no meals, food or receptions can take place.


Low risk local recreation activities will be allowed. Swimming and surfing will be permitted, as will fishing from the shore, but not going out in a boat.

An updated summary of the alert levels is available here.

If you have any questions about what an alert level means for you, please contact your Duncan Cotterill lawyer.


Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, this is a rapidly changing environment and the information will be subject to change.

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