Coronavirus: What alert level 1 restrictions on dining out, events, travelling mean for New Zealanders

Now that New Zealand is moving to alert level 1 at midnight on Monday, life will change once again for Kiwis since more restrictions are lifting.

The Government's COVID-19 website says level 1 means "the disease is now contained in New Zealand", and the risk assessment says isolated household transmission "could be occurring" in the country.

It comes as the Ministry of Health revealed earlier on Monday the last known active case in New Zealand has recovered, and it's the 17th consecutive day there were no new cases.

Moving to level 1 means all restrictions on events are lifted - the only restrictions that remain are at the border.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says although there's a new sense of freedom with level 1 and there are currently no known active cases, she's still asking New Zealanders to keep track of their movements.

"You can do and go wherever you like, we just ask you keep a record of where you've been by scanning in [with a QR code] or just by noting down your movements for yourself," she said on Monday.

Here's what the new level 1 guidelines mean for New Zealanders.

Dining out

Under level 1, Kiwis can continue to enjoy a meal out at cafes and restaurants. But now, hospitality providers no longer need to ensure guests are seated and only served by one person, and nightclubs are able to fully open.

Visiting stores

Manual sign-ins are no longer required at stores. However, Ardern is encouraging businesses to have a QR code at entrances customers can use to keep track of where they've visited.

Large events

The restrictions on gatherings has completely lifted, meaning large-scale concerts, sports games and anything with a crowd can go ahead.

Ardern says the Government's been working on a 'COVID code' with the events sector to ensure attendees' details can be recorded at larger events where the virus "can spread more easily".

"The reason for that is simple. If we get one or two cases in the future, which will remain possible for some time to come due to the global situation and the nature of the virus, we need to shut down those cases fast."


Domestic travel was reintroduced under alert level 2, but airlines enforced physical distancing onboard planes and flights weren't operating at full capacity.

But now airlines can "safely fill" planes again, easing the economic pressure on the transport industry, Ardern says.

The same also goes for local public transport - there's now no need for restrictions on board buses, trains and any other services.

Social events

Church services, funerals, tangihanga, parties, community sport and all other social events and gatherings no longer have a cap on numbers and they can all return to full capacity.

But despite the freedom on restrictions, Ardern says New Zealand will "almost certainly see cases here again".

"The world will remain in the grip of a global pandemic for some time to come and we will see cases here again, which we must remain prepared for."

She adds Kiwis need to remain vigilant during alert level 1.

"The last thing, as I say, we want to do is move back up the alert level system again."

Ardern's 10 'golden' alert level 1 rules

  1. If you're sick, stay home: "Don't go to work or school, don't socialise. None of that changes when we lift restrictions. We do not want New Zealanders to be stoic and go into workplaces or anywhere else if they're sick."
  2. If you have symptoms, get tested: "If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline. Make sure you get tested."
  3. Practice good hand hygiene: "Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands."
  4. Sneeze safely: "Sneeze and cough into your elbow and regularly disinfect shared surfaces."
  5. Listen to the authorities: "If you're told by health authorities to self-isolate, you must do so immediately."
  6. If you're worried, speak to an expert: "If you're concerned about your wellbeing or you've got underlying health conditions, we encourage you to work with your GP to understand how best to stay healthy."
  7. Pay attention to your movements: "Keep track of where you've been and who you've seen to help with contact tracing if needed. I really encourage you to use the NZ COVID Tracer app as a handy and easy way to do that."
  8. Businesses should do their bit to help contact tracing efforts: "Businesses should help people keep track of their movements by displaying the Ministry of Health QR code for contact tracing."
  9. Remain vigilant and prepared: "There is still a global pandemic going on. People and businesses should be prepared to act fast to step up alert levels if we have to.
  10. Be kind: "People will have had very different experiences over the past couple of months. Whatever you're feeling, it's okay. Be kind to others and be kind to yourself."