We’ve summarized the public health requirements that apply to all Alert Level 4 businesses and services (formerly essential services). This information is based on the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 11) 2021.

Find out more information about doing business at Alert Level 4 at Doing business at Alert Level 4 | Unite against COVID-19(external link).

There is general information about COVID-19 on the Ministry of Health’s website(external link).

General physical distancing requirements

All Alert Level 4 businesses and services must have systems and processes in place to:

  • maintain the 1-metre physical distancing rule (rather than the 2-metre physical distancing rule) for all workers while working, so far as is reasonably practicable
  • maintain the 2-metre physical distancing rule for any other persons entering a workplace, or using the services, so far as is reasonably practicable, and
  • mitigate risks that arise to the extent that physical distancing is not fully maintained, so far as is reasonably practicable (for example, through regular cleaning of surfaces or the installation of plastic barriers).

The 1-metre physical distancing rule (rather than the 2-metre rule) applies to persons entering the following workplaces or using their services:

  • social and community based services provided to support persons to maintain critical well-being or as crisis support for people who are unsafe or homeless
  • courts and tribunals
  • transport stations
  • public transport services (other than one provided by means of air transport or a small passenger service vehicle)
  • passenger services (Schedule 2, number 21), and
  • school hostels (Schedule 2, number 26).

Public transport services provided by means of air transport or small passenger service vehicles must have systems and processes in place to maintain physical distancing so far as is reasonably practicable.

Some businesses, including health services (but not including pharmacies), are not required to meet physical distancing requirements. This exemption is set out in clause 50.

Displaying QR codes

Government QR codes must be displayed in all workplaces (with these exceptions)(external link). QR codes must also be displayed in vehicles used for public transport services (with these exceptions)(external link).

Systems and processes to enable contact records

Workplaces must also have other recordkeeping systems and processes in place to enable a contact record to be kept of workers and other people.

The following businesses and services must have record-keeping systems in place to enable a record to be kept of all workers entering the workplace:

  • transport stations
  • supermarkets, and
  • petrol stations, including any businesses operating out of a petrol station.

All other businesses and services must have record-keeping systems in place to enable a record to be kept of all people aged 12 or older entering the workplace.

Contact records collected solely for purpose of enabling contact tracing must be kept for 60 days, and then disposed of. Businesses and services must meet Privacy Act 2020 requirements for contact recordkeeping. More information is available at: Office of the Privacy Commissioner | Guidance on mandatory record keeping for contact tracing(external link).

Some businesses and services have an additional requirement for contact tracing

Some Alert Level 4 businesses and services must also have systems and processes in place to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that everyone – workers, customers, and visitors – aged 12 years or older who enters the workplace:

  • scans the QR code for the workplace or otherwise makes their own contact record, or
  • provides details in a contact tracing record that the person in control of the workplace collects.

More information on how to meet this requirement is available at Contact tracing — business.govt.nz(external link)

This requirement applies to businesses and services as described in Schedule 2(external link) of the Order:

  • relevant food delivery services (within the description of Schedule 2, numbers 11 and 12)
  • sale of essential non-food consumer products (via online delivery)
  • relevant building, construction, and maintenance services (Schedule 2, number 15)
  • entities with statutory responsibilities for building and resource consenting
  • the justice sector (excluding courts and tribunals which have separate requirements)
  • postal, courier, freight, transport, and logistics services
  • primary industries
  • veterinary and animal health and welfare services
  • relevant scientific services (see Schedule 2, number 24)
  • entities providing distance or online primary and secondary education
  • key utilities and communications (see Schedule 2, numbers 28 and 29)
  • relevant government services (see Schedule 2, number 30)
  • foreign governments operating in New Zealand
  • security services (including locksmiths)
  • pest management services
  • essential elements of pulp and paper plants
  • NZ Steel, and Golden Bay Cement manufacturing plant in Portland, Whangarei
  • businesses or services necessary to maintain other Alert Level 4 businesses or services or exempt businesses or services and
  • unions, if reasonably necessary to provide a service that cannot reasonably be delayed.

The following businesses and services only need to meet this additional contact tracing requirement in relation to people other than their workers:

  • a court or tribunal
  • a social or community-based service with a public area, including a customer service counter, and
  • a health service (including a pharmacy).

Businesses or services provided in a person’s home

Alert level 4 businesses or services that provide a business or service to a person in their home or place of residence need to meet different contact tracing requirements. The business or service must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure it has systems and processes in place to keep a contact record of each home or place of residence entered by its workers.

Such services may only be provided if:

  • they relate to the delivery, installation, or maintenance of goods that are necessary for the person’s health or safety (for example, the maintenance of kitchen appliances), and
  • no one is present when the business or service is provided, other than the person and other residents.

Businesses or services that provide food and drink

Supermarkets and dairies, petrol stations, licensing trusts operating in Waitakere and Portage, pharmacies, food banks, self-service laundries, hardware and do-it-yourself stores, and must have systems and processes in place to prevent food and drink from being served for consumption on premises.

Dairies and petrol stations may only sell food or drink to take away if that food or drink does not require further preparation or packaging after the sale or offer. For example, pre-packaged food in a food-warming cabinet is allowed, but coffee brewed to order is not.

Accommodation services (excluding tertiary student accommodation) may only provide food and drink for consumption on premises if it’s provided without close personal contact between people (for example, the contactless delivery of room service in a hotel).

School hostels

School hostels must:

  • maintain 1-metre physical distancing for all workers and persons entering the workplace or using its services so far as is reasonably practicable, and
  • keep students and staff in groups that are appropriately sized and stable, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Services provided for deceased persons or tūpāpaku

Services provided for deceased persons or tūpāpaku (including washing, dressing, shrouding, or otherwise preparing for burial or cremation) must have systems and processes in place to ensure that:

  • no more than a total of 10 people attend at any time:
  • the people attending (other than the person having charge of the deceased person or tūpāpaku) are fellow residents of each other:
  • the attendance of any person (other than the person having charge of the deceased person or tūpāpaku) at an indoor venue is no longer than 1 hour:
  • no food or drink is served

Travel between an Alert Level 4 area and an Alert Level 2 area

Travel between alert level areas is only permitted if the travel is for a specified purpose under clause 18, which includes work for an alert level 4 business or service.

People travelling for work into or out of the Alert Level 4 area must carry evidence of the purpose of their travel and their destination. In addition, from 11.59pm on 16 September 2021, people travelling for work into or out of the Alert Level 4 area must carry:

  • evidence that no more than 7 days before their journey began, they had a COVID-19 test administered, or
  • a certificate that verifies that they were examined by a medical practitioner no more than 7 days before their journey began and that they were determined to have particular physical or other needs that made it inappropriate for them to undergo a COVID-19 test, and they did not exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

Businesses and services must have systems and processes in place, so far as is reasonably practicable, to:

  • minimise travel of its workers between regions or alert level areas
  • mitigate the risks of spreading COVID-19 that arise from its workers traveling between regions or alert level areas.

In addition, businesses and services must:

  • have systems and processes in place, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure that their workers are not required to travel into, out of, or through the Alert Level 4 area unless the worker has evidence of having had a COVID-19 test administered no more than 7 days before the worker’s journey began, and
  • not prevent their workers from reporting for and undergoing testing, medical examination, or both during their working hours, if testing and medical examination are available during those hours.

Face covering requirements

There are additional face covering requirements for all people on the premises of specific Alert Level 4 businesses and services. These requirements are in addition to face covering requirements on public transport services and domestic air transport services. 

Everyone – workers, customers, and visitors – must wear a face covering on any part of the premises of the following Alert Level 4 businesses and services that are open to the public:

  • supermarkets and dairies 
  • petrol stations, including any stores operating as part of the petrol station 
  • licensing trusts 
  • pharmacies 
  • food banks 
  • self-service laundries 
  • hardware and do-it-yourself stores 
  • public areas of courts and tribunals (a judicial officer may use discretion on the use of face coverings in a room where the hearing is held) and 
  • public areas of social and community-based services provided to support persons to maintain critical well-being or as crisis support for people who are unsafe or homeless. 

Everyone must wear a face covering at arrival and departure points for public transport services, for example, bus stops, train stations, and airports. 

Everyone who isn’t a patient or worker must wear a face covering when visiting a health service that isn’t a pharmacy. 

Everyone must wear a face covering if they’re attending a funeral home, marae, place of worship, or faith-based institution for the purpose of:

  • accompanying a tūpāpaku or deceased person; or
  • providing services, or assisting with providing services, to a tūpāpaku or deceased person; or
  • viewing a tūpāpaku or deceased person.

Everyone must wear a face covering while providing an Alert Level 4 business or service to another person in that other person’s home.

A worker delivering goods to a dwelling in the Alert Level 4 area must wear a face covering for any part of the trip during which they are not in or on their vehicle.

The face covering requirement doesn’t apply if: 

  • there is an emergency  
  • wearing a face covering is not safe  
  • removal of, or not wearing, the face covering is otherwise required or authorised by law.  

The face covering requirement also doesn’t apply when the person: 

  • is communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, and visibility of the mouth is essential for communication 
  • is asked to remove the face covering to ascertain identity 
  • is under the age of 12 years 
  • has a physical or mental illness or condition or disability that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable 
  • needs to remove the face covering to take medicine 
  • needs to remove the face covering to eat or drink. 

Alert Level 4 businesses and services that are subject to face covering requirements should encourage their workers to wear a face covering, unless a worker is exempt. 

Alert Level 4 businesses and services don’t need to stop people without face coverings from entering their premises or boarding their transport service. This is because some people will be exempt from wearing a face covering. 

More information about face coverings is available at Wear a face covering | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)(external link)