Here's the list of all 'essential' services that can stay open during Covid-19 lockdown

Photo / Getty

Photo / Getty

• All non-essential businesses or services - bars, cafes, gyms, cinemas - should already be closed
• The Warehouse will close, as will liquor stores unless within a Licensing Trust Area
• Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Placemakers open for essential building and construction, but not the general public
• Dairies can stay open but with strict "one in, one out" policy
• Meals on Wheels and delivery of non-pre-cooked food allowed. No food delivery such as Uber Eats
• Self-service laundry to stay open, with strict physical distancing
• Contact should be limited to a small "bubble", and bubbles shouldn't overlap
• Domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait services can be used until midnight Friday to get home

The Government has released a list of what is considered to be an essential business and, therefore, exempt from the level four lockdown.

The list, on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's website, goes into much more detail about who is exempt from the lockdown, beginning at 11:59pm tonight.

The Warehouse and most liquor stores will close when Covid-19 alert level 4 begins late Wednesday evening, Government ministers have confirmed.

MBIE Deputy Chief Executive Paul Stocks said ministers met on Tuesday night to clarify what essential services will remain open during the nationwide lockdown.

New Zealand will enter alert level 4 at 11:59 pm tonight in an effort to "stop the virus in its tracks," he said.

"That's why we need as many businesses as possible to close their premises now if our one shot at beating the virus is to be successful.

"Only the businesses absolutely essential to ensure the necessities of life, like supermarkets and pharmacies, can stay open. If in doubt, the business premises should be closed."

That means all Warehouse stores need to shut up shop for the next four weeks at least.

"Leaving them open to the general public creates too high a risk of further spreading the virus," Stocks said.

Dairies can remain open, as they sell basic food items like milk and bread to those who live nearby, especially for the elderly who may struggle to get to a supermarket, he said.

"However, they will need to operate a strict 'one-in-one-out' policy and they won't be allowed to sell food prepared on the premises.

"If any dairy breaks the rules, we will shut it down. If there is evidence of systemic abuse, we will remove them from the essential services list."

Liquor stores must close unless they are within a Licensing Trust Area, such as in West Auckland and Invercargill.

These must operate with "one-in-one-out" rule.

"Most people are able to purchase alcohol at supermarkets. On that basis, liquor stores are being treated as other non-essential retail outlets and must close."

Food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Delivery Easy are a no-go, as they "pose a risk to human health". Only meals on wheels is exempt from this.

"We cannot guarantee every kitchen operates strict food preparation controls or that everyone who works in a kitchen is well," Stocks said.

"Evidence overseas suggests the virus has been spread via poor food hygiene practices, so it's a real risk we have to eliminate.

"For clarity, every restaurant, café and bar must close all aspects of their operation, including delivery."

Delivery of food that is not pre-cooked will be allowed, but only under strict health conditions.

"Many New Zealanders now receive their food via a delivery company and are in effect no different to a supermarket delivery option."

"We are doing further work on online ordering of non-food products for home delivery to see if this type of retail can be conducted safely. We will update advice on this once further decisions are made."

Bunnings, Placemakers and Mitre 10 can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only - that means helping out in the construction supply chain, not for the general public.

Businesses that are a critical part of the supply chain for essential services are also able to continue operating, but must do so in a way that is safe.

"For example, if you make chemicals that are needed for our wastewater plants, then we need you to keep operating at the minimum level required."

Stocks reiterated that Covid-19 alert level 4 is not business as usual and will involve "significant restrictions on what New Zealanders are able to purchase".

"However, these changes are essential to stop the spread of the virus. We are ready to change the list if necessary. If we discover there are essential services that have not been made available we will react to that as we go."

More information about what will and won't be open:

• Dairies to stay open, with "one-in-one-out" rule

• Food delivery prohibited, except meals on wheels and delivery of food not pre-cooked.

• Liquor stores closed, unless within a Licensing Trust Area and with "one-in-one-out" rule

• Self-service laundries can stay open, two-metre physical distancing to be enforced

• Retirement villages included as an essential service

• The Warehouse to close stores to the public

• Bunnings, Placemakers, Mitre 10 and other retailers essential to the supply chain for building and construction can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only

• The Tiwai Pt smelter exempt from closure

• NZ Steel shut down in a way that allows for production to recommence easily

• Pulp and paper plants to shut down non-essential elements in a way that allows for production to recommence easily while maintaining essential production

• Methanex to remain in production, but at a scale consistent with stability of gas supply.

Here is the official list of essential businesses

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) essential businesses are those that support people and provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand.

This means food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support will continue to be available, MBIE said.

The list may, however, evolve over time.

These businesses will continue working but will put in place alternative ways of working to keep employees safe, including shift-based working, staggered meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements and physical distancing.

What are 'essential' businesses?


• Any entity that provides accommodation services for essential workers, isolation/quarantine, and emergency housing


• Customs New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries

Building and construction:

• Any entity involved in building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure

• Any entity involved in building and construction required immediately to maintain human health and safety at home or work

• Any entity that performs or is involved in building and resource consenting necessary for the above purposes

Courts, tribunals and the justice system:

• Courts of New Zealand and tribunals

• Critical Crown entities (eg Electoral Commission)

Fast-moving consumer goods:

• Any entity involved in the supply, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people, but not take away shops. Food delivery prohibited, except meals on wheels and delivery of food not pre-cooked.

At level 3 only:

• Any person employed or contracted as teaching, nursery and childcare staff, including specialist education professionals and others who provide support (eg to disabled children)

• Any person employed by or contracted to an educational facility

• Any entity supplying educational facilities or educational materials (eg printers)

Financial services:

• Banks, insurers and other financial institutions, including any entity that contracts or provides services to them (eg secure money delivery services)

• Securities registries



• District Health Boards (and all of their facilities), Pharmac, New Zealand Blood Service, Health Promotion Agency, Health Quality and Safety Commission

• Any person employed or contracted as a doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, paramedic, medical laboratory scientists, kaiāwhina workers, social workers, aged care and community workers, and caregivers more generally

• Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities (eg rest homes)

• Any entity providing ambulance services

• Any entity producing health sector equipment, medicines and PPE

• Any entity involved with the deceased/tūpāpaku (eg funeral homes, crematories, cemeteries)

Local and national government:

• Any entity involved in COVID-19 response, enforcement, planning or logistics or that has civil defence/emergency management functions (including any entity that supplies services for these purposes)

• Key public services

Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing:

• Any entity involved in the packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products, whether for domestic consumption or export

• Any entity involved in relevant support services, such as food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions

• Any entity providing veterinary services

• Any entity whose closure would jeopardise the maintenance of animal health or welfare standards (including the short-term survival of a species)

Public safety and national security:

• The Department of Corrections, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, Government Communications Security Bureau

• Courts of New Zealand

• Any person employed or contracted in a public safety or national security role


• ESR, GNS, GeoNet, NIWA, MetService

• Any entity (including research organisations) involved in COVID-19 response

• Any entity (including research organisations) involved in hazard monitoring and resilience

• Any entity (including research organisations) involved in diagnostics for essential services like biosecurity, public health

• Laboratories and Physical Containment level 3 (PC3) facilities that could provide essential services and products that could be used to respond to COVID-19

• Other significant research facilities including animal facilities, clinical trials and infrastructure that requires constant attention (eg samples, collections and storage facilities) that are important to New Zealand

Social services:

• Those entities, including non-government organisations, that provide welfare and social services to meet immediate needs, to be specified jointly by the Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki

Transport and logistics:

• Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Customs, New Zealand Transport Agency, Civil Aviation Authority (including Aviation Security Service), Maritime New Zealand (including the Rescue Coordination Centre), Airways NZ, MetService, KiwiRail (including Interislander), and any entity which is contracted by these entities

• Any entity that provides, or is contracted to an entity that provides, logistics services, including New Zealand Post and courier services

• Any entity providing or is contracted by an entity that provides, transport services to the Ministry of Health, a District Health Board, a Medical Officer of Health, or a Controller (as defined in section 4 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002)

• Any entity which provides services related to the maintenance and ongoing operation of critical infrastructure (eg roads, rail, ports, airports)

• Any entity which operates or is contracted by an entity listed in Schedule 1 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002, an aerodrome, a passenger and/or freight aviation service, a passenger and/or freight shipping service, a road freight service, a rail freight service, a vehicle recovery service; or a public transport service (under contract with a Regional Council)

• Any small passenger service vehicle driver (who holds the relevant licence)

• Any entity providing services to keep vehicles operational for essential work purposes (eg vehicle testing, mechanics, tyre services)

Utilities and communications, including supply chains:

• Any entity involved in the production, supply, sale distribution or disposal of electricity, gas, water, wastewater (eg sanitation), waste (eg rubbish collection), fuel, telecommunication services, and any entity that is contracted by these entities

• News (including news production) and broadcast media

• Internet service providers

• Any entity that provides maintenance and repair services for utilities and communications, including supply chains

• Any entity supplying services to an essential workplaces that are required for the safe operation of that workplace (eg cleaning, security services)

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This article was originally posted by NZ Herald and reproduced here with permission.