Ryman Healthcare is shutting the doors of its retirement villages to the public in a bid to guard its residents against the spread of coronavirus.
From 5pm, people could not visit care centre or serviced apartment residents, only family of those in palliative care or end-of-life care could visit.
New Zealand had 52 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of yesterday after 13 more positive tests were announced by the Ministry of Health.
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The Government also called for all people aged 70 years and over to stay at home.
Ryman Healthcare has had not had any confirmed cases across its 11,600 residents and 5700 staff across New Zealand and Australia.
However, it believed the time was right for them to tighten their safeguards against the virus which had killed more than 12,000 worldwide.
"The Government's message is clear: We all need to distance ourselves from others to stop the spread of Covid-19," Ryman Healthcare said.
"We understand this may cause a degree of distress for residents and families.
"There is no getting away from this. But we think it is critical that we do it now while we have the chance."
Those who were able to visit family would be required to wear face masks and follow strict protocols around hygiene and social distancing.
Meanwhile, other ways of keeping in touch with loved ones were being looked into by the retirement villages operator, such as video calls.
The village centres would also be closed for social and group activities and gatherings, either formal or informal.
It was also looking to see how it could assist with grocery shopping and other support.
"We will let you know about these next week – and they will include grocery and meal deliveries and Triple A classes at home," Ryman Healthcare said.
"We know that many of you will have great family support, and this will continue throughout.
"The best thing your family members can do is to ring and keep in touch."
It also asked for people to be patient and understanding given the unprecedented times.
"We are living in unprecedented times and we are all trying our best to adapt to a rapidly changing situation," Ryman Healthcare said.
"So please be patient and bear with us as we roll out new ways of doing things and of keeping connected and safe.
"We want to ease the burden of non-urgent inquiries on your village team and have established a nationwide help team for your inquiries that are not so pressing."