Coronavirus: The essential services that will keep running in New Zealand

While New Zealand goes into a lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, several essential services will remain active to help New Zealanders.

On Monday, the Government announced the move to a level 3 alert, to be followed by level 4 in 48 hours.

It's now explained what this means on its COVID-19 website.

"Essential businesses, and those that support them, will continue to provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand," the government says.

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

The government says while these businesses will continue working, they 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.

All non-essential businesses must now close, as well as bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries, and playgrounds.

"We are setting up a call centre and free 0800 number to help answer questions about this.  Our website will be updated as soon as this is set up," the government says.

"More specific information for each sector will be published shortly."

List of essential businesses


  • Accommodation services for essential workers and people who need to be isolated/quarantined


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

Building and construction

  • Building and construction related to essential services, critical infrastructure, or immediately needed to maintain human health and safety at home/work

Courts, tribunals and the justice system

  • Courts of New Zealand and tribunals
  • Critical Crown entities (eg Electoral Commission) 


  • At level 3 only: Schools and educational facilities (e.g. ECE centres)

Fast-moving consumer goods

  • Businesses involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods (but not takeaway shops)

Financial services

  • Banks, insurers and other financial institutions


  • Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities
  • Ambulance services
  • Mortuary services
  • New Zealand Blood Service donations

Local and national government

  • Any entity involved in COVID-19 response or that has civil defence/emergency management functions
  • Key public services

Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing

  • Packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products
  • Food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions
  • Veterinary and animal health/welfare services

Public safety and national security

  • Emergency services
  • Security and intelligence services
  • Justice system
  • Public safety and national security roles


  • Any entity (including research organisations) involved in COVID-19 response, hazard monitoring, resilience, diagnostics for essential services

Social services

  • Welfare and social services, including NGOs, which meet immediate needs (further guidance will be provided)

Transport and logistics

  • Transport services
  • New Zealand Post and courier services
  • Any small passenger service vehicle driver - including taxis and ride-share services

Utilities and communications, including supply chains

  • Electricity, gas, water, waste, fuel, telecommunication services, internet providers and media