What is open and what isn’t during the Covid-19 lockdown?
What is open and what isn’t during the Covid-19 lockdown?

Covid-19March 26, 2020

A whole bunch of questions about the Covid-19 lockdown, answered

What is open and what isn’t during the Covid-19 lockdown?
What is open and what isn’t during the Covid-19 lockdown?

From laundromats and e-scooters to flat whites and Trade Me, we answer some of those lingering questions you might have about what is and isn’t available during the lockdown. 

  • For the must-know rules around the lockdown, click here
  • For a list of essential services, click here.

Last updated: March 29, 6pm

Food and drink

Will smaller food retailers and Asian supermarkets be open?

Yes. If the store sells groceries (retail foodstuffs and other household supplies) then it’s likely they’ll be open. This includes stores like Fresh Choice, Super Value, and Raeward Fresh, but also boutique grocers like Farro, Huckleberry, and Goodfor. Asian supermarkets like Tai Ping, Lim Supermarket, and Wang Mart will also remain open during the lockdown.

Note that for some of these stores, hours of operation have changed so it’s best to check online or call ahead so you don’t waste your trip outside.

What about butchers, bakeries, and fruit and veg stores?

Despite what some stores have told its customers, butchers, bakeries and “similar small-scale food retailers” have officially been instructed by the government to close.

Dairies and liquor stores?

Dairies will remain open provided they apply a one-in-one-out rule and don’t sell cooked food. Liquor stores, however, will be closed except for trust areas where booze isn’t available in supermarkets.

Can restaurants still make food and have it delivered? What about UberEats?

No, takeaways and all cooked food delivery (except meals-on-wheels) are out of the question. This means no pizza, no Chinese takeout, and no cheeky Maccas in the middle of the night. As a result, food delivery apps like Uber Eats and Menulog have suspended their services until further notice. So yes, I’m sorry to say we’re all going to have to cook at some point over the next few weeks, so if you’ve forgotten what that involves, here’s a good place to start

Where can I buy myself flat white/latte/cappuccino? 

All cafes have been forced to close which means barista-made options have effectively dwindled to nil. Petrol stations and supermarkets were initially told they could continue serving takeaway coffee but that’s no longer case.

We’ve been asked to make sacrifices. It could be that making your own coffee is one of those. Be courageous. 

Can I still get My Food Bag/WOOP/HelloFresh/Eat My Lunch?

Yes, but demand is high so order in advance as much as possible. Note that Eat My Lunch will only be delivering its “fresh essential” boxes and not its pre-made lunch boxes during the lockdown period.

Goodbye, for now


Can I still shop online for clothes/electronics/furniture etc. and will it get delivered?

It depends on the retailer. Most have either suspended their online stores entirely or kept theirs on the basis that all orders will be processed once the lockdown is over. 

Can I still buy and sell on Trade Me?

Not really. Only trades related to essential businesses and goods will be able to be completed as normal as Trade Me aims to discourage “any non-essential travel, face-to-face contact or courier bookings”. This means users won’t be allowed to buy anything, but they can still bid, browse and save items.

For casual sellers, Trade Me will extend auctions for general items by four weeks and remove Buy Now prices. If you need to withdraw your auction, you won’t be charged a withdrawal fee.

Will stores like The Warehouse, Kmart and Briscoes be open?


What about Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Placemakers?

No, unless it’s for essential services, and for trade only.

Selling on Trade Me? Use the courier pick up service


Can I still take public transport?

Public transport is only available for those working in essential services, those needing to access essential services (the supermarket, pharmacy or your GP), those needing to move essential goods, and those needing to get around for medical reasons. Public transport during the lockdown period is free.

Will taxis and ridesharing apps be available?

Yes, and it includes Uber, Zoomy and Ola, although bear in mind these should only be used when absolutely necessary, and while observing physical distancing.

Can I still use e-scooters?

No, companies including Lime, Jump, Beam, Flamingo, Lava and Neuron have pulled their e-scooters from the streets and their services have been suspended for the lockdown period.

If I have a private vehicle, am I allowed to drive wherever I want? Can I go out of town if I don’t interact with anyone?

Some mixed messages on this one. Some have said yes, go for a drive. But according to police commissioner Mike Bush – the man in charge of enforcing the lockdown – you may drive only to access essential services or supplies. Otherwise, stay home. The overarching rule in all these things, as articulated by Jacinda Ardern, is to imagine you’ve got Covid-19 (don’t worry, you probably don’t) and behave accordingly.

Will people still be handing out parking tickets?

Wellington City Council has turned off its metered parking system in the central city which means motorists won’t have to pay for on-street parking (but again, you shouldn’t be driving if it’s not in order to get essential supplies or services). There will be parking enforcement in the rest of the city.

Auckland Transport has said it’s currently working through how it will manage both on and off-street parking, both paid and unpaid, so stay tuned. 

Will mechanics be open? What if my car breaks down? And what if my WOF or drivers licence is about to expire?

Mechanics will be closed, although some will be available for repairs on vehicles providing essential services. AA Roadservice will also be available but only for vehicles that need assistance during essential travel (the supermarket, pharmacy or your GP) and for AA members who work in an essential service role.

For those with WOFs and drivers licences due to expire during the lockdown, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) cautions that enforcement is at the discretion of Police and local authorities. It advises motorists to “consider other options” if they need to travel for essentials.

For essential purposes only (Photo: Getty Images).

Services and utilities

Will laundromats be open?

Yes, self-service laundromats will be open provided two-metre physical distancing is enforced.

Can I take my pet to the vet?

Yes, vets and animal health/welfare services (SPCA) have been deemed as essential services. 

Will plumbers and electricians be available?

Tradespeople will only be allowed to work if it’s related to essential business or infrastructure. The exception to this may be where tradespeople are needed to undertake emergency work to maintain human health and safety, such as a failed hot water cylinder required for sanitation purposes.

What if I lose access to power, water or internet?

You’ll be able to get these fixed since these are pretty essential. Contact your provider as you normally would.

Will courtrooms continue to operate? What if I’ve been called up for jury duty?

All jury trials have been suspended for two months. Time-critical trials will be heard remotely as much a possible. 


Can I take my kids to the playground?


Can I go surfing?


Can I go hunting or fishing?


Can I go hiking or mountain biking?

Look, any mildly dangerous outdoor activity is basically a no-go as it risks putting more pressure on our healthcare workers and medical system. It doesn’t matter if you’re by yourself or not – once one person goes surfing/fishing/hiking etc., others will follow.

If you’re not used to being indoors all day, of course this is going to suck. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay for our wider community’s health.

Will there still be Lotto?

Yes, but instead of a live draw, it’ll be computer-generated. Tickets will only be available to purchase online.

If you lose power at home you’ll still get it fixed.

Can I go see…

… my GP?

Yes, but appointments will be done via phone, email or video, although those who need to see a GP face-to-face will still be able to do so.

… my therapist/psychologist?

Yes, but appointments will be done via phone, email or video. This applies to both private and public practitioners, although there may be exemptions for those working in DHBs where face-to-face contact is vital.

…  my osteo/physio?

No, although some are offering discounted video or phone consultations.

… my hairdresser/nail technician/beauty therapist?


… other people outside my household if we social-distance?

No, no and no. Having multiple contacts ruins the purpose of going into alert level four in the first place, so please, let’s do this properly so we don’t have to it all over again.

Keep going!