Play, active recreation and sport at Alert Level 1

Your Alert Level will depend on where you are in New Zealand.

The current Alert Level for your region can be found at https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19/restrictions/current-alert-level/

Alert Level 1 - prepare

Under Alert Level 1 the disease is contained in New Zealand, but COVID-19 is uncontrolled overseas and there is isolated household transmission occurring.

The main controls under Alert Level 1 are border restrictions and managed isolation or quarantine for people entering the country.

Sport, active recreation and play under Alert Level 1 looks like much like it did pre-COVID-19, with border restrictions. There are no restrictions on businesses and services (including hospitality), no restrictions on gathering, no requirements for physical distancing, although all businesses and services must display a QR code for contact tracing purposes.


While none of the public health requirements are mandatory – it is important to remain vigilant and continue to practice good hygiene to minimise the risk of community transmission. In Alert Level 1 we should be vigilant in maintaining these good practices so that we are prepared to quickly move into higher alert levels if we need to.

Public health measures and the ‘10 Golden Rules’

  1. If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work, school or socialise.
  2. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, call your doctor or healthline. Get tested.
  3. Wash your hands.
  4. Sneeze or cough into your elbow and regularly clean shared surfaces.
  5. You must self-isolate if you’re told by officials to do so.
  6. Stay healthy, work with your GP if you have underlying health issues.
  7. Keep track of where you’ve been.
  8. Businesses help people track movements by displaying the QR code.
  9. Stay vigilant.
  10. Be kind to others and be kind to yourself.

Border restrictions at Alert Level 1

Managing the arrival of people into New Zealand remains a fundamental plank of NZ’s COVID-19 response at Alert Level 1. Requiring managed isolation for all new arrivals and quarantine for all active cases is critical. Cabinet considering further advice on border restrictions.

Contact tracing

The capacity to undertake rapid contract tracing is critical to enable quickly getting on top of and suppressing any future outbreak. At Alert Level 1, record keeping to enable contact tracing is not a requirement. However businesses and services must display a QR code and individuals are encouraged to use the QR code in tracking their movements.

Responsibility is on the individual to maintain a record of where they have been and who they have been in contact with to enable rapid contact tracing in the event they have contact with an active case. Sport, active recreation and play providers do not have to maintain a register of participants, but it is mandatory to display a QR code.

Large gatherings

Large events such as sports games or tournaments are able to go ahead. If outbreaks of COVID-19 occur in New Zealand, controls on gatherings could be one of the first responses, as we attempt to manage the risk without the need to revert to a higher overall alert level. So, organisers should be aware they may be asked to postpone or cancel gatherings under the circumstance that a significant outbreak has occurred or if case numbers increase. Event organisers should follow the COVID Code to enable rapid contact tracing and good hygiene practices.

Alert Level 1

Considerations that apply to all of Play, Active Recreation and Sport

If unwell

If you’re unwell you should stay home – don’t go to the gym or to the park to play. You should not participate in physical activity (or leave home) if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, awaiting a test, or required to self-isolate.

Cleaning and hygiene

You should continue basic hygiene measures, like regularly washing and drying your hands with soap and coughing and sneezing into your elbow. Facility providers should continue to regularly clean shared surfaces and to provide hand washing or sanitising facilities. However, there is no requirement to deep clean or sanitise equipment between uses.

Contact tracing

You should continue to keep track of where you have been exercising and who you were with. Facilities and event organisers should continue to enable contact tracing by displaying their QR codes and signage.

Physical distancing

While physical distancing is not required you should still consider distancing yourself from people you don’t know if you can.

Risky activities

While there is no limit to, or on the activities you can undertake, it is important to remember to do so safely. For example, if you’re heading out onto the water, be responsible and follow Maritime NZ guidance.

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