Is it safe to travel within New Zealand

Is it safe to travel within New Zealand? COVID-19 protocols to take note of

New Zealand has been updating domestic travel protocols to combat COVID-19 and keep everyone safe. Changes over the weeks have resulted in new laws and regulations. Do you need to wear a mask? Learn what each region is doing to minimize the spread of COVID-19 as we answer the question: “is it safe to travel within New Zealand?”
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The impact of COVID-19 in New Zealand has made things unpredictable in the domestic travel space, with border restrictions constantly changing. Though New Zealand has dealt with the pandemic relatively well, the New Zealand government encourages all domestic travelers to be cautious. Here, we answer some common questions about domestic travel restrictions and safety regulations based on information available as of February 18, 2021. Read on to learn whether it is safe to travel within New Zealand.

⚠️ Due to the evolving nature of the pandemic situation, safety regulations may change without warning. This article should not be treated as legal advice — we recommend that readers check with local authorities for updates in COVID-19 protocols prior to making travel arrangements.

This article covers information regarding domestic travel within New Zealand. For information on international travel to and from New Zealand, please refer to our resource, The Ultimate Guide to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions.

COVID-19 Alert System 

As of 11:59 pm on 17 February 2021, Auckland is at Alert Level 2. The rest of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 1.

New Zealand operates on a 4-level COVID-19 Alert System. Each level denotes the various health and safety regulations and measures when leaving your house, traveling locally, and traveling regionally.

NZ COVID Tracer app

The New Zealand government encourages everyone to download the NZ COVID Tracer app for contact tracing. Download the app on the Apple Store or on Google Play.

How it works

The app uses Bluetooth tracing technology to alert a user if they have been near another app user who has tested position for COVID-19. 

When Bluetooth tracing is switched on, the app sends out a private and secure random ID code. Other users who have their Bluetooth tracing switched on will receive this random ID. This random code is used to notify users who have come into close contact or are at risk of exposure to those who have tested positive for COVID-19. Users will receive an alert and advice on what they should do to keep themselves and others safe.

Privacy protection

While Bluetooth is enabled, the app assures that location, name, and other personal information will not be shared. Read more about the app here.

Auckland

As of 11:59 pm on 17 February 2021, Auckland is at Alert Level 2.

Cases in Auckland originate from an individual South Auckland household with possible connections to Taranaki where they visited a number of tourist locations. To see if you have visited one of the listed locations during the time stated, please refer to this resource

Leaving your house

At Alert Level 2, citizens are advised to follow all public health measures as COVID-19 is present in New Zealand. 

These include: 

  • Keeping two meters apart from people outside you do not know in public places and retail stores.
  • At work, keep a one-meter distance from co-workers.
  • Wear a face covering when you cannot be physically distant from others. 
  • Observe all sanitation practices — wash your hands, sneeze or cough into your elbow, and regularly disinfect all surfaces. 
  • Keep track of where you’ve been and people you come into contact with.
  • Only go out for essential reasons.

If you are sick: 

  • Stay at home — do not socialize, go to work, or go to school.
  • Contact the Healthline at 0800 358 5453 or your doctor if you are experiencing cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms — make sure to get tested.

Local travel

Public transport

It is mandatory for face coverings to be worn on public transport to and from Auckland. This includes trains, buses, and ferries. 

Apart from wearing face coverings, the government recommends these tips to minimize risk on public transport:

  • Avoid standing or sitting beside someone you do not know.
  • Do not take public transport if you are unwell, awaiting test results, or if you need to self-isolate.

Taxi and ride-sharing services

All Auckland taxi and ride-share drivers are also required to wear face coverings. While it is not compulsory for passengers on Auckland taxis or ride-shares, it is strongly encouraged to don face coverings.

Please observe the following guidelines when traveling by taxi or ride-share:

  • Refrain from traveling when sick. Stay at home. 
  • Wash your hands before and after traveling.
  • Keep a record of which service you traveled with and when. 
  • Other passengers in your taxi or ride-share can only belong to people you know, for example, friends and family.
  • Minimize the number of stops on the way to your destination.

Walking, cycling, and active transport

Walking, cycling, and other forms of active transport are allowed. Keep a two-meter distance from all pedestrians as an increase in traffic is expected.

Private vehicles

Commuting in private vehicles is allowed.

Regional travel

Domestic flights

Face coverings must be worn when onboard all domestic flights.

While regional travel is still allowed from Auckland, the government advises travelers traveling to an Alert 1 region to take regulations from Alert 2 along. This means that Alert 2 regulations such as avoiding large crowds and staying home when one is sick still comply. Comply to all airline regulations and track your journey as much as possible.

Do not travel when:

  • You have a cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms 
  • You are awaiting a COVID-19 test 
  • You need to self-isolate

Cook Strait Ferries

Maintain physical distancing and comply with all instructions when onboard the Cook Strait Ferries. 

The rest of New Zealand 

Apart from the Auckland region, the rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1.

Leaving your house

At Alert Level 1, you may leave your house or gather with as many people as you like. Keep track of who you come into contact with.

If you are sick:

  • Stay at home
  • Get tested or contact your doctor if you are experiencing cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms.

Local travel 

Public transport

Though not mandatory, wearing face coverings is encouraged on all public transport or when you cannot maintain physical distance.

Regional travel

Domestic flights

Face coverings must be worn when onboard all domestic flights regardless of alert level. This does not include private flights.

Do not travel when:

  • You have a cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms 
  • You are awaiting a COVID-19 test 
  • You need to self-isolate

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information related to COVID-19 restrictions on the New Zealand government website.

Know of more protocols that answer the question “is it safe to travel within New Zealand?” Share them with us. Traveling elsewhere? Remember to bookmark our handy resource, The Ultimate Guide to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, to remain up-to-date with regulations around the world.

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