SocietyFebruary 14, 2021

It’s back to lockdown for Auckland. Here’s what alert level three means in practice


Three new cases of Covid-19 detected in the community has prompted a move up the alert ladder, to level three in Auckland and level two across the rest of the country. Below, the critical questions about Covid-19 alert level three, answered.

For the latest official advice see here.

What happened?

On a helter-skelter Valentine’s Day Sunday, three new cases in the community in south Auckland were confirmed, and the prime minister a few hours later announced the swift measures. For more information, and a recap of the day, see here.

What are the new alert levels – and where do they apply?

Auckland enters alert level three at 11.59pm on Sunday February 14. At the same time, the rest of the country will go to alert level two. They are in effect for 72 hours at this stage, till Wednesday February 17 at midnight. They will be reviewed daily. 

Where does Auckland start, and where does it end?

It is defined as the Super City, from Wellsford to Pukekohe. 

Can kids go to school?

For most, no. School are open only for the children up to year 10 whose parents are essential workers. 

Are supermarkets still open?

Yes – with physical distancing. And wear a mask. There may be queues. Don’t panic. 

Dairies and pharmacies? 

Open, but same deal as above in regards to physical distancing.

Bars, cafes and restaurants? 

Can open for contactless takeaways and delivery only.

I’m visiting Auckland. Can I leave?

Yes. There will be a grace period, but don’t muck around.

I live in Auckland. Can I leave?

No. People who live in Auckland shouldn’t leave the city boundaries, and if you live outside of Auckland you shouldn’t come in. As with the last rodeo, there is likely to be patrolling of the supercity borders.

Do I need to wear a mask?

Highly recommended when you’re outside your home and in any environment where you might be within two metres’ proximity of another person. On public transport, a face covering is mandatory.

I have a GP/dentist/optometrist/physio appointment tomorrow. Will it go ahead?

Not for routine care. If you need urgent attention, appointments can still happen in person, or you might be able to have a virtual consultation – call them to discuss.

Hairdresser? Beautician? 

No. Any business that has physical interaction with customers is not allowed to open.

Should I go to work?

If you can work from home, work from home. If you can’t, and you work for a business that doesn’t have interactions with the public, you can go to work – but follow physical distancing and health and safety guidelines. For workplaces, physical distancing of one metre is sufficient.

For information on how to do business in alert level three see here.

Will public transport be running?

Yes. Maintain physical distancing of two metres and wear a mask.

Do I have to stick to my bubble? 

You should stay in your household bubble whenever you’re not at work or school. You legally must stay within your household bubble. You can expand this to: connect with close family and whānau; bring in caregivers; or support isolated people.

Should I keep track of my movements?

Yes. Use the NZ Covid Tracer app or any other reliable method (even good old-fashioned pen and paper). Turn on the Bluetooth function if you haven’t already but note: this is not an alternative to scanning. Do both.

What about weddings, funerals and tangihanga scheduled for the next few days?

Gatherings of up to 10 people can continue, but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures should be maintained.

Court proceedings?


I live outside of Auckland. What do I need to know? 

All of New Zealand beyond Auckland will be under level two for three days from 11.59pm Sunday. Schools, tertiary institutions and early learning services remain open. Businesses also stay open and you can go to work, but stay one metre apart wherever possible. Wear a mask if you can in public. There is a limit of 100 people at social gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga.

Read more here.

What if I’m sick?

Don’t go to work. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, call Healthline. 

Where can I get tested?

Capacity at Auckland’s community testing centres has been boosted, with additional staff and longer hours. Traffic management is in place at all six sites, but people are being asked to expect longer waits than usual and be patient.

To find your closest testing centre check here.

GPs and urgent care clinics are also prepare for a higher volume of testing, and mobile testing units are on standby. Good luck!

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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