What can I do at Alert Levels 2 and Alert Level 3? Here's what it means for you

Auckland is moving to alert level 3 from midday today (Wednesday 12 August), as four cases of community transmission of Covid-19 were announced last night.

Outside of Auckland, the rest of New Zealand will move to level 2 from midday Wednesday.

The restrictions will last three days until midnight Friday.

So what does this mean for you? What are we allowed to do?

Can I leave the house?

Aucklanders are asked to stay home to stop the spread.

"Act as if you have Covid and the people around you have Covid," Ardern said.

People are to work from home unless they are essential workers and should stay in their bubble.

Restaurants and bars will have to close again, and gatherings will be limited to 10 people at one time.

If you are outside of Auckland, under level 2, it is recommended you stay at home to be safe.

Under alert level 2, mass gatherings will be limited to 100 people.

You can exercise at parks or beaches within your region, but the closer to home the better. Activities must be safe – keep two metres away from anyone not in your bubble - and make minimal trips.

Also, don't even think about picking up a new hobby and trying to surf for the first time. This could put you and others at risk, so stick with going for a quick dip and stay within your comfort levels.

Can I go to the supermarket?

Yes, supermarkets will remain open at all levels. Do not panic buy - food and medicines will be available at all levels.

Can I still go to work?

Aucklanders must work from home unless they are essential workers.

If that's not possible, staff have to make sure they keep 1m between each other, record who they interact with, have good hygiene practices and make sure surfaces are disinfected.

But if businesses involve face-to-face contact, they'll have to keep the doors closed. That includes gyms, house cleaners, hairdressers, sales people and masseuses. These, however, will be able to open under alert level 2 with the right measures.

"Customers cannot come on to your premises," Ardern said. "Unless you are a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service.

"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."

The Government has given these examples for businesses opening:

• If you run a takeaway business, you can remain open if you have pre-ordered contactless pick up, or can do home delivery.

• A real estate agent can open, but people should work from home if they can. The agent can enter someone's home but can't have customers in the office. You cannot run an open home.

• Construction businesses can work, but strict hygiene measures must be put in place – and office staff who can work from home should do so.

Does this mean I can get a takeaway meal?

Yes, you can get your favourite takeaway as long as you can place your order and pick it up without face-to-face contact.

For example, you can use your local KFC or McDonald's drive-thru or order a curry through a delivery service.

Can I go to the gym?

Not if you're in Auckland - all public venues must close under level 3.

This includes libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets.

At alert level 2, public venues such as museums, libraries and pools can open if they comply with public health measures and ensure 1 metre physical distancing and record keeping.

Previous rules for alert levels

Alert Level 4 — Lockdown

Likely that the disease is not contained and community transmission is occurring.

• Range of measures that can be applied locally or nationally

• People instructed to stay at home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement.

• Safe recreational activity is allowed in the local area.

• Travel is severely limited.

• All gatherings cancelled and all public venues closed.

• Businesses closed except for essential services, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, petrol stations and lifeline utilities.

• Educational facilities closed.

• Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities possible.

• Reprioritisation of healthcare services.

Alert Level 3 — Restrict

Community transmission might be happening.

• Range of measures that can be applied locally or nationally.

• People instructed to stay home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement — including to go to work, school if they have to or for local recreation.

• Physical distancing of 2 metres outside home including on public transport, or 1 metre in controlled environments like schools and workplaces.

• Bubbles must stay within their immediate household bubble but can expand this to reconnect with close family/whānau, or bring in caregivers or support isolated people. This extended bubble should remain exclusive.

• Schools between years 1 to 10 and Early Childhood Education centres can safely open but will have limited capacity. Children should learn at home if possible.

• People must work from home unless that is not possible.

• Businesses can open premises, but cannot physically interact with customers.

• Low-risk local recreation activities are allowed.

• Public venues are closed. This includes libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets.

• Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures must be maintained.

• Healthcare services use virtual, non-contact consultations where possible.

• Inter-regional travel is highly limited to, for example, essential workers, with limited exemptions for others.

• People at high risk of severe illness such as older people and those with existing medical conditions are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home. They may choose to work.

Alert Level 2 — Reduce

The disease is contained, but the risk of community transmission remains. Risk assessment. Household transmission could be occurring. Single or isolated cluster outbreaks.

• People can reconnect with friends and family, and socialise in groups of up to 100, go shopping or travel domestically if following public health guidance.

• Keep physical distancing of 2 metres from people you don't know when out in public or in retail stores. Keep 1 metre physical distancing in controlled environments like workplaces, where practical.

• No more than 100 people at gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga.

• Businesses can open to the public if following public health guidance including physical distancing and record keeping. Alternative ways of working are encouraged where possible.

• Hospitality businesses must keep groups of customers separated, seated and served by a single person.

• Maximum of 100 people at a time in a defined space.

• Sport and recreation activities are allowed, subject to conditions on gatherings, record keeping, and physical distancing where practical.

• Public venues such as museums, libraries and pools can open if they comply with public health measures and ensure 1 metre physical distancing and record keeping.

• Event facilities, including cinemas, stadiums, concert venues and casinos can have more than 100 people at a time, provided there are no more than 100 in a defined space, and the groups do not mix.

• Health and disability care services operate as normally as possible.

• It is safe to send your children to schools, early learning services and tertiary education. There will be appropriate measures in place.

• People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, for example those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled, and older people, are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home. They may work if they agree with their employer that they can do so safely.

Alert Level 1 — Prepare

The disease is contained in New Zealand. COVID-19 is uncontrolled overseas.

• Isolated household transmission could be occurring in New Zealand.

• Range of measures that can be applied locally or nationally

• Border entry measures to minimise risk of importing COVID-19 cases.

• Intensive testing for COVID-19.

• Rapid contact tracing of any positive case.

• Self-isolation and quarantine required.

• Schools and workplaces open, and must operate safely.

• No restrictions on personal movement but people are encouraged to maintain a record of where they have been.

• No restrictions on gatherings but organisers encouraged to maintain records to enable contact tracing.

• Stay home if you're sick, report flu-like symptoms.

• Wash and dry your hands, cough into your elbow, don't touch your face.

• No restrictions on domestic transport — avoid public transport or travel if you're sick.

• No restrictions on workplaces or services but they are encouraged to maintain records to enable contact tracing.

 This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.