Play, Active Recreation and Sport at Alert Level 2

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 2 - Reduce

At Alert Level 2, you can do your usual sport and recreation activities if you can do them safely. But if you are sick, stay home. When exercising, keep a 2 metre distance from people you do not know.

You can do activities like:

  • walking, cycling and hunting, including on public conservation land — overnight trips are okay
  • swimming at a public swimming pool, but there will be restrictions
  • going to the gym, but there will be restrictions
  • boating and motorised watersports.

Subject to the range of public health measures outlined below, play, active recreation and sport can take place under Alert Level 2 within the limits of gatherings (100 for both indoors and outdoors). This includes contact team sports and physical activities as long as contact tracing arrangements and good hygiene measures are in place, particularly washing and drying of hands with soap, and regular cleaning of equipment and surfaces are in place. There is also now a legal requirement to keep a record of those who attend certain facilities such as indoor public facilities (e.g. swimming pools, recreation centres etc.) and exercise facilities (e.g. gyms, sports venues, yoga studios etc.) through the COVID Tracer App or an alternative means​.

Indoor sport and recreation facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, dance studios and health clubs can open, but with extra safety measures. You will need to keep 2 metres apart from others and facilities may need to restrict numbers to help with physical distancing. It is recommended that you wear a mask at indoor sports facilities apart from when you are exercising or playing sports.

Public health measures

  • At Alert Level 2, you can leave home, but you must follow public health measures and consider others around you.

Contact tracing and mandatory record keeping

  • It is mandatory for any business or service to display a QR code for the NZ COVID Tracer app prominently at the main entry point of their building. Further information on the QR code and how to get one can be found here.

  • There is also now a legal requirement to keep a record of all those aged 12 and above who attend certain facilities such as indoor public facilities (e.g. swimming pools, recreation centres etc.) and exercise facilities (e.g. gyms, sports venues, yoga studios etc.) through the COVID Tracer App or an alternative means. It is also recommended that QR code scanning and record keeping is undertaken in other places where people gather such as changing rooms. More information about these requirements can be found here.

Gatherings, events and public venues

Community sports are limited to groups of 100 in a defined space indoors or outdoors (as a single group – different people cannot come and go under these group limits). These group limits include all players and spectators (but not referees and officials). A sports venue can have multiple defined spaces by keeping:

  • people in separate groups of up to 100
  • measures to keep the groups separate such as separate entrances/exits if possible, temporary or permanent walls between groups, and separate airflow for each group for indoor facilities.

These groups must not mingle or share common facilities at the same time.

For elite, professional and semi-professional sport, players are considered employees in a workplace and are not subject to gathering rules, but spectators are considered a gathering and must obey the gathering rules.

Indoor sport and recreation facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, dance studios and health clubs can open, but with extra safety measures. You will need to keep 2 metres apart from others and facilities may need to restrict numbers to help with physical distancing.

A person in charge of a social gathering must ensure records are kept for contact tracing purposes, except where every person in a gathering knows, and can identify for the purposes of contact tracing, every other person who is a participant in the social gathering. This includes in your home, community hall or other space.

You must not participate in any gatherings if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you need to be in isolation for any reason.

Physical distancing

Keep your distance when out and about and stay 2 metres away from others you don’t know, both indoors and outdoors.

It is recognised that contact during physical activity will occur but this should be minimised as much as possible, especially off the field of play.

Face coverings

At Alert Level 2 the risk of COVID-19 being present in the community is higher. It is recommended that you wear face coverings when you are indoors at sport and recreation facilities such as gyms, dance studios and health clubs apart from when you are exercising or playing sports. It is recommended that all customer-facing staff at indoor sport and recreation facilities wear a face covering while serving customers. More information about the rules applying to face coverings can be found here.

Cleaning and hygiene

Surfaces and equipment should be regularly cleaned and disinfected where practicable.

Good personal hygiene practices should continue – wash and dry your hands before and after activities, cough into your elbow and don’t touch your face.

General guidance

Stay home if you’re sick and do not take part in sport or recreation. If you have flu like symptoms, self-isolate at home and get tested immediately.

People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (particularly older people and those with existing medical conditions) should take additional precautions when undertaking physical activity. More information can be found here.

Business premises (e.g. cafés/bars in club rooms, or pro shops) can be open for staff and customers provided that they meet the relevant workplace requirements.

What does this mean for play, active recreation and sport generally?

Alert Level 2 allows for opportunities to engage in play and active recreation and allows for competitive sport at a local level, if the public health measures outlined above are implemented to create a safe environment. It is essential to make sure all the protocols are in place before undertaking activity and ensure that everyone in your club or organisation is on the same page. Please work closely with your regional and/or national organisation to get advice on how to make your activity safe.

Personal hygiene is a key public health measure that will reduce the risk of transmission of the virus through physical activity. Each participant should wash their hands with soap and dry them before and after play or use hand sanitiser if this is not possible. There will also need to be regular sanitation of shared equipment. In addition to practicing good hygiene, the ability to record participants to aid contact tracing is very important. It is now mandatory to keep a record of those who attend certain facilities such as indoor sport and recreation facilities through the COVID Tracer App or an alternative means. More information about these requirements can be found here.

Playgrounds, gyms, pools and public courts will be able to open, subject to meeting the above public health measures. Public conservation land is open to the public for walking, biking, and hunting but there are guidelines on the use of DOC huts and campgrounds. Check that where you want to go is open before setting off – you may need to book in advance.

During Alert Level 2 there may be some refinements to the public health measures. Any implications for play, active recreation and sport as a consequence of changes to the government’s expectations and measures will result in these guidelines being updated and reissued.

  • All of Play, Active Recreation and Sport

    Alert Level 2

    Contact Tracing and Mandatory Record Keeping

    Contact tracing and record keeping for all participants and spectators aged 12 and above is now mandatory for certain indoor facilities (e.g. swimming pools, recreation centres, gyms, clubrooms, yoga studios etc). All facilities and organisations must also display the NZ COVID Tracer QR code at every entry point to allow people to track their own movements.

    Cleaning and hygiene

    You must adhere to basic hygiene measures, including washing and drying hands with soap before and after any activity. Also exercise caution with common touch points (e.g. gates or doors) and wash or sanitise your hands after touching these surfaces.

    Facilities must have a written plan for safe operation in place. Sanitation measures can be found here. Facilities, water, soap and towels/drier should be made available for participants to wash and dry their hands or hand sanitiser (containing at least 60% alcohol).

    Gatherings

    Gatherings must be limited to a maximum of 100 people indoors or outdoors (as a single group - different people cannot come and go under these limits).

    If unwell

    If you or members of your household are unwell, you should stay home.

    You should not participate in physical activity (or leave home) if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, awaiting a test result, or required to self-isolate.

    Physical distancing

    You should stay 2m apart from people you don’t know (e.g. outside of direct friends and family).

    You should wear face coverings in situations where physical distancing is not possible.

    Risky activities

    Activities should only be completed within your confidence and skill level to continue to reduce the need for emergency services assistance.

     

    Scenarios at Level 2

    Contact Tracing and Mandatory Record Keeping

    All events and facilities must have a contact tracing register, either paper based, an electronic system or an online registration system, and all participants and spectators aged 12 and above must complete it.

    You must also display the NZ COVID Tracer QR code to allow people to track their own movements.

    The register should be accessible to the Ministry of Health for contact tracing purposes at all times for up to 2 months after the contact took place. This process should be detailed in your organisation’s WorkSafe plan. You may need to consider restricting the number of spectators or asking people to register in advance.

    Cleaning and hygiene

    All participants should wash and dry their hands before and after partaking in any play, active recreation or sport. Ideally, they should be advised of this in advance of attending to allow time for this to happen safely.

    Measures should be taken to minimise the sharing of equipment if possible. Equipment must be washed and dried before and after use. For example, balls washed before and after each game.

    Gatherings

    Community sports games at both indoor and outdoor sports facilities are subject to gatherings requirements (groups of 100 indoors or outdoors). These group limits include all players, substitutes and spectators (but not referees and officials). Multiple gatherings can take place at the same event or facility, as long as they can be kept separate (i.e. are physically separated by walls with separate airflows for indoor spaces). Phasing of activities could be used to allow time for people to pass through communal areas safely. For smaller venues a reduced capacity may be more appropriate to maintain 2m physical distancing.

    Physical distancing

    Physical distancing remains important, when people are interacting with people they don’t know and that wouldn’t be able to be easily traced. For example, while mountain biking, avoid gathering at trail heads or sections of the trail where physical distancing will be difficult.

  • Play

    e.g. playing in homes, neighbourhoods and playgrounds

    Alert Level 2

    Public and school playgrounds are able to open and families can get together for their children to play.

    You can drive to play in a public space, for example a beach or a park.

    Physical Distancing

    People are encouraged to remain 2 metres apart from people they don’t know (e.g. outside of direct friends and family).

    Scenarios at Level 2

    Cleaning and Hygiene

    You should wash and dry your hands or use hand sanitiser before and after using play equipment.

    You should also try not to touch your face, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and if you have cold or flu symptoms to stay off the equipment.

    Physical Distancing

    You should, where possible, keep physical distance of 2 metre from people that you don’t know and wouldn’t be able to trace.

  • Active Recreation

    e.g. walking or going to the gym

    Alert Level 2

    Contact Tracing and Mandatory Record Keeping

    Contact tracing and record keeping for all participants and spectators aged 12 and above is now mandatory for certain indoor facilities (e.g. swimming pools, recreation centres, gyms, yoga studios etc). All facilities and organisations must also display the NZ COVID Tracer QR code at every entry point to allow people to track their own movements.

    Cleaning and Hygiene

    Measures should be taken to minimise the sharing of equipment/ balls. However, for activities where equipment must be shared, ensure that all participants wash and dry their hands before and afterwards, and where possible clean and disinfect the equipment before and after use.

    Also exercise caution with common touch points (e.g. gates or doors) and wash or sanitise your hands after touching these surfaces.

    Facilities, water, soap and towels/drier should be available (where practicable) for participants to wash and dry their hands or hand sanitiser (containing at least 60% alcohol) must be provided.

    If unwell

    If you or members of your household are unwell, you must stay at home.

    You should not be participating in physical activity (or leaving home) if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, awaiting a test, or required to self-isolate.

    Physical Distancing

    You should try as much as possible to maintain 2m physical distancing from people that you don’t know (e.g. outside of direct friends and family) while exercising and recreating.

    Risky activities

    Activities should only be completed within your confidence and skill level to continue to reduce the need for emergency services assistance.

    Activities previously not allowed at higher Alert Levels

    'Backcountry activities’ such as hunting, tramping, ski touring, rockclimbing and mountaineering are allowed at Level 2 and overnight trips are permitted, although these should still be easy trips within your ability and to places you’ve been before. The Department of Conservation has further advice on specific public health measures to take and the availability of their facilities. More information can be found here.

     

    Scenarios at Level 2

    Contact Tracing and Mandatory Record Keeping

    When exercising take a note of where you have been. For example, make a note of the route you ran and when. If visiting a public facility (e.g. a gym or swimming pool) you must sign in via the COVID Tracer App or complete their contact register.

    If going on a ‘pack’ run or cycle ride, someone in the group needs to record the names of the participants.

    Cleaning and Hygiene

    Where possible equipment should be cleaned before and after each use, for example gym users should wipe down and clean equipment between each use.

    For recreation activities where equipment is unable to be sanitised, for example ropes, a withholding period could be considered to allow any virus particles on these surfaces to die.

    Gatherings

    Active recreation activities at public recreation facilities (excluding swimming pools) are subject to gatherings requirements (i.e. groups of 100 indoors or outdoors).

    Multiple gatherings can take place at the same event or facility, as long as they can be kept separate (e.g. use separate entries/exits if possible, do not share facilities and are separated by walls with separate airflows for each space). Phasing of activities could be used to allow time for people to pass through communal areas safely. For smaller venues a reduced capacity may be more appropriate to maintain physical distancing.

    Physical Distancing

    Try to maintain 2m physical distancing e.g. when running make sure to run single file when approaching others and give them a wide berth when passing or. Face to face coaching can take place (e.g. personal training, swim coaching etc) but try and keep your distance where possible (e.g. if sharing a swim lane then avoid resting at the same time at the same end).

    Risky Activities

    Activities should still be well within your confidence and skill level to reduce the likelihood of needing emergency services. For example, only go mountain biking on known trails within your ability level and when tramping stay on clearly defined and marked tracks when in the back country.

    Indoor swimming pools, gyms and any other businesses in which their customers and clients are members

    • Although there are no limits on the number of people at these facilities, physical distancing of 2m is required (except for learn to swim classes).
    • Face coverings are not required but are recommended at these facilities, including for workers.
    • For swimming pools, physical distancing requirements do not apply to learn to swim classes. Other swimmers should however follow the 2m physical distancing rules.

  • Sport

    e.g. team sport

    Contact sport – is an activity, particularly a team activity, in which by participating you are coming into close contact to others as part of competing or taking part in that activity – for example, physical contact sports like rugby and wrestling, sport where there is close contact like football, squash, basketball, hockey, netball or a rowing crew (in which case also refer to guidance for Water-based Activities below).

    Non-contact sports – are activities in which you can comfortably avoid coming closer than 2 metres to others as part of participating in that activity – for example, running, cycling, golf or bowls.

    Alert Level 2

    All facilities should practice sanitation measures, and must record contact tracing details. Facilities with employees must have a WorkSafe plan in place. Facilities must also display the NZ COVID tracer QR code at every entry point.

    Contact Tracing and Mandatory Record Keeping

    Contact tracing and record keeping for all participants and spectators aged 12 and above is now mandatory for certain indoor facilities (e.g. swimming pools, recreation centres, clubrooms, gyms etc). All facilities and organisations must also display the NZ COVID Tracer QR code at every entry point to allow people to track their own movements.

    Gatherings

    All facilities must adhere to conditions regarding gatherings (group limits of 100 indoors or outdoors) as single groups – different people cannot come and go under these group limits).

    Cleaning and Hygiene

    Participants should wash and dry their hands before and after playing; equipment should be washed and dried before and after playing.

    Measures should be taken to minimise the sharing of equipment/balls/uniforms. However, for sports or activities where equipment must be shared ensure that all participants wash and dry their hands before and afterwards, and clean and disinfect the equipment before
    and afterwards.

    Also exercise caution with common touch points (e.g. gates or doors) and wash or sanitise your hands after touching these surfaces.

    If unwell

    No one should be participating (or leaving home) if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, awaiting a test, or if required to self-isolate.

    Physical Distancing

    People may participate in team sports and physical activities, provided the gathering requirements are met (i.e. groups of 100 indoors or outdoors) and all other public hygiene measures along with contact tracing are in place.

    Participants should maintain physical distancing when not participating in the sport or activity.

     

    Scenarios at Level 2

    Contact Tracing and Mandatory Record Keeping

    The NZ COVID tracer QR code and contact tracing register must be in place and it must be quickly accessible if needed by public health authorities.

    Particular care should be taken to record the details of any spectators at a game.

    Cleaning and Hygiene

    Make sure that participants wash and dry their hands before and after playing.

    Facilities, water, soap and towels/drier should be available for participants to wash and dry their hands. If that’s not possible you must provide hand sanitiser (containing at least 60% alcohol).

    Make sure the equipment is washed and dried before and after games.

    For example, equipment that is shared by people but at different times (e.g. a club kayak) should be cleaned before and after each use.

    Gatherings

    Community sports games where there is contact between players are subject to gatherings requirements (i.e. groups of 100 indoors or outdoors). These group limits include all players and spectators (but not referees and officials). Multiple gatherings can take place at the same event or facility as long as they can be kept separate (e.g. use separate entries/exits if possible, do not share facilities and are separated by walls with separate airflows). Phasing of activities could be used to allow time for people to pass through communal areas safely. For smaller venues a reduced capacity may be more appropriate to maintain 2m physical distancing. Sports clubs should follow public health guidelines on physical distancing and personal hygiene.

    If you are having club events, consider limiting numbers to ensure 2m physical distancing can take place, take extra care on cleaning surfaces and when preparing food to minimise risks. Now is not the time to have a large club prizegiving or event. Think about keeping things simple.

    Physical Distancing

    Think about modifications that can be made to your game to minimise the amount of contact between players.

    Participants should try to maintain physical distancing before and after the game, and in changing rooms or in clubrooms.

    Face coverings

    Face coverings do not need to be worn when playing sport but are recommended before and after at indoor facilities.

  • Water-based Activities

    e.g. swimming, kayaking, surfing

    Alert Level 2

    All recreational boating and water-based activities, including motorised activities, are permitted.

    Physical Distancing

    Participants should try to keep to the physical distancing requirements as much as practicable.

    Cleaning and Hygiene

    Measures should be taken to minimise the sharing of equipment. However, for sports or activities where equipment must be shared take all reasonably practical steps to ensure participants minimised sharing equipment as much as possible, ensure that all participants wash and dry their hands before and afterwards, or use hand sanitiser, and if possible clean and disinfect the equipment before and afterwards.

    Also exercise caution with common touch points (e.g. gates or doors) and wash or sanitise your hands after touching these surfaces.

    Risky activities

    Activities should only be completed within your confidence and skill level to continue to reduce the need for emergency services assistance.

     

    Scenarios at Level 2

    Cleaning and Hygiene

    Ensure that club boats are cleaned before and after each use and any shared equipment, like life jackets, is disinfected. Where equipment is unable to be sanitised, for example ropes, a withholding period could be considered to allow any virus particles on these surfaces to die.

    Risky activities

    Be responsible and follow Maritime NZ guidance (https://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/recreational/).

  • Commercial

    e.g. sports who sell merchandise or run bar/café facilities

    All venues and sporting facilities, including clubrooms and gyms, are able to open but must have safety measures in place such as the 2m physical distancing rule for customers.

    All venues must have a WorkSafe plan in place for safe operation. Retail and hospitality operations must meet the public health guidelines for these operations. Business premises can open for staff and customers.

    Services can also be provided on customers’ premises (e.g. coaching or personal training). These businesses must operate safely. This means:

    • Complying with mandatory contact tracing and record keeping for all participants and spectators
    • Complying with general Alert Level 2 settings
    • Meeting appropriate public health requirements for their workplace
    • Fulfilling all other health and safety obligations.
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