COVID-19: Staying at home

Guidance on staying at home

Last updated 12 March 2021

On this page:


What does staying at home mean?

Staying at home is defined as staying within your home or residence. Public health officials ask you to stay at home if you are identified as:

If you are a Casual Contact but are not experiencing any symptoms, you do not need to stay at home but you should monitor your health for 14 days. If you later develop COVID-19 symptoms, you should stay at home and ring Healthline for advice and information about testing.

Household members of Casual or Casual Plus Contacts and the general public can come and go from the house as normal.

Note for those people who have tested positive for COVID-19

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 are known as cases and will be directly managed by a local public health unit (who are part of our District Health Boards). Please note if you are a case, you’ll receive instructions and advice directly from a public health official which is specific to your individual situation and according to your needs.


What to do when staying at home

You should stay at home until you receive a negative test result (for Casual Plus Contacts, this test should be taken on day 5 after your exposure) and until 24 hours after your symptoms resolve.

If you are a household member of a Close Plus or symptomatic Close Contact you should stay at home until they receive a negative test – usually their day 5 test, however public health officials will guide you. 

What it means to stay at home:

  • If you have symptoms, stay away from your household members if possible
  • You should not go to work or school. If you are unable to work from home while awaiting COVID-19 test results, a short-term payment may be available to your employer (or you, if you are self-employed) to help support you. For more information visit the Work and Income website.
  • It is important that you do not use public transport, taxis or similar transport methods
  • You should not have any visitors in your home (including tradespeople)
  • You can go outside, but you need to avoid contact with others. It’s ok to go for a walk, run or ride your bike, as long as you do not have any symptoms and you stay at least 2 metres away from other people. If you have any symptoms you should not leave your property to exercise.
  • Where possible, ask friends or family to shop for you. If this isn’t possible, order supplies online. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect. If you need assistance, the Ministry of Social Development has information about where you can go for services and support, what you can get help with, and contact information. Visit the Ministry of Social Development website.
  • If you need medical assistance, call ahead to your health provider. Clean your hands with hand sanitiser and put on a face mask before you enter any healthcare facility.
Back to top