Going back to work

At Alert Level 2 many people can go back to work.

Your employer will let you know how you are going to work at Alert Level 2. You might be asked to work in different ways such as:

  • working from home (if you can)
  • working in shifts – at different times from your colleagues
  • staying 1-metre away from other people at work
  • having your meal break at a different time
  • taking flexible leave.

You should talk with your employer about any concerns you have, and how they will keep you safe at work during Alert Level 2.

If you’re at high risk of becoming very unwell from COVID-19, your employer may be able to pay you to take leave. Find out more here: www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-types-of-leave/coronavirus-workplace/leave-support-scheme/

You can find out more about employment during COVID-19 here: www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-types-of-leave/coronavirus-workplace/


At Alert Level 2 businesses can operate and have customers on their premises if they’re able to do so safely.

If you own or run a business, you must do everything you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at work — we all have a part to play in keeping each other safe.

Businesses should maintain hygiene measures, including physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces.

All businesses are encouraged to use alternative ways of working if possible.

If workers have symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home.

Golden Rules for Businesses during Alert Level 2:

  1. COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
  2. All businesses can operate if they can do so safely. Alternative ways of working are still encouraged where possible.
  3. Talk with your workers to identify risks and ways to manage them.
  4. Ask everyone, workers, contractors and customers, with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away from your premises.
  5. Keep groups of customers at least 1 metre apart, or 2 metres for retail businesses.
  6. Keep contact-tracing records of anyone who will have close interaction (workers, contractors or customers). Retail businesses are not required to keep contact tracing records.
  7. Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
  8. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.


Retail businesses:

  • need to keep customers 2 metres apart
  • do not need to keep records of customers to enable contact tracing.

There is no maximum number of customers allowed in a store, as long as they can keep 2 metres apart at all times.

Services can also be provided on customers’ premises, for example, cleaning and home help.


Restaurants, cafes and bars must:

  • have customers seated
  • keep groups of attendees separated 1 metre apart
  • have a single server per group
  • keep records of all customers and workers to enable contact tracing
  • not have more than 100 people in total — this excludes staff.

Alcohol can only be served to people eating a meal. This is a temporary restriction until 21 May 2020.

Venues will stay shut if they can’t open safely.

Work involving close personal contact

For some businesses, close personal contact is required to deliver a service. This includes:

  • hairdressers
  • home help providers.

These businesses can operate if they have public health measures in place like:

  • keeping contact tracing registers
  • keeping customers 1 metre apart, including while they’re waiting
  • good hygiene practices
  • disinfecting surfaces in between customers.

Hairdressers, and similar workers, may wear a face mask because they cannot stay at least 1-metre away from you while they do their job.