COVID-19 Update

20 Apr 2020

  • New Zealand will move to level 3 of lockdown from Monday 27 Apr 2020 11.59pm.
  • Alert level 3 will be held for two weeks and then Cabinet will assess whether to move down another level.
  • Level 4 had originally been scheduled to lift on Thursday this week.
  • Lifting late on Monday – a public holiday because of Anzac Day – was also recommended by Bloomfield.
  • Any businesses needing to prepare to move into level 3 could be accessed, Ardern said, as could schools to prepare.
  • On businesses accessing their premises, it wasn’t an invitation to open or trade, she said – just to prepare.
  • April 28 will be a teachers’ only day and April 29 will be the first day of term.
  • Level 3 is not much different to Level 4 on social grounds. On business front, it opens up further economic activity which is currently being restricted.

16 Apr 2020

On Monday 20 Apr 2020, the Government will decide whether to lift the lockdown two days later and will base its decision on advice from Bloomfield as to whether the virus is under control. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has previously said it would be a move from “essential” businesses to “safe” businesses. He would wait right up until Monday – when Cabinet meets to decide on the future of the lockdown – and for the latest health information, but right now, the data “points to the easing up of the situation”.

Here is what will happen – 

Shops, bars, cafes to stay shut but can do deliveries and takeaway coffee

  • Public-facing bars and cafes, malls and retail stores have too much contact with the public so they will remain closed.
  • But food deliveries and e-commerce could re-open, she said.
  • Drive-through services at restaurants are also allowed.
  • The hospitality won’t be able to have face-to-face interactions so restaurants would need to rely on deliveries and retailers have to utilise click and collect.
  • There could be takeaway coffees, as long as it could be done through an app or online.
  • Businesses wanting to trade are expected to put hygiene and social distancing measures in place and more details about MBIE’s accreditation scheme would be released next week.

Going to work under alert level 3

  • If you are able to work from home, you must, Ardern said.
  • But if that is impossible to do so, for example if you work as a plumber, you can do so but you have to maintain social distancing.
  • MBIE advised the Government the numbers of people who could work under level 3 doubled from level 4, Ardern said.


  • There would be a partial opening of schools for students up to Year 10 only and attendance isn’t mandatory, Ardern said.
  • Students who can remain home and do distance learning are encouraged to do so. 
  • Children at school would be kept in the same groups each day and it would be down to each school to work out how to do that, Ardern said.
  • Public play equipment would remain closed.
  • On the voluntary return to schools, Ardern said that was because other parents would be returning to the workforce instead of just essential workers.
  • The reason for allowing up to and including Year 10 covered children under 14 who legally couldn’t stay home alone so parents returning to work could have childcare.


  • Travel restrictions will remain under alert level 3.
  • But the advice has changed from “keep it local” to “keep it regional” and travel should be restricted as much as possible.
  • Ardern said the different Covid-19 levels allow different levels of contact between people.
  • Level 3 is about “restrict” as there was a risk the virus could “bounce back”, she said.

Swimming and fishing allowed, boating banned

  • Boating and jetskis are still banned because they can be prone to breakdown.
  • But you can swim, surf and fish from the shore.
  • Don’t start a new activity that you haven’t done before, the PM said.
  • If there are signs of congregation, this rule will be reconsidered so Kiwis shouldn’t consider it a time to catch-up with all their swimming buddies, Ardern said.

Expanding your bubble

  • People should keep their bubble at level 3 but can expand it “a small amount”, she said.
  • Those who need carers, have shared custody, or want to see their family could do so.
  • “Keep it exclusive, keep it small,” she said.
  • For bubbles which included older people or with pre-existing conditions, those people should still be kept safe.
  • “People need to really use their judgment,” Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.
  • If there was a child in that bubble, it would be advised to keep the child home from school if possible.
  • Even though the bubbles were being slightly expanded, Kiwis should try to keep them as limited as possible.

Rules for weddings, funerals and tangi

  • Funerals and tangi can go ahead but only 10 people can attend.
  • Weddings are also restricted to 10 people and only services can take place – there can’t be any meals or receptions.
  • One metre is the new distance you should keep to but you have to be able to contact-trace.
  • Keep a note of where you’ve been, when and who you saw, she said.

25-March 2020

While Auckland and New Zealand is renowned for its manaakitanga (welcoming spirit), in a bid to ensure our country is as protected as possible from COVID-19, the New Zealand Government has imposed an initial four-week lockdown for the country, effective 11.59pm on 25 March.

During the lockdown period, everyone, including visitors to Auckland, must remain in the home or accommodation where they were residing at midnight on 25 March – for at least four weeks. People are only able to leave their house/accommodation to access essential services, go to work if they work for an essential service, or go for a walk, or exercise in their local area while observing the 2 metre physical distancing rule. They are not allowed to gather with friends or family who are not part of their existing home/accommodation unit. See the Ministry of Health guidelines for details of restrictions for everyone in New Zealand, including mandatory self-isolation.