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What are the rules for NZ businesses at Alert Level 3 

Although we have been here before, it can be hard to remember the rules on operating businesses at the different alert levels.


At Alert Level 2 all businesses can open with some restrictions, including physical distancing, use of face coverings and record keeping.  For more information on operating your business at Alert Level 2, visit the COVID-19 website.

Rules for business at Alert Level 3 

  • If your business requires close physical contact it cannot operate.
  • Staff should work from home if they can.
  • Businesses need to display a QR code and have an alternative contact tracing system. Most businesses have mandatory record keeping requirements to support contact tracing.
  • Your business must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up must also be contactless.
  • Basic hygiene measures must be maintained eg physical distancing, handwashing and regularly cleaning surfaces. Workers must stay home if they’re sick.
  • Staff must remain a minimum of 1 metre apart (and 2 metres from any other person) at all times where practical. We recommend other measures, such as PPE including face coverings, be used where appropriate.

Customers and clients are not allowed in workplaces except for:

  • Rental car services and car share services
  • Veterinary services and animal health and welfare services
  • Services provided under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, and other social services provided to support persons to maintain critical well-being and as crisis support for people who are unsafe or homeless
  • Courts and tribunals
  • Justice sector
  • Supermarkets and dairies
  • Retail butchers, fishmongers, and greengrocers (but only if their premises are indoors and have a fixed location)
  • Petrol stations, including any stores operating as part of the petrol station
  • Licensing trusts operating in Mataura and Invercargill, but only in respect of the sale of alcohol under an off-licence
  • Pharmacies
  • Food banks
  • Hardware and do-it-yourself stores (trade customers only)
  • Banks (or certain other critical financial institution if online or phone options are not possible)
  • Shopping malls (for the purposes of enabling goods to be collected through a method that minimises physical contact or enabling access to other businesses or services to which persons may have access)
  • Accommodation Services
  • New Zealand Post Limited – PO Box and collection services only
  • Education entities
  • Transport stations and public transport services
  • Health services
  • Venue businesses (for controlled gatherings: funerals, tangihanga or wedding/civil union services)


For all other businesses and services, customers and clients should not enter the workplace except to the minimum extent necessary to collect goods through a method that:

  • minimises physical contact and
  • does not involve entering a building; or
  • involves entering a shopping mall, but not entering an individual store; or
  • involves entering a building, but only to access a PO Box (including an in-person collection service at a PO Box lobby) or an in-person collection service at a Card to Call counter operated by New Zealand Post Limited

You must meet all other health and safety obligations.

Businesses that cannot open at Alert Level 3

  • Farmers markets
  • Nightclubs
  • Entertainment and tourist facilities where people gather — for example museums, cinemas, libraries, arcades.
  • Hairdressers and beauty salons
  • Gyms and exercise facilities
  • Driving instructors
  • Outdoor adventure activity operators

Travelling for work

Public Transport

  • People can travel using public or private transport to get to their workplace premises within the Alert Level 3 area.
  • Bus, trains and ferries will be running to a reduced timetable.
  • When getting on and off a bus please use the rear door.

Think about what tasks can be done from home — for example, having a virtual meeting rather than meeting in-person, or doing the administration work from home.

If your workers do need to go onto the workplace premises, only allow those who need to go into work to do so. Everyone else should work from home.

Recreation and exercise

You can undertake exercise or other recreation if:

  • it is in an outdoor place appropriate for that kind of exercise or recreation
  • it is easily accessible from your home (including by using your vehicle)
  • you maintain 2 metres physical distance from others not in your household bubble, including not gathering with others in an outdoor area
  • you do not do scuba-diving, water-based activities involving boating, sailing boats, motorised craft, or motorised equipment, hunt in motorised vehicles, or fly manned aircraft, and
  • you do not do any activities that may mean you need to be rescued.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website has a useful guidance table for businesses at Alert level 2 and 3. Familiarise yourself with the rules now, so that you can operate safely under the Alert Level for your region. Visit the MBIE site here.


COVID-19 Tax relief for donations of trading stock

If you are donating trading stock to an approved donee, such as registered charity or public authority, you may qualify for an income tax deduction. The legislation applies to stock donated between (and including) March 17, 2020 and March 16, 2022. The change provides temporary relief from an anti-avoidance rule. Talk to us about how this may affect your business.


Talk to us, we are here to help

If you are struggling to meet compliance obligations due to Covid 19, there are options. We can give you guidance on support schemes, assist with planning and we can talk to the IRD on your behalf.

Talk to us early so we can help you plan.

Email us 

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Chris Lynch, CA

Managing Director, Lynch & Associates Limited

Get in touch by Email or Phone: +64 9 366 6008

Chris is the founding Director of Lynch & Associates Limited.

He qualified as a CA in 1973 and is a full member of the College of NZICA now merged with CAANZ. His expertise is in the areas of tax, accounting, business development, forecasting, and auditing. He has a clear focus on adding value to his clients lives and businesses and seeing the people behind the numbers.

Chris experience includes working as a CFO and company secretary for some of New Zealand’s leading companies before starting his own CA firm in 1999. In his previous roles Chris has worked in the wool, dairy, engineering FCG, banking and investment banking and stock broking industries.

Today he uses this vast experience to assist his clients add value to their businesses and personal lives. 

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