COVID-19 Advice for event organisers

Last reviewed 27 May 2020

New Zealand is now at Alert Level Two. New Zealand’s priority is slowing the spread of COVID-19. Gatherings such as concerts and sporting events pose a high risk for transmission of infectious diseases.

Public Events at Alert Level Two

There have been some changes to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level 2) Order 2020 which will come to into effect from 11.59am Friday 29 May. These amendments change and clarify some of the restrictions on events.

Defined spaces

The Order now includes a reference to 'defined spaces'. This applies to social gatherings, event facilities, and businesses that serve food and drink for consumption on site.

'Defined spaces' are important for the event sector, as the provision is intended to allow multiple groups of 100 to be present at an event, where they are clearly separated. The person in control of the defined spaces must have systems in place to ensure that the separate gatherings do not intermingle. To expand:

  • Where practical, workers should provide services to only one group of 100, and cannot move between multiple groups of 100. This is best practice and not a legal requirement.
  • For indoor spaces there must be walls between the spaces. These can be temporary or permanent structures.
  • For outdoor spaces there must be 2 metres of space separating each gathering of up to 100 people. You could use ropes, line markings or partitions to define these.
  • Each group of up to 100 should remain 2 metres apart from other groups when using shared exits to the greatest extent practicable. This could be achieved through staggered start and end times for each group at events.
  • Facilities such as toilets can be used by multiple groups of 100, if they are used at different times so multiple groups of 100 aren’t using the same facilities at once. We also recommend that additional cleaning take place between use by different groups. Another option is to allocate dedicated toilets to each group to prevent intermingling of groups.

Event facilities

Event facilities include cinemas and casinos, but also stadiums and conference facilities.

  • The overall cap on attendance at event facilities remains at 100.
  • Multiple groups of 100 are allowable in event facilities provided they are in separate ‘defined spaces’ with no ability to mingle between groups (discussed above).
  • Record-keeping for contact tracing is required for workers and clients/customers. The event facility still needs to do this even for people that know each other.
  • 1-metre physical distancing is required in event facilities, apart from groups of people who all know each other, or if the event facility has been hired for a social gathering.
  • If an event facility is providing food and drink for consumption at the facility, then the food and drink provisions apply, except where the event facility has been hired for a social gathering. If the part of the event facility serving food or drink is clearly separated from the rest of the event facility, then the food and drink provisions only apply to the part of the premises serving food and drink.

Record-keeping for contact tracing

Record-keeping for contact tracing means collecting and maintaining the following information: full name, a phone number or email, date of entering business, time in and out. The requirement to collect a residential address has been removed.

There are multiple ways you can set up contact tracing. For example, a paper register, using a booking system or scanning a membership card or QR code that links to a web form that provides information to a business. Many businesses will have an existing database with their clients’ contact details and an ability to keep a record of when they were in and out of the business i.e. a hairdresser uses a booking diary,  therefore they don’t also need to keep a paper register.

Whenever you collect personal information, you must take care to keep it safe. This means:

  • Keep your contact tracing register secure for 2 months. When records are 2 months old, they should be destroyed.
  • Only share your register with the Ministry of Health or district health boards.
  • Do not use the information you collect for any other purpose, for example, marketing or customer surveys.
  • Explain why you’re collecting someone’s personal information.
  • Make sure customers cannot see anyone else’s personal information.

Most of the available apps do not currently meet the record-keeping requirements for businesses, although QR codes that link to web forms may meet the requirements. Regardless of whether the apps meet the business record-keeping requirements, we are still encouraging individuals to keep track of where they’re going and what they’re doing, i.e. keep a note or use an app. Businesses can assist with this by having a QR code.

Conferences

  • The overall cap is 100. Multiple groups of 100 are allowed provided they are in separate ‘defined spaces’.
  • Record-keeping for contact tracing is required for workers and clients/customers.
  • People must keep 1-metre distancing from people they don’t know where practicable.
  • If the event facility is providing food and drink for consumption on site, then the food and drink provisions apply. If the part of the event facility serving food or drink is clearly separated from the rest of the event facility, then the food and drink provisions only apply to the part of the premises serving food and drink.

Concerts

  • If taking place in event facilities (indoor or outdoor) there is a 100-person limit per defined space.
  • 1-metre distancing and recording details to enable contact tracing is required.

Is there any financial support available for the events industry?

It is a very difficult time for many industries, including our events industry. With the current focus on eliminating the virus, we must all work together and follow Alert Level requirements.

The Government announced that it will extend its broad business support package for those impacted by COVID-19. While this has not been developed or tailored for individual sectors such as the events industry, your business may still be able to access support.

Please visit www.covid19.govt.nz(external link) for more information on the financial support available. This site also includes Government helpline numbers if you would like to determine whether your business is eligible for assistance.

Further information for businesses can also be found at the business.govt.nz website.(external link)

If you need further assistance regarding application for your business, please call the BusinessNZ line: 0800 500 362 for North Island, or 0800 50 50 96 for South Island.

Who to contact if you need any more information

The Ministry of Health website is the best source of information about COVID-19.
If you have any concerns about your health, visit the Ministry of Health website or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453.

If you have any other general enquiries about your event, please email majorevents@mbie.govt.nz.