News
Updated 21 September 2021

Alert level 2: What you need to know about the rules

What you need to know about the rules at alert level 2.

Here’s our rundown on the rules for shopping and socialising at alert level 2. All of New Zealand, apart from the Auckland region, will be at level 2 from 11.59pm, Tuesday 7 September 2021. Auckland will be at alert level 3 from 11.59pm on Tuesday 21 September.

What stores can I go into?

Stores are open at alert level 2. However, it’s not quite shopping as we know it.

You must wear a face covering and keep a 2m distance from people you don’t know. Retailers may limit the number of people in store to meet physical distancing requirements.

Keep a record of your visit as well.

What are the rules for cafes and restaurants?

Cafes, restaurants and bars can open. However, there can only be 100 people at a venue, whether indoors or outdoors. If you’re dining in, you must be seated and physically separated 1m from other customers.

You can go to cafes to get counter food to take away to eat.

When do I need to wear a mask?

Anyone aged 12 or over must wear a face covering when:

  • going into retail premises, including supermarkets, malls and takeaway food stores

  • at public venues, such as museums and libraries

  • using public transport, planes, taxis or ride-shares. This includes at train stations and bus stops

  • visiting an aged care of healthcare facility

  • visiting public areas or customer service counters at courts, government agencies and social service providers.

There are some exceptions. For example, you don’t need to wear a mask if you have a physical or mental condition that makes a face covering unsuitable.

What are rules for scanning?

All businesses must provide ways for customers to record their visit and must display a Covid-19 Tracer App QR code poster to enable customers to scan in.

Certain businesses are required to keep a record of everyone aged 12 and over who enters their premises or attends their event. You’ll have the option of scanning the QR code with the Covid-19 Tracer App or making a manual record.

Businesses covered by this rule include:

  • cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs

  • aged care and healthcare facilities

  • services such as hairdressers and beauticians where there’s close contact with customers

  • exercise facilities, such as gyms

  • entertainment venues, such as cinemas and theatres.

Can I invite friends round for dinner?

Yes, you can get together with friends and whānau. However, social gatherings are limited to 100 people. This includes birthday parties, family events and weddings.

Will I be able to go to the library?

Libraries and other public facilities can open under level 2 but you must keep a 2m distance from people you don't know.

Will my gym be open under level 2?

Gyms can open. Like other venues, physical distancing rules will apply.

Are hairdressers operating under level 2?

Yes, hairdressers can open.

Will buses and trains be running?

Yes, buses and other public transport will be operating under level 2. However, physical distancing rules apply and you will not be permitted to stand. Masks must also be worn on public transport unless you have an exemption.

Can I visit family in another town?

Yes. You can travel to other regions that are at level 2 or lower. If you’re driving, minimise the number of stops you make on the way to your destination.

When you’re out and about, maintain the 2m distance rule.

What about schools?

Schools and other educational facilities will re-open under level 2. They’ll need to have public health measures in place to protect students and staff. Mask use is recommended in schools but not mandatory.

What’s happening with rubbish and recycling?

Rubbish collection and recycling will continue under level 2. Check your council’s website for any updates.

Can I take my reusable coffee cup or container to a café?

It’s up to the café to decide if customers can bring in reusable cups or containers. The café must have good hygiene processes if it allows them.

Stay in the know

Keep up-to-date with Consumer's latest news, investigations and product and service reviews, plus join the Consumer panel with invitations to take part in surveys.

Young boy sticking drawing to window.

Your support goes a long way

When big things like the Covid-19 pandemic happen, we all have a role to play in helping each other get through. Our role is to provide independent, expert advice and fearlessly advocate on behalf of all consumers during this uncertain time. Can you help with a regular or one-off donation?

Donate to Consumer

Crowd of people walking.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Read our latest articles on the Covid-19 pandemic. Got a consumer-related question about coronavirus? Email us at info@consumer.org.nz and we'll do our best to help.

Member comments

Get access to comment