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Information on COVID-19 Alert Level 4

Social Services at Alert Level 4

Following the announcement on 17 August 2021, a new COVID-19 Public Health Response Act order has been released, which details the specific requirements related to this shift to Alert Level 4. You can read the Public Health Order here.

Under the Public Health Order, Alert Level 4 businesses and services include:

  • Social and community-based services provided to support persons to maintain critical well-being or as crisis support for people who are unsafe or homeless.

The four categories below provide a more detailed view of the types of social and community-based services that can continue to operate under Alert Level 4. As with the most recent Alert Level 3 approach, you as an organisation are being asked to determine which category your service or activity falls into. This differs from the previous Alert Level 4 approach where organisations had to apply to be registered as essential services.

Four categories for social and community-based services at Alert Level 4:

  1. Where the social service is the only way for people accessing food and other goods they need to survive (e.g., money management (but not budget advice), food banks, and other delivery of essential goods).
  2. A social service that provides and supports a place for someone to live (e.g., Supported Accommodation, Housing First, Residences, Bail Hostels, Night Shelters, Family Homes, remand homes, foster carers of children in state care, resettlement services for recent migrants and refugees).
  3. A social service that supports disabled people to maintain critical wellbeing (e.g., disability services for those with high needs or very high needs and excluding disability employment services).
  4. Crisis support for people who are unsafe (e.g., Funded helplines, refuges and family violence services, foster care support services, sexual violence crisis services).

On 18 August 2021, the Prime Minister announced that a face covering must be worn if you are an employee or customer at a business or service operating at Alert Level 4 involving customer contact.

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

Provider funding

Following the Alert Level 4 announcement on 17 August 2021, the Government’s funders of social services are working together to provide some certainty around provider funding.

Keeping you updated

If you have any specific questions, please contact your contract or relationship manager in the first instance. You can also email us at We will try to get back to you as soon as we are able.

The Government’s COVID-19 website is constantly being updated with information on New Zealand’s response to the pandemic and is the first place to go for information you may need.

This website provides information on the COVID-19 Alert Levels and what we need to do in response.

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