COVID-19: Staying at home

Guidance on staying at home.

Last updated 27 December 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:

  • a Casual Plus Contact or
  • a Casual Contact who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • a member of the general public who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • a household member of a Close Contact when either they, or you, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

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 10 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 someone in your household or bubble is a Close contact who is self-isolating and they develop symptoms, it is recommended that you (regardless of whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated) stay at home until the Close contact returns a negative test (taken after their symptoms started). 

If you (regardless of whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated) develop symptoms, you should test and stay at home (or in current accommodation) until you receive a negative test result and until 24 hours after your symptoms resolve.

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).
  • 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 health care facility.
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