Government expected to announce further restrictions on gatherings amid COVID-19 pandemic

First festivals and mass gatherings were cancelled and now the Government is planning to announce restrictions on smaller get-togethers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Details will be revealed on Thursday and it could mean bad news for weddings, gigs, religious services and funerals if they can't manage social distancing.

"It may be difficult for families to accept that they can't have what they would have chosen to have under different circumstances," Harbour City Funeral Home's Geoff Botherway told Newshub.

With the further restrictions expected on Thursday, funeral homes have already begun preparing to guide grieving families through the new normal.

"There are other ways to incorporate people without physically being there by way of livestreaming and video eulogy," Botherway added.

It's not just funerals but gigs, clubs, religious services and weddings that could all be affected.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday the Government has "looked at what's happening around the world with different advice [and] different thresholds".

That includes New Zealand's closest cousin Australia which has just brought down the axe, banning social gatherings of 100 people or more.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that there should be "no large group visits or gatherings, including social activities or entertainment to be permitted at this time".

Australia's ban exempts public transport, courts, schools, universities, airports, Parliament, supermarkets and many workplaces.

Newshub asked the Prime Minister what that could mean for workplaces with more than 100 people such as supermarkets.

Ardern responded, "What we're talking about are mass gatherings all with individuals all in one place where there is close contact among individuals."

The criteria will be more specific than the existing all-out ban on mass gatherings of 500 or more. For example, a 500-capacity movie theatre might still be able to accommodate 100 people if they can keep their distance.

"It is what you traditionally think of as events and social gatherings and so on... we will be providing very clear guidance so people can consider whether gathering falls under that category," Ardern said.

That could include gatherings like Parliament with its 120 MPs.