Coronavirus: Here's the list of all 'essential' services that can stay open

Publish Date
Tuesday, 24 March 2020, 12:42PM

The Government has released a list of what is considered to be an essential business and, therefore, exempt from the level four lockdown.

The list, on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's website, goes into much more detail about who is exempt from the lockdown, beginning at 11:59 tomorrow night.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) deputy chief executive Paul Stocks essential businesses are those that support people and provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand.

This means food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support will continue to be available, MBIE said.

Non-essential businesses that flout the lockdown rules and remain open will be fined and shut down immediately, authorities warn.

Up to 15 sectors of society have been identified as being essential services; including supermarkets, pharmacies and banks.

Self-service laundry facilities and dairies will also remain open - on a "one in, one out" basis and the 2m distance rule to be adhered to at all times.

Liquor stores in New Zealand have to close unless they are in licensing trust areas, where there is nowhere else to buy alcohol.

Bunnings, Placemakers and Mitre 10 can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only, not to the public.

Most food delivery services - including Uber Eats and Delivery Easy - will shut.

Delivery of food that is not pre-cooked will be allowed under strict health conditions.

Stocks confirmed that smaller shops - including fruit and vegetable store operators - would be closed during the month-long lockdown.

Butchers were also not considered an essential service and would be closing their doors after today too.

The Warehouse will shut its doors during the lockdown period - despite initial reports that it was to remain open because it was considered to be an essential service.

Stocks acknowledged, however, that some areas where supermarkets or shops were limited would be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

"If you are part of the supply chain...then yes, you are an essential service.

"We want to make sure everyone has access to food."

Cookie franchise CookieTime has said it would remain open for business, saying it was an essential service in terms of food delivery to New Zealanders.

Farmers will be closed during the lockdown period, except for the online store.

No online purchases, however, would be delivered until the four-week lockdown ended.

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The list may, however, evolve over time.

These businesses will continue working but will put in place alternative ways of working to keep employees safe, including shift-based working, staggered meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements and physical distancing.

People are being encouraged to check in on the dedicated Covid-19 website for more information and an 0800 number is due to be set up for businesses to call.

However, officials yesterday said that if you are unsure that you are an essential business, then you probably are not one.

What are essential businesses?


• Any entity that provides accommodation services for essential workers, isolation/quarantine, and emergency housing


• Customs New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries

Building and construction:

• Any entity involved in building and construction related to essential services and critical infrastructure

• Any entity involved in building and construction required immediately to maintain human health and safety at home or work

• Any entity that performs or is involved in building and resource consenting necessary for the above purposes

Courts, tribunals and the justice system:

• Courts of New Zealand and tribunals

• Critical Crown entities (eg Electoral Commission)

Fast-moving consumer goods:

• Any entity involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods essential for maintaining the wellbeing of people, but not takeaway shops

At level 3 only:

• Any person employed or contracted as teaching, nursery and childcare staff, including specialist education professionals and others who provide support (eg to disabled children)

• Any person employed by or contracted to an educational facility

• Any entity supplying educational facilities or educational materials (eg printers)

Financial services:

• Banks, insurers and other financial institutions, including any entity that contracts or provides services to them (eg secure money delivery services)

• Securities registries



• District Health Boards (and all of their facilities), Pharmac, New Zealand Blood Service, Health Promotion Agency, Health Quality and Safety Commission

• Any person employed or contracted as a doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, paramedic, medical laboratory scientists, kaiāwhina workers, social workers, aged care and community workers, and caregivers more generally

• Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities (eg rest homes)

• Any entity providing ambulance services

• Any entity producing health sector equipment, medicines and PPE

• Any entity involved with the deceased/tūpāpaku (eg funeral homes, crematories, cemeteries)

Local and national government:

• Any entity involved in Covid-19 response, enforcement, planning or logistics or that has civil defence/emergency management functions (including any entity that supplies services for these purposes)

• Key public services

Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing:

• Any entity involved in the packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products, whether for domestic consumption or export

• Any entity involved in relevant support services, such as food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions

• Any entity providing veterinary services

• Any entity whose closure would jeopardise the maintenance of animal health or welfare standards (including the short-term survival of a species)

Public safety and national security:

• The Department of Corrections, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, Government Communications Security Bureau

• Courts of New Zealand

• Any person employed or contracted in a public safety or national security role


• ESR, GNS, GeoNet, NIWA, MetService

• Any entity (including research organisations) involved in Covid-19 response

• Any entity (including research organisations) involved in hazard monitoring and resilience

• Any entity (including research organisations) involved in diagnostics for essential services like biosecurity, public health

• Laboratories and Physical Containment level 3 (PC3) facilities that could provide essential services and products that could be used to respond to Covid-19

• Other significant research facilities including animal facilities, clinical trials and infrastructure that requires constant attention (eg samples, collections and storage facilities) that are important to New Zealand

Social services:

• Those entities, including non-government organisations, that provide welfare and social services to meet immediate needs, to be specified jointly by the Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki

Transport and logistics:

• Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Customs, New Zealand Transport Agency, Civil Aviation Authority (including Aviation Security Service), Maritime New Zealand (including the Rescue Coordination Centre), Airways NZ, MetService, KiwiRail (including Interislander), and any entity which is contracted by these entities

• Any entity that provides, or is contracted to an entity that provides, logistics services, including New Zealand Post and courier services

• Any entity providing, or is contracted by an entity that provides, transport services to the Ministry of Health, a District Health Board, a Medical Officer of Health, or a Controller (as defined in section 4 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002)

• Any entity which provides services related to the maintenance and ongoing operation of critical infrastructure (eg roads, rail, ports, airports)

• Any entity which operates or is contracted by an entity listed in Schedule 1 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002, an aerodrome, a passenger and/or freight aviation service, a passenger and/or freight shipping service, a road freight service, a rail freight service, a vehicle recovery service; or a public transport service (under contract with a regional council)

• Any small passenger service vehicle driver (who holds the relevant licence)

• Any entity providing services to keep vehicles operational for essential work purposes (eg vehicle testing, mechanics, tyre services)

Utilities and communications, including supply chains:

• Any entity involved in the production, supply, sale, distribution or disposal of electricity, gas, water, wastewater (eg sanitation), waste (eg rubbish collection), fuel, telecommunication services, and any entity that is contracted by these entities

• News (including news production) and broadcast media

• Internet service providers

• Any entity that provides maintenance and repair services for utilities and communications, including supply chains

• Any entity supplying services to an essential workplace that are required for the safe operation of that workplace (eg cleaning, security services)


This article was originally posted by NZ Herald and reproduced here with permission.