COVID-19: The 11 things you need to know if your area is moving to alert level 3 on Tuesday night

While Auckland and Northland remain at COVID-19 alert level 4, the rest of New Zealand is preparing to move down to level 3.

The alert level changes take place at 11:59pm on Tuesday and will be reviewed in a week. Northland will join the rest of the country in alert level 3 on Thursday pending wastewater test results, while Auckland will remain under a stringent lockdown for at least another fortnight.

It comes after Auckland, the epicentre of an outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, reported another 49 cases of the virus on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, speaking at a daily COVID-19 press conference, urged people in areas outside of Auckland to continue staying home where possible, as per alert level 3 guidelines, and encouraged people to continue wearing masks.

"Level 3 is progress but it is a setting that still requires a high degree of caution because the risk of COVID in the community remains high," she said on Tuesday.

What you need about COVID-19 alert level 3:

  • People must stay in their household bubbles, but they can be expanded slightly to bring in caregivers or support isolated people
  • More businesses can open, but only according to strict rules. Contactless deliveries and pickups can take place - but all staff and customers must wear a mask
  • Restaurants and cafes can open for pickups and deliveries, so long as staff and customers do not come into contact
  • Non-essential businesses that require close and physical contact are not permitted to open
  • Weddings, civil unions, funerals and tangihanga are allowed for up to 10 people. Other gatherings remain banned
  • Like alert level 4, outdoor exercise is permitted - but should remain local
  • People should continue adhering to 2m social distancing guidelines
  • If it's possible to continue working from home, do so
  • Schools remain closed except for children of essential workers where there are no alternative childcare options
  • Public venues, including libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools and playgrounds and markets, remain closed
  • Travel remains restricted to work and accessing essential services or picking up contactless goods. Travel between Auckland and greater New Zealand also remains highly limited and will only be permitted for people with essential work exemptions, and for emergencies, care or support for someone critically ill.

"We're trying to stop the spread of a particularly infectious and tricky virus, so please do not cross alert level boundaries unless it is for those serious reasons we have set out," Ardern said.

"We do have some hard work in front of us still - we want the tail of this outbreak to be as short as possible but that is up to all of us.

"As we transition to level 3, please do remain absolutely cautious."