Coronavirus: What you can and can't do after New Zealand's alert level increase

The Prime Minister described Monday's coronavirus announcement as "the most significant restriction on New Zealanders' movements in modern history".

So from a quick check-in on your mum to a walk in the park - exactly what can or can't you do after the increase in alert level? 

Jacinda Ardern's message is clear: "Sticking to the rules matters."

They're rules that will completely change New Zealand as we know it. Lockdown will have to be our reality for at least the next four weeks.

"For the next wee while, things will look worse before they look better," the Prime Minister explained.

The new border controls will start at the front door, and the rules are very clear: stay at home and stop all interaction with others outside of your own household. 

Even nipping down the road to see your mum or aunty is now an absolute no-no. 

"If you hang out with your friend at a park or see a family member for lunch, you risk spreading COVID-19 and extending the nation's time in level 4," Ardern said.

But you are allowed to leave the house for fresh air, a walk or a run, as long as you maintain a two-metre distance.

"What we know about the virus is that it's droplet-spread, so it's not airborne," microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles explained.

"It means that we can go outside, but we need to stay away from people." 

For the next 48 hours people can travel home, with airlines ensuring social distancing. After that, services will only be used for the movement of freight and workers in essential roles. 

But no matter what alert level we're on, all petrol stations, pharmacies, medical centres, hospitals, and supermarkets will remain open. 

Infectious disease experts say it's important people remain vigilant.

"Don't go sneezing all over the place," says Otago University researcher Professor Stephen Chambers.

"Don't get too crowded, make sure there's social distance, and be considerate of other people if they're in need."

And most importantly, the message remains: don't panic-buy. 

"It's very, very important that people don't do a rush-on, because if you do a rush-on then everyone goes together," Wiles added.

"And then you'll all end up being in close proximity together, which is what we don't want."

Gull says it's increasing its sanitising regime at the pump, and Z Energy is telling customers to use its contactless payment facilities. 

It's an abnormal way of life, that's now the new normal.