New Zealand is now in Alert Level 3: what that means for you

Publish Date
Tuesday, 28 April 2020, 8:28AM

New Zealand has moved into Alert Level 3.

But despite a loosening of some rules, the key advice is still stay home as much as you can and keep travel to a minimum.

New Zealanders will remain at alert level 3 for at least two weeks and it will be reviewed by Cabinet on May 11.

So what can you do?


Can I finally go to the beach?

Yes, you can finally go to the beach - as long as it's local. Don't take a day trip to your favourite. 

You can go for a swim or a surf and fish from the shore or a wharf, but don't cast off from the rocks or use the boat. But make sure you do these safely and don't use it as an excuse to catch up with all your surfing or swimming buddies.

Also, don't even think about picking up a new hobby and try to surf for the first time. This could put you and others at risk, so stick with going for a quick dip and stay within your comfort levels.

You can exercise at parks or beaches within your region but the closer at home the better.

But if you are not exercising, working, at school or getting essentials - the advice is to still stay home.

What does extending your bubble mean?

Under alert level 3, you can add more people into your bubble but the mantra is "keep it exclusive and keep it small".

But, for example, if you have extended whānau, a caregiver that you need, children in shared care, a de facto partner who is caring for others, or you're a single person who wants the company of a sibling, you can relax your strict bubble - a little.

The Government says: "Always keep your bubble exclusive, and keep it small."

You'll also need to know exactly who's in your bubble so you can contact-trace in case there's an outbreak which affects you.

Are funerals and weddings allowed?

Funerals, tangi and weddings can go ahead under alert level 3 but will be restricted to no more than 10 people and you'll need to keep a list of who attended.

But you can't share a meal, food or a reception afterwards.

How far can I drive under alert level 3?

You can drive "a short distance", but you should still keep it local. The Covid-19 website says a 45-minute drive is okay to go somewhere for a walk or run - for example, travelling from Porirua to Paraparaumu.

As with alert level 4, this isn't about finding loopholes to the rule and is in place to try eliminate Covid-19, so use your common sense.

Can I go for a tramp?

You can go for an easy day walk but don't do anything too challenging which could put you in harm's way and stay physically distanced from others on the track.

You can also go mountain biking but, again, don't do anything too challenging where you could injure yourself or others.


Can I use my boat or play rugby?

No - boating, yachting and any team sports or training aren't allowed.

Can I go see my grandparents or kaumātua?

People over 70 are still vulnerable to the virus, as are those who have pre-existing conditions, so it's really important they're kept safe.

Ideally, you should limit the people interacting with them, especially if they're sick, and also keep using good hygiene measures. If your bubble has both a child and an older person, it's advisable to keep your tamariki home from school.

Which businesses can reopen?

Most, but not all, businesses can start to reopen at alert level 3 and some can enter their businesses this week to prepare and to get ready to receive stock but there are still very strict restrictions and if your workforce can work from home, they should do so.

If that's not possible, you'll have to make sure staff can keep a safe distance between each other, record who they interact with, there's good hygiene practices and surfaces are disinfected.

So industries like construction, forestry and manufacturing can get back to work - as long as they have those safe-practice measures in place and display social distancing

But if your business involves face-to-face contact, you'll have to keep your doors closed. That includes gyms, house cleaners, hairdressers, sales people and masseuses. These, however, will be able to open under alert level 2 with the right measures.

Takeaway businesses can reopen it they have pre-ordered contactless pick-up, or can do home delivery.

Can I get a takeaway meal?

Yes, you can get your favourite takeaway as long as you can place your order and pick it up without face-to-face contact.

For example, you can use your local KFC or McDonald's drive-through or order a curry through a delivery service.


What will I need to do to open my business?

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will set up a self-accreditation regime and will help businesses put together a worksite plan.

Will I need PPE if I'm going back to work?

Most workers won't need personal protective equipment (PPE) as good hand washing, physical distancing and good cough etiquette is the best defence to Covid-19, the Government says.

Can I go to the bach?

No. Even if it's in the same region, your bubble is still your main home.

Will schools be open at alert level 3?

Yes most schools for students up to and including Year 10 will open from April 29 with a teachers-only day on April 28. They can open this week for cleaning and maintenance.

If you're able to keep your child at home to continue distance learning, you should do that and they are only open for parents who need them.

The Government still wants the vast majority of children to learn from home.

But with more people going back to work, some parents, particularly those in essential services, will need to send their child back to school or early childhood education facility and will be able to do that. Schools will be a safe place and students will be kept in small "school bubbles" to ensure there won't be mass transmission.

Secondary students in Years 11-13 and tertiary students will mostly continue distance learning from home because children over 14 years old can legally be at home by themselves.

Tertiary education facilities may open for limited activities involving small stable groups of up to 10 people who do not change. Research and hands-on learning like trades courses that can't be done off campus can happen in small groups with appropriate physical distancing.


Will playgrounds be open?

Unfortunately, playgrounds will remain off bounds as the risk of spreading infection is still too high.

Can I go to the dentist or physiotherapist?

Dentists, physios and allied health practitioners will open.

GPs will stay open, like at alert level 4, and will hold most appointments through video-conferencing.

Can I go to the Warehouse or Kmart?

Kind of, but not really - you can visit it from the comfort of your couch through their website then use click-and-collect to pick it up at a store or home delivery.

Stores can't reopen for face-to-face interactions and have to make sure purchases are contactless, for example through online or phone orders which are delivered or collected.

Can I get a flat white?

Yes, if your local cafe can facilitate the order through a contactless method, like an app.

You'll have to take it away though, but at least you can drink it as you walk along the beach.

Life will start to look a little more normal with some takeaway coffees back on the menu.

I spent lockdown in another region but need to return home so I can go back to work, can I do that?

If you were in the wrong place when the restrictions came into place, and need to get home, you will be able to do that, the Covid-19 website says.

But you can only move once, and in one direction.

The same goes for Kiwis wanting to move to or from the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau, though again make sure it's once, and in one direction.

Keep travel to a minimum.

Domestic flights won't happen until the lower levels.

How will alert level 3 be enforced?

The Prime Minister said it would be a bit trickier to enforce alert level 3 than lockdown which was more black-and-white, and hasn't said how dropping down a level will be enforced.

Police would still be in force and would keep a lookout for people congregating.


This article was first published to and republished with permission.

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