Coronavirus: Updated list of essential services that will remain open during COVID-19 lockdown

As New Zealand goes into lockdown, there are some businesses which will remain open to provide essential services to Kiwis.

On Monday, the Government announced the country will move to a level 3 alert, which will be followed by a level 4 on Wednesday night.

It means all non-essential services and businesses must close until they're told it's safe to reopen.

"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."

While these businesses continue operating, 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.

Essential businesses


  • accommodation services for essential workers, isolation or quarantine, and emergency housing


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

Building and construction

  • building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure
  • services 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, for example, the Electoral Commission


At COVID-19 alert level 3 only:

  • anyone employed or contracted as teaching, nursery and childcare staff, including specialist educators and others who provide support
  • anyone employed or contracted at an educational facility
  • any entity that supplies educational facilities or materials

Fast-moving consumer goods

  • any business in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverages and other goods that maintain the wellbeing of people. Takeaway shops are not included.

Financial services

  • banks, insurers and other financial institutions, including any company that contracts or provides services to them, such as secure money delivery services
  • securities registries
  • NZX


  • 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 scientist, kaiāwhina worker, social worker, aged care and community worker, and caregivers.
  • hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, rest homes and other care facilities
  • ambulance services
  • funeral homes, crematories and cemeteries
  • any entity that makes health sector equipment, medicines and PPE

Local and national government

  • any group involved in the COVID-19 response, enforcement, planning or logistics, or that has civil defence or emergency management functions. This also includes any entity that supplies services for these purposes
  • key public services

Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing

  • any entity that packs, produces and processes food and beverages, whether it's for New Zealand consumption or export
  • all relevant support services, such as food safety and verification, inspection or laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions
  • vet 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 and the 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 and MetService
  • any entity, including research organisations, involved in COVID-19 response, hazard monitoring and resilience, and diagnostics for essential services
  • 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 those for animals, clinical trials and infrastructure that require constant attention and that are important to New Zealand

Social services

  • all entities, including non-government organisations, that provide welfare and social services to meet immediate needs. This will be decided 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 provide logistic services, including New Zealand Post and other courier services
  • transport services provided 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)
  • services related to the maintenance and ongoing operation of critical infrastructure, such as roads, rail, ports and airport
  • 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 that is 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, such as vehicle testing, mechanics, tyre services

Utilities and communications, including supply chains

  • electricity, gas, water, wastewater, rubbish collection, fuel, telecommunication services, and any entity that is contracted by these
  • news, including news production, and broadcast media
  • internet service providers
  • maintenance and repair services for utilities and communications
  • any entity that supplies services to essential workplaces such as cleaning and security services