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An update on essential services / essential businesses

News story
Wednesday 25 Mar 2020

Essential businesses are the only businesses that are allowed to stay open during the four-week COVID-19 Alert Level 4 period, which began at 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March 2020. 

Businesses that provide non-food essential goods are able to trade if they do so in a way that protects the public and minimises the risk of COVID-19 spreading - ie. orders are taken online or over the phone, orders must be home delivered in a contactless way and the business must inform MBIE of its intention to offer essential non-food products for sale. Find about more about providing essential non-food goods here.

If you are uncertain whether your business is classified as an essential service, the Government has provided further detail about what stores are considered essential. See a summary of some of the top points below.

For more detail on this, please visit the Government's website here

If you have questions about any of this information you can email MBIE for enquiries on or free phone 0508 377 388.

For a list of essential businesses operating in the city centre, click here

Essential businesses

Essential businesses are businesses that are essential to the provision of the necessities of life, as outlined by the Government here. Key inclusions are:

  • Supermarkets (e.g. Countdown, New World etc.)
  • Dairies can remain open, with a one-in-one-out rule (meaning one person at a time), and cannot sell any cooked food.
    More detail on what dairy owners need to do to comply with Alert Level 4 has been outlined by Business NZ and is available here.
  • Self-service laundries can stay open, with two meter physical distancing to be enforced
  • Financial services (e.g. banks, insurers and other financial institutions)
  • Healthcare providers
  • Transport (including Taxis)
  • Businesses that provide/supply:
    • Electricity
    • Gas 
    • Waste management (e.g. rubbish collection)
    • Fuel
    • Telecommunication services
    • Internet

Non-essential businesses

Non-essential businesses, or those not providing essential goods, must now close their premises and cannot operate in any capacity during the four-week lockdown. This means that:

  • All cinemas, pools, museums, libraries, playgrounds and any other place where the public congregate must close their face to face functions
  • Every restaurant, café and bar must close all aspects of their operation
  • Delivery of cooked prepared meals is prohibited
  • Liquor stores must close to the public unless they are in Licensing Trust Areas

For a full list of essential and non-essential goods, services and business, visit the COVID-19 website.

By complying with these restrictions during the lockdown, we can all help to protect New Zealand and eradicate COVID-19. The Government has advised that enforcement measures may be used to ensure compliance. 

Find more information about the help and support available for businesses impacted by COVID-19 on our website here