COVID-19 - Operating at Level 3 & 4

01 Sep 2021

The transition to Level 3 will allow plant producers and garden retailers to operate with some additional freedom, but having Auckland & Northland remaining at Level 4 prolongs the disruption to businesses in those regions and creates complexity with the movement of people and freight. 

You can see a copy of the updated COVID-19 Public Health Order, describing the Level 4 and 3 rules here.

Level 4 operations remain the same, however we are expecting clarification of the rules for despatching plants to planting sites or for delivery to retail stores.  We have asked that plants that require delivery in order to retain their value can be despatched.  We are still awaiting confirmation of this from MBIE and will let you know as soon as this is confirmed.  

We are continuing to ask for the ability to propagate and extend the range of plant maintenance activities at all levels, including Level 4.

Updated NZPPI COVID-19 Protocols

The COVID-19 rules are changing continuously. We are updating the industry protocols as these change.  See the latest version at the bottom of this article. Note that changes to our protocols require Government sign off, so there are delays. 

Please go through these protocols with your team, especially those that are returning to work.  There may be new requirements, like scanning in, masks, etc that they must be aware of. Strong reminders about home and travel bubbles and interacting with visitors and the public is important to make sure they understand their responsibilities.

We encourage you to get each staff member to sign their own copy of the protocols. 

Activities at Level 3: 

Level 3 means that more of your team are back at work and there are few restrictions on the range of activities that you can undertake, including propagation, growing and despatching plants. 

The key changes at Level 3 are:

  • Pick up and delivery of plants & materials at nurseries, planting sites and at retail garden centres must be contactless This means that the public and freight drivers should not interact with your staff, requiring contactless delivery such as click and collect retail sales.
  • Masks are not mandatory at Level 3 unless you are public facing. However, mask use is strongly encouraged indoors and when staff are working in close (2 metre) proximity. 
  • Workers, visitors and the public must scan the COVID-19 QR code, or sign in, on arrival at the site.
  • Maintaining home, travel & workplace bubbles and ensuring that hygiene practices are followed by staff is required & expected.

Please see our FAQ guide for Garden Retailers at the bottom of this article which will hopefully clarify most of the questions you may have. 

Auckland Border

There has been a lot of discussion about the placement of the Auckland Border, The southern border is in a similar position to previously and the establishment of a northern border will happen at midnight Thursday when Northland transitions to Level 3.  The northern border is expected to be at Te Hana. 

Information and maps for the border are available here:

Movement across the Level 4 & Level 3 border

  • Movement of people across the border for Level 4 to Level 3 is restricted to workers that were able to travel for work at Level 4.  These workers must be registered with MBIE. You can do so here
  • Drivers that need to cross the Auckland border will need to register with MBIE. 
  • Travel documentation and a QR code will need to be displayed in vehicles when crossing the border.  With the right documentation we expect that crossing the border will be straight forward. 

Travel and freight at Level 3:

  • Work travel is allowed within Level 3 regions but must be restricted to necessary trips. Travel letters must be carried when travelling outside your region.   
  • Freight will be able to move freely within and between the regions that are in Level 3 and there are no restrictions on what can be transported. 


We are continuing to work with the Government and our members hour by hour to advocate for more workable rules and to request more freedom to operate to protect the value of plants at all alert levels.  Decisions are being made continuously and we will update you as these come through.

In the meantime, please get in touch if you have questions or if you would like further information. 

Matt - 027 622 9255
Alix - 022 084 3677



Download COVID Level 3 and 4 Safety Plan
(MS Word 2007) 49KB



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