Last updated: 15 February 2021
When one part of New Zealand is in COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and a neighbouring region is in Alert Level 2, travel between these areas is heavily restricted to stop the spread of the virus. Non-essential travel increases the risk of the virus being transmitted and the restrictions in place being extended.
At Alert Level 3, work should be done remotely where possible. Businesses are encouraged to use alternative methods to carry out their work at this level.
Where working remotely is not possible, building and construction work can continue, with appropriate health and safety measures and physical distancing measures in place for workers.
While building and construction work can continue during Alert Level 3 with appropriate health and safety guidelines, travel between different alert levels is heavily restricted. This means workers can continue to work within the Alert Level area they reside in, however there are very few instances where travel between two different alert levels is permitted.
If you wish to travel between two different Alert Level areas for building or construction purposes, you will need to have proof that you either fit into a permitted activity or have a specific exemption to travel.
In order to support businesses with supplying evidence that their travel is essential, MBIE has developed a Business Travel Register, which enables businesses and organisations to request permission for travel across Alert Level boundaries.
Business Travel Register
The Business Travel Register has been designed to enable businesses to register for Business Travel Documents to support easier travel across an Alert Level cordon. The Business Travel Document enables Police to verify the document digitally against the Register through a QR code.
For building and construction, permitted activities to travel through a cordon have included:
- Building, construction, and maintenance services for key infrastructure (that provides for the current needs of people and communities, or to support the COVID-19 response).
- Any building, construction and maintenance services required to address immediate risks to health and safety.
- Building, construction and maintenance services required for road and rail networks.
- Building, construction, and maintenance services for other infrastructure whose operations, if interrupted, would be seriously impacted.
Key/critical infrastructure refers to electricity, gas, water, wastewater, waste, liquid or solid fuels and telecommunications.
|Key Infrastructure||Examples of permitted activities||Examples of non-permitted activities|
|Water||Continued construction of upgrades to drinking water supply.||Installation of pipes for residential new build.|
|Wastewater||Work related to new or existing wastewater tunnels.||New toilet installation when an existing one is operational.|
|Gas||Construction, repair or maintenance of gas distribution pipes.||Upgrading an existing and functioning gas heating system.|
|Electricity||Repair or maintenance of traffic lights.||Providing electrical connections for household dishwashers, sound systems.|
Immediate risks to health and safety means you believe death or harm will occur within the timeframe of the current order and that the required action cannot be delayed during the current alert level period.
|Immediate risk to Health and Safety||Non-urgent activities|
|The repair of building elements that effect the security of an inhabited building such as broken windows, external doors, window frames.||Installing interior linings.|
|Secure materials and/or worksite that if left unsecured could result in harm.||Pouring a concrete slab.|
|Ongoing maintenance and inspections of erected scaffolding to ensure scaffolding is safe and fit for continued use.||Upgrading an existing and functioning gas heating system.|
|The repair or replacement of security alarms.||Providing electrical connections for household dishwashers, sound systems.|
|The repair or replacement of electrical installations or equipment that provide heating and hot water.||Routine servicing of non-essential equipment or infrastructure.|
|Removal of person stuck in an elevator.||Fixing a non-moving escalator that can still be used.|
If your business travel is for one of the above permitted activities we also recommend that you apply through the Business Travel Register for a Business Travel Document, so that your travel through the cordon is quicker and easier.
Business Travel Exemptions
If your business travel is not for one of the above permitted activities you will need to apply for an exemption through the Business Travel Register and obtain a Business Travel Document. Requests for an exemption need to meet a high threshold and be fully justifiable.
When applying for travel through the Business Travel Register, please ensure that you include enough detail to warrant your need to travel. All applications should include;
- what the project/key infrastructure is and the work you and/or your workers will be doing
- details regarding why this work cannot be delayed or done by someone within the alert level area
- details on what the immediate risks to health and safety are, or what service/maintenance is required for the key/critical infrastructure.
Applications for an exemption are considered on a case by case basis and are approved by the Director-General of Health. We will publish more information on this when Alert Levels change.
Where travel is required only in the event of an emergency or to carry out urgent repairs, an application can be completed and the Business Travel Document will be issued with conditions advising that travel is permitted with verification of the urgent work item.
If the Alert Level is raised, we strongly encourage businesses to use remote working options wherever possible or find alternate providers within your area.
More information about travelling across COVID-19 Alert Level boundaries - business.govt.nz
Please note: these travel exemptions are for business travel only.