At 12 noon on Wednesday 12 August, alert level changes came into effect:

  • Auckland is now at Alert Level 3.
  • The rest of New Zealand is now at Alert Level 2. 

Relevant information about transport and travel settings at Alert Levels 2 and 3 are available on this website. You should also check the information and advice available on the covid19.govt.nz(external link) website.

We've also published guidance on:

Alert Level 2 information (applicable to all of New Zealand, except Auckland)

Key principles for public transport and private transport at Alert Level 2

Travel Safely and Track Your Journey

  • Keep your distance from people you don't know
    • plan your journey ahead of time
    • try to keep a 2m distance while waiting for services
    • while on board, follow signage about where you can sit (where available), and avoid sitting next to someone you don't know well
    • follow the guidance of the driver, crew and operators
    • stay kind, stay calm and play it safe
    • you can sit next to people you know – otherwise, keep the seat next to you empty. 

  • Practice good hygiene all the time – wash your hands often, sneeze or cough into your elbow

  • Keep track of your journey – including where you’re sitting if possible.

 

Is travel restricted under Alert Level 2?
There are no restrictions on travel across New Zealand under Alert Level 2 including for recreation and tourism, unless you want to travel to Auckland. You should travel  in a safe way. You do not need approval to travel. As Auckland is at Alert Level 3, there are different restrictions for travel to/from and within Auckland, see our Guidance: Transport and travel by alert level page

How do I ‘keep it safe’ while travelling?
COVID-19 is still out there, so we all need to remain vigilant. Remember that you can spread the disease without knowing you have it. When travelling, keep your distance from people you don’t know well, maintain good hygiene and track your journey.

We recommend you travel safe, track your journey and follow these safe travel tips:

  • Plan your journey well ahead of time.
  • Keep your distance. Try to keep 2m from others while waiting for services; follow on-board signage (where available), and instructions from the crew or transport staff about approved seating configurations for the vehicle, aircraft or vessel you are travelling on, and don’t sit next to someone you don’t know well – keep the seat next to you empty.
  • Continue to practice good hygiene and follow Ministry of Health advice; this includes washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water (for example, after taking public transport), cough and sneeze into your elbow, and don’t touch your face.
  • Keep a record of where you go, and try to minimise the number of places you stop on the way to your destination.
  • Don’t travel if you’re unwell.
  • Don’t travel to events which do not meet the requirements for gatherings. Guidance on gatherings at Alert Level 2 can be found at www.covid19.govt.nz(external link)
  • Operators will also be asked to support contact tracing where possible, please be helpful. Travellers are advised to keep a record of any services they use and where they sat on the vehicle.
  • Be kind to the driver, crew and operators of your service. 
  • Think about what other measures you can take to keep the risk down, e.g. consider walking or cycling or travelling on public transport at off-peak times. Keep away from large groups of people, and minimise the number of places you stop on the way to your destination.

Also remember that physical distancing and contact tracing requirements will reduce the number of people who can travel on buses, ferries or trains, so please be patient.  

If you’re sick, or may have COVID-19, stay home. You should not travel if you: have been requested to self-isolate/quarantine, have symptoms of COVID-19, or are awaiting COVID-19 test results.

You also cannot travel, if the travel would breach an order/direction made under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 or the Health Act 1956. This will likely be the case if: you have arrived in New Zealand from overseas in the last 14 days, or you have otherwise individually received (from a Medical Officer of Health) a direction under s 70(1)(f) of the Health Act 1956.


Contact tracing

What is contact tracing and why is it important?
To stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to keep track of people’s movements. This will be helpful if the Ministry of Health needs to undertake contact tracing.

How can I support contact tracing?
Recording where you have been and who you may interact with on a day-to-day basis is crucial as we continue in our fight against COVID-19.

You can help by recording as much information during Alert Level 2 about where you have been. Travel safely by:

  • Carrying a notebook or mark in your phone/device information about your journey.
  • Record the bus, train or service number, stop or station and time of travel e.g. number 12 service at 12.55pm.
  • Try to record details about what seat are you on, who you travelled with, what stop you get off at and any other places you stop or services you took to get to your destination. 
  • If you have an electronic public transport card, please register your card with your contact details. 


Physical distancing

What is physical distancing and why is it important?
Physical distancing, is about keeping a safe distance from others for minimising the transmission of COVID-19. Where you can, keep a bit of space, around two metres when in public under Alert Level 2.

When and how should I observe physical distancing when I’m travelling?
Try to stay 2 metres away from people you don’t know, whenever you leave your home or are waiting for your service.

When you are travelling in a vehicle, aircraft or vessel, follow the guidance from your crew or driver about acceptable physical distancing while on-board. Public transport, for example will have fewer people on board to maintain physical distancing.


Cook Strait ferries and domestic air services

Can I use the Cook Strait ferries or domestic air services?
Yes you can, including for recreation and tourism, although if you want to travel to Auckland then you should check the Alert Level 3 travel restrictions. 

You do not need approval to travel at Alert Level 2 (unless you are subject to a s70(1)(f) direction under the Health Act).  We recommend you travel safe, track your journey and follow our safe travel tips.

Unless you are there to assist someone, try to also only enter the terminal if you are a passenger, staff, or contractor, and try to keep 2 metre distance from others while waiting for your service.

When on board your service, follow the guidance from your crew about acceptable physical distancing and approved seating configurations while on-board.

Check with your operator for further information on their timetable.


Public transport

Who can use public transport under Alert Level 2?
Anyone will be able to use public transport at Alert Level 2. Keep in mind that there’s less capacity on public transport because of physical distancing so if you can, consider travelling at off-peak times, or alternative modes of transport such as walking or cycling.

You should not travel on public transport if you’re unwell.

Councils and operators will be reviewing public transport timetables in response to demand pressures.

How can I stay safe while using public transport?
You can help keep yourself and others safe by following this advice – before, during and after your trip:

  • Try keep 2m distance from others while waiting for your bus, train or ferry.
  • While on board, please follow the approved seating configurations (where available), and follow the instructions of operators and the crew.
  • The general rule is to keep a seat free between you and anyone you don’t know. You can only sit on a ‘red stickered’ seat if you’re sitting next to someone you know.
  • On longer trips, such as on inter-regional trains and Cook Strait ferries, please try and limit unnecessary movement on the carriage or vessel.
  • Follow Ministry of Health personal hygiene advice – this includes washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water or using hand sanitiser immediately after taking public transport, and sneezing or coughing into your elbow.
  • Make sure you’ve kept a record of your journey.
  • Don’t travel if you’re unwell.

Public transport operators continue to follow Ministry of Health cleaning guidance and buses, trains, ferries and facilities are cleaned and disinfected regularly.

There will be limited capacity on some services, particularly in peak periods in our city centres. Please try to avoid travelling at peak times, or using alternative modes of transport such as walking or cycling, where this is possible.

In some cases, you may need to wait to catch the next service. We appreciate your understanding and patience if this occurs.

 

How can I support contact tracing when I am using public transport?
Please carry a notebook or mark in your phone/device the following information for every journey:

  • Record the bus, train or service number, station or stop, and time of travel e.g. number 12 service at 12.55pm.
  • Note anyone you were travelling with.
  • Please note where you boarded and what time, and where you were sitting.
  • Any other places you stop or services you take to get to your destination today.
  • If you have an electronic public transport card, please register your card with your contact details. 

How can I find out what specific contact tracing measures will be in place for the region I am travelling in using public transport?
Please visit your regional council’s transport website.

Can I take public transport if I am sick?
You should stay home if you are unwell and avoid public transport. Call your GP or Healthline to get advice.

Will school buses be running?
Yes, school transport services will be available. Please refer to the Ministry of Education website(external link) for information about school bus services it contracts, and otherwise refer to the relevant regional council website.

Do I have to follow these distancing rules on a school bus or on-demand public transport service?
No. You do not have to follow distancing requirements if you are travelling on school transport or on-demand public transport service as these services know who is using them and are considered controlled environments.


Personal transport (including rental vehicles, small passenger services, rideshare and car-share)

Will there be any limits on using personal transport when travelling at Alert Level 2?
There are no restrictions and you can use personal transport, including for recreation and tourism, unless you wish to travel to Auckland (please check Alert Level 3 travel restrictions). You do not need approval to travel at Alert Level 2.  We recommend you travel safe, track your journey and follow these tips:

  • Stay two metres away from people you don’t know.
  • Practise good hygiene all the time – wash your hands regularly, sneeze or cough into your elbow.
  • Avoid travel if you’re unwell.
  • Keep a record of where you go, and try to minimise the number of places you stop on the way to your destination.
  • Avoid travel to events which do not meet the requirements for gatherings.

Can I carpool, e.g. to get to school or work?
Yes you can. Please keep a record of who you travelled with and when to assist with contact tracing, if required.

My WOF / Registration is expired – can I drive my car?
All Warrants of Fitness (WoFs) and Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), driver licences, and vehicle certifications that expired on or after 1 January 2020 will continue to be deemed current until 10 October 2020. You do not need to display a current licence (rego) for up to six months. Visit the NZTA website(external link) for updates.

How can I stay safe when I’m travelling?
Follow the safe travel tips above: Key principles for public transport and private transport at Alert Level 2


Vehicle maintenance

Can I get repairs undertaken on my vehicles at Alert Level 2?
At Alert Level 2, vehicle services can be provided if the workplace concerned is able to meet relevant safety guidelines and public health measures. 

For information about getting a WOF or a COF, visit the NZTA website.(external link)

For information about driver licensing, please refer to the NZTA website.(external link)

What aircraft maintenance can I undertake?
Aircraft maintenance can be undertaken at Alert Level 2 as long as all the guidelines like physical distancing are followed.


Freight

What movement of freight is permitted?
The movement of all freight is permitted at Alert Level 2, including the ability of business and customers to send, distribute and receive freight. All freight can enter and leave the country.

See the workplace guidance on the COVID-19 website and business.govt.nz(external link) for more information about whether and how a business can operate during Alert Level 2.


Walking and cycling

Can I go walking and cycling?
Yes you can, but remember to travel safely and keep a record of your journey.

Can I put my bikes in the car and drive to a better track in my community?
There are no restrictions on walking and other active travel (like cycling or using personal scooters), but you should maintain physical distancing of 2 metres if you meet people you don’t know whilst exercising.


Shared micromobility schemes (e-scooter and bike rental by the minute/hour)

Will I be able to rent an e-scooter or bike at Alert Level 2?
Yes, shared e-scooter and bike schemes are able to operate, provided they comply with all physical distancing and public health guidance (including cleaning guidance).

If you rent a shared e-scooter or bike, it is important that you practice good personal hygiene. This includes washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser as soon as possible after use.