15 Feb 2021

Alert Level 2 and Level 3: What you need to know

10:52 am on 15 February 2021

At 6am on Sunday 28 February, Auckland will move to alert level 3 and the rest of New Zealand to level 2.

A health worker conducts a test at a COVID-19 coronavirus testing centre in the suburb of Northcote in Auckland on August 12, 2020.

File photo: A Covid-19 testing station in Auckland in August 2020. Photo: AFP

The restrictions are due to last seven days.

The move was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after a sibling of a Papatoetoe High School student, who was a casual plus contact of the recent Auckland community cases, tested positive for Covid-19.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the new case is a 21-year-old man. Since then, the man's mother has also tested positive for Covid-19, but three other people in the family have tested negative.

Ardern said the link to the high school could provide a straightforward link but, in this case, it had not since the student previously tested negative.

Genome sequencing is underway. Ardern said officials strongly assumed this case will be linked to the current cluster.

Here's a reminder of what the levels mean.

Level 3 restrictions for Auckland

In Level 3, Aucklanders must stay home if they can, and work from home if possible.

If they venture out, such as to essential retail stores, Aucklanders must maintain 2m distance.

Anyone who has cold, flu or Covid-19 symptoms should get a test and stay home until they have a negative test result.

The Ministry of Health is reminding people that if they are well, or were not at a current location of interest at the stated times, they do not need to be tested.

Locations of interest are being updated on the Ministry of Health website as information becomes available.

Testing hours and locations for Auckland are on the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website and nationwide here.

Schools and early childhood centres stay open for children of essential workers.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, primary produce retailers, and petrol stations can remain open.

Public venues will be closed. For example, libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets.

Gatherings outside your bubble are prohibited, with exceptions for funerals and weddings which are limited to 10 people. However, Ardern has encouraged people to postpone these events if possible. At alert level 3 you can connect with close family and whānau, bring in caregivers, or support isolated people.

You legally must wear a face covering on public transport. People are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering when outside the home and in a place where it's hard to stay 2m away from other people, like in shops.

Travel into, out of or through the Auckland region is restricted while the region is at level 3. Eight checkpoints on the outskirts of Auckland will stop vehicles and question drivers, ensuring there is no non-essential movement through the region.

Ardern said people who lived in Auckland but are currently away could return, and anyone who was in Auckland but did not live there could leave.

People transiting through the region would be allowed to do so, and those who live just outside Auckland but need to enter for legitimate reasons will also get through the border checkpoints.

What level 2 means

Level 2 for the rest of the country means businesses and schools remain open, but with social distancing.

People are encouraged to practice good hygiene - including washing hands, coughing or sneezing into your elbow and cleaning surfaces - keep track of where they have been and stay home if they are unwell.

People are asked to maintain a distance of 2m from others in public spaces and in retail stores.

In other places like workplaces, cafes, restaurants and gyms, people must stay 1m apart.

Hospitality businesses must keep groups of customers separated, seated, and served by a single person with a maximum of 100 people at a time.

Masks are mandatory on public transport and encouraged where physical distancing is not possible.

Gatherings, including weddings and funerals, are limited to 100 people.

Businesses can open, but they legally must follow public health rules. These include physical distancing and record keeping.

Early learning services, schools and tertiary education facilities are open to all ages.