Mass Gathering Guidance

Guidance on mass gatherings for the sport and recreation sector.

The Golden Rules for everyone at Alert Level 2

Do everything you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

  • COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
  • Keep your distance from other people in public.
  • If you’re sick, stay home.
  • If you have symptoms of cold or flu call your doctor or Healthline and get tested.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, regularly disinfect surfaces.
  • If you have been told to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
  • Keep a track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.

High level public guidance about gatherings

As we have seen in New Zealand, and around the world, gatherings present a very high risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Gatherings are allowed at Alert Level 2, but there are limits on the number of people, and there are several measures that people should take to keep everyone safe. The most important measure is to prevent mingling and close contact between people who don’t know each other.


What is a gathering?

A gathering is a group of people who are intermingling, and includes both public and private activities, but does not include activities where people remain 2 metres apart (e.g. people at a playground or park) or activities undertaken on a business premises or educational facility. Gatherings include parties, weddings, funerals, tangihanga, religious celebrations, or spectators watching sports or music events (this isn’t an exhaustive list).

Gatherings are not: offices or work sites (including professional sports, gyms), supermarkets, educational facilities, retail stores, cafes, bars or restaurants, public transport, hospitals, prisons, or malls (all of whom have their own measures in place to prevent transmission). Gatherings are not people going to a public venue like a swimming pool, or going to a park or a beach for a walk where other people are present.

For indoor venues like a shopping mall, or swimming pool there are guidelines for operating safely.

There are two types of gatherings relevant to sport and recreation:

  • Gatherings of friends and whānau – where everyone knows each other
  • Lower-risk gatherings – where not everyone knows each other and therefore someone keeps records to enable contact tracing

Events held outside your home

The organiser of a gathering at a public or private venue is responsible for making sure that the following measures are met:

  • If physical distancing of 2m is not possible there are no more than 10 people in a group and that separate groups do not mix
  • If a lower-risk gathering, a record of attendees and their contact details is kept for the purposes of contact tracing

The organiser of a gathering should ensure:

  • People with cold and flu symptoms do not attendSurfaces are wiped down regularly with disinfectant
  • Facilities for regular and thorough hand washing with soap and water and drying, or hand sanitiser are provided

High level guidance for sport and active recreation
  • Gatherings must be restricted to a maximum of 10 people initially (both indoor and outdoor facilities). For non-professional sport and recreation, a gathering includes anyone who cannot keep 2m physical distance for example players, officials and support staff. In an enclosed space this may also include spectators. The 10 person limit will be reviewed on 25 May 2020.
  • Gathering restrictions do not apply to workplaces including professional sports, studios and gyms. These are considered to be controlled workplaces and must have a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan in place.
  • All indoor and outdoor facilities will need to restrict entry to a maximum of 10 people per group (either a gathering of friends and family or a lower-risk gathering). More than one group of 10 can be active at the same time but the 2 metre physical distancing is a requirement between groups.
  • Care must be taken to avoid more than 10 people congregating at communal points such as entries and car parks, and to maintain physical distancing of 2 metres between groups.
  • Phasing of activities is recommended to allow time for people to pass through these areas safely. For example, where there are multiple groups conducting activities, these should be scheduled to start and end at different times, and enough time should be allowed between activities to allow the previous group to have passed through common areas (and where necessary hygiene and sanitation of equipment completed) before the next session commences.
  • It is recommended that team sports should look to mirror the phased approach to level 2 by commencing training and limited format training games initially. This should also decrease the number of sport related injuries at start up. It is expected that competitive team sport should be able to recommence soon.
  • Spectators should be limited, or asked not to attend for now to allow organisers to focus on players, officials and support staff. In order to know who attended it is recommended that spectators be asked to register in advance. Spectators should be physically distanced through seating allocation or marking out of standing areas.

Further guidance for outdoor sporting venues
  • For sports or recreational activities that take place outdoors in a large open area with multiple fields or courts, the requirements on the numbers of people apply to a single field or court, so long as this is managed in accordance with other public health guidelines and the attendees at one gathering do not mingle or interact with those from another gathering. For example, where team numbers exceed 10, a team can train in groups of 10 or smaller, as long as the groups are physically distanced from each other and do not mingle. If groups are rotating between activities, care should be taken to clean any equipment or high touch surface areas between use by different groups. There is no cap on the total number of people allowed to be present, as long as gathering groups can be kept physically distanced and other public health measures managed safely.
  • For large areas such as golf courses or ski fields, individual groups (of no more than 10 people) engaging in activities should keep physically distanced from each other. Careful measures will be necessary to maintain physical distancing between groups while indoors for example in clubhouses or cafeterias.
  • Areas for spectators should be clearly marked out for each court/area to prevent mingling with other groups in the same facility.
  • Outdoors, and where they can be kept at 2m distance, spectators are not considered to be a gathering. For example, if a group of 10 is training in a park and a passer by stops to spectate but keeps a 2m distance from the group, the organiser is not required to obtain their contact details.
  • It is recommended that a registration point or points should be set up and clearly marked at the venue. This is especially important for large sports fields where there are multiple entry points and fields of play.