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Information on COVID-19 Alert Level 3

Alert Level 3 for social sector organisations

Social sector organisations can operate under Alert Level 3 as long as they are able to do so safely. Please note that this means no clients are to be seen on premises.

We have applied these requirements to the social services context to provide additional guidance for different activities.

Protecting ‘bubbles’ at Alert Level 3

It is important to protect people’s bubbles during Alert Level 3. At Alert Level 3, social service organisations are expected to:

  • only provide services face-to-face in exceptional circumstances (ie a time of crisis)
  • meet all the requirements to protect the health and safety of their workers and the people they are working with
  • take all steps they can to minimise the number of people engaging with people and whānau in their home
  • work with the whānau and other service providers to identify a lead worker who is best placed to carry out home visits (for example because they are already undertaking visits or have an existing trusted relationship with the whānau)
  • work with their local network of providers, and their national body where appropriate, to coordinate access to the services and support the whānau needs.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Face covering (masks, scarfs and bandanas)

Information and guidance for wearing masks on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Please note that the use of face covering is in addition to the general health advice i.e. regularly disinfect surfaces; wash and dry hands, cough and sneeze into elbow, don’t touch your face; if you have cold or flu symptoms stay at home and ring Healthline or your GP.

At Alert Level 3:

  • Medical-grade masks are compulsory when physical distancing is not possible
  • Non-medical-grade masks (including homemade masks or face covering) are strongly encouraged whenever people are out and about
  • Only essential social services partners should be having contact in exceptional circumstances, this includes crisis and residential services, such as care, remand or refuge
  • You must undertake a risk assessment before face to face engagement. Where the client is known to you, you will have the information necessary to inform the appropriate use of PPE.
  • Where COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed,
    • Where “aerosolized” procedures (e.g. risk of spitting) are unlikely, medical-grade masks level 1 or level 2 are recommended
    • When there are “aerosolized” procedures, N95 or P2 face masks are recommended. More information is available on the MOH FAQs on PPE website.
  • If you are working with a client who is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 and you need the appropriate PPE, please get in touch with your PfO Advisor, relationship or contract manager.

We would like to remind you to update your business continuity plan (BCP) to reflect this latest advice. We envisage that you will have or will be now resourcing enough face covering to enable a safe working environment and that you will use your contracted funding to purchase what is required. If you require any assistance either with your BCP or with resourcing PPE. Please email:

Guidance for the Family Violence and Sexual Violence Crisis Workforce

This guidance covers how providers should operate during Alert Level 3 while meeting health and safety expectations that will keep staff and victims/survivors safe.

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