Coronavirus: The dos and don'ts of life at alert level three

Publish Date
Monday, 30 August 2021, 6:19AM

After two weeks in alert level 4 lockdown, those outside of Auckland and Northland will move to alert level 3 tomorrow night (Tuesday 31 August at 11.59pm).

While a lower alert level comes with a few more freedoms, a number of restrictions are still in place to keep everyone safe during this time.

So what are the rules for level 3?

Can I go to work?

At alert level 3, you must still work from home if you can.

Where that is not possible, businesses may re-open but must comply with health and safety requirements.

These include all employees and visitors having to wear face coverings, keeping records of people visiting through the Covid Tracer app or physical record, and maintaining a distance of two metres from others.

Businesses only accessed by the staff, and without a customer-facing function, such as building and construction or forestry can open under strict health and safety and physical distancing rules.

Plumbers, electricians and tradespeople can work on customers’ property provided the relevant public health measures are met.

Businesses that are accessed by the public or customers such as retail, hardware stores and restaurants can open but only for online or phone purchases and contactless delivery or click and collect.

Can restaurants and shops reopen?

At alert level 3 cafes, restaurants and takeaways may open only for contactless pick-up, delivery or drive-through.

Liquor stores can only offer contactless pick-up and delivery - if their liquor licence allows delivery.

Food delivery services, such as Delivereasy and Uber Eats, can also operate at alert level 3.

Businesses that require close physical contact - for example, hairdressers, barbers or nail salons - have to remain closed.

Farmers’ markets, entertainment and tourist facilities, nightclubs and gyms cannot open.

Home cleaners cannot work in clients’ homes.

During alert level 3, customers cannot go onto businesses’ premises, with the exception of supermarkets, dairies, butcheries, fishmongers, greengrocers, petrol stations, pharmacies or permitted health services.

Customers must maintain physical distancing and wear masks, use hand sanitiser or wash hands regularly, and surfaces must be cleaned often.

The sale of non-food consumer products is allowed but must be done in a contactless way.

Customers must pay online, over the phone or with contactless payment methods such as Paywave or Apple Pay. Delivery or pick-up must also be contactless.

Can I socialise with friends and family?

At alert level 3, you must maintain your household bubble but you can expand it "a small amount."

People must stay within their immediate household bubble, but can expand this to reconnect with close family/whānau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people.

This extended bubble should remain exclusive and small. You cannot invite friends and extended family who are not in your bubble to your home.

Should someone in your bubble feel unwell, they must immediately self-isolate from everyone else.

Funerals and weddings will be able to go ahead, but limited to 10 people. But they can only be services. No meals, food or receptions can take place.

Public venues are closed (e.g. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets).

Keep 2 metres away from people you do not live with.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to visit friends and whānau living in a rest home or aged care facility until alert level 2.

Can I go to school or universities?

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

Schools will be open for children whose parents or carers need to go to work.

Schools may set up bubbles to help maintain physical distancing in the classroom and outside.

Parents, carers and whānau who are visitors to the school should keep 2 metres apart from people outside their household.

Play centres and playgroups remain closed.

Tertiary education will mostly be through distance learning.

Where online learning is not an option - for example, lab work or research - these can be accommodated if public health guidelines are able to be met.

Classes or workshops have to be limited to 10 people per class. Each class is considered a ‘bubble’ and must not interact with any other student/staff bubbles of 10.

Student accommodation such as university halls of residence can remain open with physical distancing and extra hygiene measures.

Can I go tramping, mountain biking and fishing?

You can do activities that are local, which you can do safely, and which do not involve interacting with other people, or equipment touched by other people.

Tramping is allowed for day walks on easy trails close to your home. DOC huts and campsites are closed. Check with your local council to see what trails or parks are open before heading out.

Choose low-risk activities so you do not need rescuing or medical care.

If you are an experienced surfer, mountain biker or horse rider, you can do these activities at a spot close to you. You can also swim in safe local spots.

You should go to your nearest beach or park, not your favourite one.

Stay within 200 metres from the shore if you are kayaking, canoeing, rowing, surfing, windsurfing or paddle-boarding.

During alert level 3 you cannot fly a manned aircraft, hunt in motorised vehicles, participate in water-based activities involving sailing boats, motorised boats or other craft like jet skis, or scuba dive.

You can hunt on both private and public conservation land, but stay within your region and stick to your bubble.

You can only hunt on foot - using quad bikes, off-road bikes, helicopters and other motorised vehicles is not allowed. Do not go on an overnight hunting trip.

You can fish from a wharf or the shore, but do not cast off the rocks or fish from a boat. Keep it local and go to your nearest fishing spot.

What about healthcare?

Healthcare services should use virtual, non-contact consultations where possible.

People at high risk of severe illness (older people and those with existing medical conditions) are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home. 

Primary care will continue to be open, Allied Health and dentists will open.

What are the rules around travel?

At alert Level 3 travel between regions is heavily restricted, however, you can travel within your local area - for example, going to work or school - and you may use public transport to get there.

Strict health and safety requirements still apply, including a requirement to wear a face-covering on all forms of public transport.

For essential workers, travel in and out of an alert level 3 region is only allowed for specific reasons.

If you need to travel to a region that is at a different alert level for work purposes, you will need to check that your reason for travel meets the criteria.

If not, you have to apply for a travel exemption through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Staying overnight at a bach or holiday home is not permitted.