New Zealand moved down to Covid-19 alert level 3 overnight, after officials declared the coronavirus is under control in this country.

So what does level 3 mean? What are we allowed to do?

Can I leave the house?

Jacinda Ardern has said: "Stay home. If you are not at work, school, exercising or getting essentials, then you must be at home, the same as at level 4."

She said you can exercise at parks or beaches within your region, but the closer to home the better. Activities must be safe – keep two metres away from anyone not in your bubble - and make minimal trips.

Advertisement

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.

Yes you can drive to the beach in alert level 3, but make it your local not your favourite on the other side of the North Island
Yes you can drive to the beach in alert level 3, but make it your local not your favourite on the other side of the North Island

Police will be on the lookout for people congregating.

Also, don't even think about picking up a new hobby and trying 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.

How far can I drive?

You can drive "a short distance", but you should still keep it local.

Travel between regions is only allowed for the following essential personal movement:

• Workers travelling to do essential work.

• Going to work or school (only in neighbouring region).

• Shared bubble arrangements.

Advertisement

• Relocating a home or business.

• Those travelling for medical reasons.

• Emergencies and giving effect to court orders.

• Those who have an exemption to travel because of compassionate reasons.

• Foreign nationals leaving New Zealand (except Cook Strait ferries).

• People arriving in New Zealand from overseas and returning home after 14 days' isolation/quarantine at port of arrival (except air and marine crew).

Can I go back to work?

Most, but not all, businesses can start to reopen at alert level 3 but Ardern said if people can work from home, they should.

If that's not possible, staff have to make sure they keep 1m between each other, record who they interact with, have good hygiene practices and make sure 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.

"Covid-19 has spread in workplaces, so the quid pro quo of being able to open is doing it in a way that doesn't spread the virus," Ardern said.

But if businesses involve face-to-face contact, they'll have to keep the 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.

"Customers cannot come onto your premises," Ardern said. "Unless you are a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service.

"Your business must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up must also be contactless."

The Government has given these examples for businesses opening:

• If you run a takeaway business, you can reopen it if you have pre-ordered contactless pick up, or can do home delivery.

• A real estate agent can open, but people should work from home if they can. The agent can enter someone's home but can't have customers in the office. You cannot run an open home.

• Construction businesses can start work again but strict hygiene measures must be put in place – and office staff who can work from home should do so.

Does this mean I can 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-thru or order a curry through a delivery service.

This was despite debate over the practicalities of how fast food outlets would accept and pass back cash to customers and how they would hand over food.

How about 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.

Will schools be open at alert level 3?

Parents could choose whether to send their children to school or continue lessons at home, but are encouraged to keep kids home if possible.

Ardern said she still wanted the majority of children learning from home.

Early learning centres and schools will physically be open for students up to Year 10 for families that need them.

"At-risk students and staff should also stay at home, and they will be supported to do so."

Tomorrow will be a teacher-only day and Wednesday will be the first day of term.

Secondary students in Years 11-13 and tertiary students will mostly continue distance learning at 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.

Some Auckland Transport school buses would be running. The transport agency said it was working with schools to understand how many children needed to catch buses over the next two weeks.

Can employers make workers come to workplaces during alert level 3 if the employees have kids at home?

Employers and employees must discuss this issue in good faith. Employers are encouraged to look for ways to let their employees keep working from home, or give them flexible working arrangements? Remember, while schools and ECE centres will be open at level 3, employees may not be able to have all enrolled children on site.

If your employee can't work, you should try to agree on leave arrangements, including the use of annual or special leave. But remember if you are receiving the wage subsidy on their behalf, you should generally be passing on the full amount to the employee.

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.

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.

What about surfing, fishing or swimming?

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.

Can I play touch rugby or golf?

Team and social sports aren't allowed. Public golf and lawn bowl clubs will also remain closed. But some private clubs will reopen. Those looking to play will not be able to access the changerooms or social facilities but will be able to play a game provided it is with someone from their bubble.

Can I go on Tinder dates?

No, sadly.

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.

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.

But it's really important to make sure older New Zealanders aren't totally isolated as they could get lonely. The Government is still working on advice to keep these people safe.

In the meantime, Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said people would have to use their judgment.

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?

If you used PPE in your business before Covid-19, then keep using it in the same way. If you didn't use PPE in your business before Covid-19, you don't need it now.

This is advice for retailers, manufacturers and the service industries. Different advice applies to essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders and corrections staff.

Can I go to the bach for the weekend?

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

Will playgrounds be open?

Playgrounds will remain off bounds as the risk of spreading infection is still too high.

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.

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.

How will alert level 3 be enforced?

Ardern said level 3 came with higher trust but there would still be police acting as enforcers which would act on large groups congregating.

"But there is more trust at alert level 3."

But Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has previously said officers have spent a lot of the lockdown educating Kiwis so, when the shift happens, they'll focus on deliberate rule breakers - such as large gatherings.

Patrols had been pared back during alert level 4, so Kiwis should expect to see more police on the roads.

Will Parliament resume in alert level 3?

Yes - in a limited way - from Tuesday.

Can I catch public transport?

A member of the public making an essential trip to school or work will now be allowed back on trains and buses. You can also catch public transport to go to an exercise location or to go to the supermarket or pharmacy.

Can I drive with an expired licence?

If your licence or warrant of fitness expired after January 1, 2020, you can still drive.

What about e-scooters?

Shared scooters and bikes will still not be available for rental.

Can I get back in the gym?

Gyms and other public venues like, food courts, pools, libraries and museums will remain closed under alert level 3.

What if I need an urgent help from the dentist?

Dentists, physiotherapists and optometrists will be able to perform one-on-one urgent health care treatments.

Can I go into the office? I can technically work from home, but it's really inconvenient - my IT services are too slow or I want access to printing.

Sorry, convenience isn't a good enough reason to go in to work - you have to keep working from home unless that's impossible, MBIE says.

Can I meet with new or existing clients?

You should only be meeting with existing or new clients remotely - unless it's an essential service.

Can my business produce goods for export?

Yes. You can produce goods for export and ship them at alert level 3.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Can my retail store open at level 3?

Yes and no - you can't physically open your shopfront to customers unless you're a supermarket, dairy or petrol station. Any type of retail goods can be sold at level 3 but the process can't be face to face; it has to be by phone or online.

Delivery or collection must be contactless. That means customers could collect goods from the premises through a drive-thru or using a click-and-collect system.

Can my restaurant/bar/cafe open at level 3?

No, but you can sell prepared food and non-alcoholic drinks by contactless delivery and collection, including drive-thru. Most liquor licences require alcohol to be consumed on-site, so bars won't be able to provide takeaway alcohol.

What if my customer doesn't have Eftpos - can they pay cash?

Yes - if there's no alternative and the cash can be handled safely - eg through self-checkouts, or using sanitising methods.

Can I get supplies for non-essential home repairs at alert level 3?

Yes but you can't physically go to a hardware store - you will need to order them online or via phone, then get them delivered or collect them through a drive-thru system.

Can I get a tradie to do non-essential work on my home at alert level 3?

Yes, but you must both ensure public health measures are met, including physical distancing and sanitising.

Can I buy, sell, or move house?

House sales and purchases are allowed at all alert levels, but many activities like open homes are not allowed at level 4. MBIE says during level 3 physical interactions should still be done remotely where possible.

"It may be possible to do a final pre-settlement inspection in person, or have a real estate agent come into the home, as long as all physical distancing and public health measures are taken."

More guidance will be available on this shortly.

You can move rentals, even if it means you need to travel between regions or fly domestically to move house. All freight can be moved around the country, so moving companies can take your furniture to your new home.

Can I provide grooming services - haircuts, nails, eyebrows, waxing?

Not until level 2 - there's too much close personal contact involved.

Can I hire new employees at level 3?

Yes, but interviews should be done remotely.

My business can reopen at alert level 3, but an employee has health concerns. What should I do?

Employees who might be sick or have had close contact with someone with Covid-19 should not go to work at any alert level - and you shouldn't ask them to. You may be able to access the Essential Workers Leave Scheme on their behalf.