Covid-19 three-day lockdown: What travellers need to know

Flights and some ferry services could be cancelled in the wake of New Zealand moving up alert levels. Here is what you need to know for travel in Auckland and around the country.

Travel in Auckland

From 11.59pm Sunday, Aucklanders should not travel outside the region –police checkpoints will be in place.

Travel is back off the cards for Aucklanders as the city goes into a three-day lockdown.


Travel is back off the cards for Aucklanders as the city goes into a three-day lockdown.

“People should work from home unless that is not possible,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. Schools can open for parents that need to be at work. Otherwise, children are asked to stay at home. Supermarkets and pharmacies will continue to stay open.

“If you need to relocate [home], either into or out of Auckland, you can. But we ask everyone else, don’t move around,” Ardern said.

In Auckland, you are able to travel locally if you are accessing essential services, going to work, or exercising. You are also strongly encouraged to wear face masks when leaving home.

Aucklanders should not travel to another region by any means unless they are essential workers travelling for work.

Public transport will continue to operate in New Zealand’s biggest city, but passengers should maintain physical distancing and wear a mask. You are only able to use public transport in Auckland for the following reasons:

  • accessing local services and businesses
  • going to work or school, but only if you cannot stay at home
  • low-risk exercise in your local area
  • visiting people in your bubble
  • travelling to permitted gatherings.

* Covid-19: No rules about face masks at level 1, but use still encouraged
* Coronavirus: Face masks still to be worn on flights until Auckland at level 1
* Coronavirus: Auckland moves to alert level 2, the new rules explained

The rest of New Zealand

Outside of Auckland, the rest of New Zealand is at alert level 2 from 11.59pm Sunday. That means you are able to continue travelling domestically, aside from trips to Auckland (unless you are travelling to/from home).

When travelling domestically at alert level two you should keep records of services you use, keep track of who you have been in contact with, keep a distance of groups of people you don’t know, and you must legally wear a face mask on all public transport.

The Ministry of Health also recommends you minimise the number of places you stop on the way to your destination and use the Covid-19 tracer app at all times.

Of course, anyone displaying symptoms of Covid-19 or awaiting test results should not travel at all, no matter where they live.

Domestic flights

The national carrier says it will offer credits and flexibility for all customers impacted by alert level changes.

Air New Zealand will be operating its current schedule for the next 24 hours (during 15 February) to “allow people seeking to return home to do so. From Tuesday 16 February until Wednesday 17 February we will then be required to social distance onboard, so our schedule may change.”

The airline says passengers with a transit stop at Auckland Airport will still be able to fly.

If you have a flight booked before 21 February, you can change flights for free up until March 7 without paying any fare difference. You must call the contact centre to arrange this.

If you instead wish to cancel a domestic flight and get a credit, you can do so for any trips that depart before 31 March 2021. You cancel the flight through this online tool.

Air New Zealand says its Auckland lounges and valet parking will close. Koru Clubs elsewhere around the country will be restricted to 100 people.

The airline says “If you are unable to manage your booking online and do not wish to travel, there is no need to get in touch with us before your flight’s departure. We can assist you at a later date to find an alternative flight option, or provide you with a credit note.”

Jetstar says “We’ll be reviewing our domestic schedule on a daily basis and some flights may be cancelled.”

Customers with bookings over the next three days can cancel their bookings and receive a credit. Or, those who want to get back to Auckland on an earlier flight can also change their flight to an earlier one free of charge.

Both Air New Zealand and Jetstar have temporarily suspended food services after news one of the positive Covid-19 cases works at an airline food catering company at Auckland Airport.

What if I have an upcoming flight in Auckland?

The Ministry of Transport is yet to update its advice for this latest outbreak, however during the last alert level 3 lockdown in August you could still drive, bus or train into Auckland if you were heading to the airport to go overseas or catch another domestic flight home. Likewise, air passengers could transit through Auckland Airport, as long as they didn’t exit the terminal.

You are free to fly around New Zealand if you live outside of Auckland. For example, flights from Wellington to Queenstown, or Hamilton to Christchurch are still allowed.

Is the Interislander ferry still running?

InterIslander has announced new bookings are suspended until Friday 19 February as a precautionary measure while it awaits further government announcements.

For those who already have bookings, there will be changes on-board, including reduced services, increased cleaning, and physical distancing measures.

Bluebridge says “we’re able to carry all passengers and vehicles who wish to travel across Cook Strait. Social distancing and contact tracing measures are in place.”

What about Northland?

The only way in and out of Northland is via Auckland, so is the region effectively stranded?

The Ministry of Transport is yet to update its advice, but said during the last time Auckland was at alert 3 that you can travel from Waikato to Northland or Northland to Waikato (through Auckland) – but only if you are travelling home. You will be stopped, so it’s best to carry proof.

You can also use a bus service transiting through Auckland – but once again only if you are travelling to your primary place of residence.

Stuff has contacted the Ministry of Transport for its latest advice.

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