COVID-19 - Advice for public events and mass gatherings

New Zealand is now at Alert Level 4. This means that gatherings of any size are cancelled and public venues are closed.

This page was last updated 26 March 2020.

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Why we are cancelling mass gatherings

New Zealand’s priority is slowing the spread of COVID-19. Gatherings such as concerts, sporting events and the like pose a high risk for transmission of infectious diseases. 

New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 4

At Alert Level 4, mass gatherings of any size are cancelled and public venues are closed.

Alert Level 4 means travel is restricted, all non-essential businesses must have staff work remotely or on leave, and other measures. More information on alert levels.

Gatherings and events can be a very good environment for infectious diseases like COVID-19 to spread because people often behave in ways that facilitate transmission. This includes sharing food or drinks, sitting or standing very close together for long periods of time and coughing on each other.

Helping people avoid close contact with others, like you would with the seasonal flu, is an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures will help protect you, your family/whānau and all of New Zealand.

Criteria for cancelling events

Any place the public congregates must close. Any event which includes public congregation must be cancelled.

This will apply for the next four weeks from 23 March 2020.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing means remaining 1 metre away from other people, or if you are closer than 1 metre, being there for less than 15 minutes.

Physical distancing is important to help protect you and others from COVID-19, which spreads via droplets from coughing and sneezing. Staying 1 metre away from others is an effective measure.

Essential gatherings and events

Supermarkets, doctors, pharmacies, service stations, banking are essential services and will remain open at every alert level.

New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 4. Non-essential businesses such as bars, cafes, pools, museums, movies and defined as any place the public congregates, must close.

All indoor and outdoor events must not proceed.

From 11:59pm on Weds 25th March New Zealand will move to Alert Level 4 – Eliminate.

Workplaces

See our Advice for workplaces page.

Schools and other education providers

New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 4. All schools are closed and the school term break has been brought forward.

For the remainder of this week and through the term break schools will establish ways to deliver teaching online and remotely as quickly as they can.

The Ministry of Education will work with preschools, primary schools, high schools and universities to provide guidance. 

Public transport

Public transport and regional air travel is restricted to those involved in essential services and freight, with domestic air travel permitted in some cases for people to leave the country and to get home to self-isolate. Private travel is allowed.

Weddings, funerals/tangi, birthday parties and other gatherings

Any place the public congregates must close. Any event which includes public congregation must be cancelled. This will apply for the next four weeks from 23 March 2020.

Supermarkets and the hospitality industry

Supermarkets

Supermarkets should not close but may wish to review how often they clean high-touch surfaces, such as trolleys, baskets and touch screens. Supermarkets may also wish to limit how many people are in their store at a time to ensure physical distancing.

Hospitality industry

Any place the public congregates must close. Takeaway venues must also close.

Any event which includes public congregation must be cancelled. This will apply for the next four weeks from 23 March 2020.

Non-essential services

More information is available on covid19.govt.nz.

Refunds for events

In the first instance, please contact the event organiser. They will likely need some time to determine their process and obligations for any refunds, payment to suppliers etc.

Please be patient as they work through the process to meet any obligations they may have.

Reporting breaches

If you have concerns about a gathering of people or event that breaches the criteria, report COVID-19 L4 breach.

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