New Zealand is at now COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

Information and guidance will be updated as the response to COVID-19 evolves. For general information on New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 visit covid19.govt.nz(external link)

On this page:

We've also published guidance on:

Alert Level 2 information

You can also visit the COVID-19 website for Alert Level 2 information on travel and transport(external link)

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, 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 – 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 still restricted under Alert Level 2?
There are no restrictions on travel across New Zealand under Alert Level 2 including for recreation and tourism, but do it in a safe way. You do not need approval to travel.

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, 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 may reduce the number of people who can travel on buses, ferries or trains, so please be patient.  

Be mindful that roading maintenance and construction projects resumed under Alert Level 3. When driving through worksites, be patient and respectful and look out for the workers safety and wellbeing.

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 cannot travel, if the travel would breach a direction under s 70(1)(f) of 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.

Contact tracing is an important part of the response to COVID-19. As more people travel, the number of opportunities to come in contact with COVID-19 increases.

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. 


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 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. You do not need approval to travel (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 review 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 which should be clearly marked, 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.

When will people have to start paying for public transport again? Can I use cash?
Public transport fares are expected to be reintroduced during Alert Level 2. Because there are different systems to work through in each region, some areas or services may start collecting fares sooner than others.

Further information about this will be made available by the relevant regional authority.

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.

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 as schools reopen. 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. You do not need approval to travel. 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 be deemed current. 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.


Recreational flying

Can I participate in recreational flying activities?
Yes you can, but remember to travel safely and keep a record of your journey. Please refer to the Civil Aviation Authority’s website(external link) for guidance on recreational flying.


Recreational boating

Can I participate in recreational boating activities?
Yes you can, but remember to travel safely and keep a record of your journey. Please refer to Maritime NZ’s website(external link) for guidance on recreational boating:


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?
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.

Alert Level 3 information 


General

Is travel still restricted under Alert Level 3?
Yes, travel is still restricted, and personal travel is only allowed for permitted reasons – e.g. for going to work or school, shopping, or getting exercise. Everyone is expected to stay local, unless they are travelling between regions for a permitted purpose (e.g. to provide an essential service).

Although there are some exemptions for inter-regional travel, other travel should not be undertaken at Alert Level 3. The risk of transmitting the disease is too high. This is not a time to take a holiday, travel between regions to celebrate birthdays, or travel from one side of a city to the other to go to a supermarket when there is a suitable one in your local area.

If you need to go to work or school, you can make your usual commute, even if you cross a regional boundary into the neighbouring region to do so. You cannot travel beyond adjacent regions for work unless you are travelling to provide an essential service or business. You should try to stay in your region for recreation, or the nearest option if that’s closer to you.

Some groups of people can travel inter-regionally - for more information see Inter-regional travel

How far can I travel?
Keep as local as you can, while doing your usual commute to work and school (if not working from home or doing distance learning). Still try to choose the nearest option to you for recreation.

Some groups of people can travel inter-regionally - for more information see Inter-regional travel

How far can I travel for work?
At Alert Level 3, you can travel for work, but keep to your region or the neighbouring one. Please keep as local as you can, while doing your usual commute to work and school (if not working from home or doing distance learning). There are some reasons you can travel further inter-regionally for work – for example, if you’re relocating your home or business, or if you are providing an essential business or service.

Can I travel to move home?
People can move homes at Alert Level 3. This includes rental moves, or moves to get home after being stuck in the wrong place for Alert Level 4. They can travel between regions, including using domestic air services for the purposes of moving house. All freight can be moved around the country at Alert Level 3, and moving companies can operate as long as they do so safely. You can also move your belongings yourself.

More information about buying and selling real estate at Alert Level 3 is available at settled.govt.nz(external link)

Can I travel to another region to help someone to relocate or return home (pick up/drop off)?
Yes you can, but try to limit any additional travel as much as possible. Keep to your bubble and stay safe.

We started the lockdown in the wrong place. Can we travel to head home under Alert Level 3?
If you were in the wrong place when the restrictions came into place, and need to get home, you can now move throughout New Zealand. You should only move once, and in one direction to get home.

If questioned, you should be able to clearly explain the purpose of your travel and how it complies with the Alert Level 3 restrictions.  You should provide documentation, such as proof of the residential or business address you will be travelling to, or a letter from your employer.


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

When can I use my car?
Information about when you can use your car or these other vehicles is available on the Transport and travel by alert levels page.

At Alert Level 3, you can travel using your car for permitted travel for example, going to the supermarket, or accessing a business that is permitted to operate. You can also use your car to go to work or school, to access low-risk recreation, facilitate extended bubble arrangements and travel to permitted gatherings.

You can also use your car to travel inter-regionally in some circumstances, such as if you are an essential worker travelling for work.


Vehicle maintenance

Can I get repairs undertaken on my vehicles at Alert level 3?
Vehicle repairers will still be able to provide essential maintenance and safety services (including for motorised and non-motorised vehicles) where the services are limited to:

  • maintaining other essential services and their vehicles (e.g. repairing emergency vehicles, aircraft and ships/boats, and parts replacement for these craft moving essential freight); or
  • essential recovery and/or repair of private vehicles, where needed to keep a private vehicle operating for essential purposes e.g. to get groceries and healthcare.

At Alert Level 3, other services may 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 can be maintained at Alert Level 3 according to manufacturers’ maintenance instructions.


Domestic air services

Who can use domestic air services under Alert Level 3?
Information about travelling on domestic air services is available on the Transport and travel alert levels page

You will need to carry appropriate documentation with you when you travel. Please see Inter-regional travel for more information.

Can we travel by air to get to a permitted gathering, such as a wedding?
Under Alert Level 3, inter-regional travel is allowed for travel to funerals and tangihanga. You can also travel to a wedding/civil union service or other permitted gathering, but only if it is in the adjacent region. For example, you cannot travel from Nelson to Wellington for a wedding.

Information about travelling on domestic air services is available on the Transport and travel alert levels page


Cook Strait ferries

Who can travel on the Cook Strait ferries under Alert Level 3?
Information about travelling on the Cook Strait ferries is available on the Transport and travel alert levels page

You may need to carry appropriate documentation with you when you travel. Please see Inter-regional travel for more information.


Public transport

Who can use public transport under Alert Level 3?
Public transport will still be available. You can use it to do things like travel to work or school and to access supplies at the supermarket, but be aware there will be limited capacity. You should maintain physical distancing from other people on public transport.

More information about when you can use public transport is available on the Transport and travel alert levels page

Please try and avoid peak times unless you are a worker or are travelling to an educational facility. Councils and operators will review timetables in response to demand pressures.

How far can I travel using public transport?
Don’t travel inter-regionally, unless you're doing it for a permitted reason. Keep as local as you can, while doing your usual commute to work and school (if not working from home or doing distance learning).

Some groups of people can travel inter-regionally, for more information see Inter-regional travel 

How can I stay safe on public transport?
Vehicles used for public transport are being thoroughly cleaned, consistent with Ministry of Health guidelines. This can include fogging and disinfecting vehicles.

You can help keep yourself and others safe by following these requirements:

  • Physical distancing must be maintained from all other users (not in your extended bubble) at all times whilst on board or waiting for services
  • Maintain physical distancing from all transport workers (including drivers)
  • Comply with any temporary barriers and signed exclusion zones – this includes seat signage indicating where you are allowed to sit
  • Follow Ministry of Health personal hygiene advice, including washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after taking public transport

These safety measures will significantly restrict capacity on some services, particularly in peak periods. In some cases, you may need to wait to catch the next service. We appreciate your understanding and patience if this occurs.

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

Will school buses be running?
As schools reopen, the Ministry of Education will have information on their website(external link) about school bus services.


Inter-regional buses and trains

Who can travel on inter-regional buses and trains?
Information about travelling on inter-regional buses and trains is available on the Transport and travel by alert levels page

Will inter-regional services be operating?
You will need to contact individual operators to see if they will be offering services at Alert Level 3.


Freight

What movement of freight is permitted?
The movement of all freight is permitted at Alert Level 3, 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(external link) and business.govt.nz(external link) for more information about whether and how a business can operate during Alert Level 3.


Walking and cycling

Can I go walking and cycling?
Yes, walking and other active travel (like cycling or using personal scooters) are allowed for permitted personal movement, such as for exercise or getting to the supermarket. Stay local when doing these activities.

Can I put my bikes in the car and drive to a better track in my community?
Yes, walking and other active travel (like cycling or using personal scooters) are allowed for essential personal movement. Don’t travel inter-regionally for personal trips, unless it is for a permitted reason. Keep as local as you can.


Recreational flying

Can I participate in recreational flying?
No, this activity is not permitted at alert level 3. However, recreational flying for unmanned aerial vehicles is permitted provided it complies with the Civil Aviation Authority rules and the Health Act order for Alert Level 3.


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

Will I be able to rent an e-scooter at alert level 3?
At Alert Level 3, this activity is not permitted.


Inter-regional travel

How can I find out if I am allowed to travel inter-regionally at alert level 3?
There are restrictions on who can travel inter-regionally. Guidance is available on the Transport and travel by alert level page

General information about inter-regional travel is available on the COVID-19 website(external link)

Remember, try to limit any inter-regional travel as much as possible. The primary aim of the travel restrictions is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand by reducing contact between people, so only travel if you really need to and are allowed to. This is the best way to fight COVID-19 and ultimately save lives in New Zealand.

If I'm travelling inter-regionally under alert level 3, do I need any documentation before I travel?
In most instances you won’t need approval before you travel, but it’s helpful to carry appropriate documentation with you. Some examples are set out below.

Reason for travel Documentation required
You are travelling to provide an essential business or service.  You should carry a letter with you from your employer stating you are providing an essential business or service and that you need to travel for this. You could also carry a business card, or work ID. Where this is not possible, you should be able to reasonably demonstrate you are travelling to provide an essential service or business.
You are travelling between your home and work/educational institution (you can only travel to the adjacent region for these purposes). If questioned, you should be able to clearly explain the purpose of your travel. Any documentation that you can provide as evidence is helpful (such as: proof of residential address, evidence of where you work, evidence of attendance at an educational institution).
You are relocating a home or business (including if you’re returning home after being stuck in the wrong place). If questioned, you should be able to clearly explain the purpose of your travel and how it complies with the Alert Level 3 restrictions. Any documentation that you can provide as evidence is helpful (such as: proof of the residential address you are moving to, tenancy agreement, utility bill)
You are travelling for medical reasons. You should carry a document with you that demonstrates your travel is related to attending a scheduled medical appointment, and the date of the appointment or procedure.
You are travelling because of an emergency (due to a threat to safety or life). You do not need documentation. If you (or someone you know) are in immediate danger call 111.
You are travelling to give effect to a Court Order. You should carry a copy of the Court Order.
You are travelling because of compassionate reasons.

You will need to request approval to travel. See Domestic Travel (COVID-19 website)(external link)

You are a foreign national leaving New Zealand. You should carry a document demonstrating the time and date of your scheduled international flight, and meet the criteria for travel detailed on the Domestic Travel page (COVID-19 website)(external link)
You are a New Zealand resident in the Realm (Tokelau, Niue, Cook Islands) returning home You should carry a document demonstrating the time and date of your scheduled international flight, and meet the criteria for travel detailed on the Domestic Travel page (COVID-19 website)(external link)
You have arrived in New Zealand from overseas and have completed 14 days’ of managed isolation or quarantine at the port of your arrival (except air and marine crew).
  • If you arrived in New Zealand before 10 April and have been self-isolating: you will need to request approval to travel. Please see Arriving in New Zealand (COVID-19 website)(external link) for more information.
  • If you have been in managed accommodation organised by the New Zealand Government: you will need to carry documentation provided to you by the Ministry of Health.
You are travelling between ‘bubbles’ in a shared caregiving arrangement.  If questioned, you should be able to clearly explain the purpose of your travel and how it complies with the ‘shared caregiving arrangement’ criteria. Any documentation that you can provide as evidence is helpful (such as a copy of the shared custody agreement (or Court Order), and proof of the residential addresses of the persons in the shared caregiving arrangement).
You are travelling to attend a funeral or tangihanga. No documentation is required. If questioned, please clearly explain the purpose of your travel and where possible, provide any available documentation you have such as a notice of service from the funeral home.