Primary sector businesses in Alert Level 3

Information for Level 3 restrictions in response to COVID-19.


To operate in Alert 3, you need to:

  • follow the region-specific travel advice for Alert Level 3
  • make sure you can operate safely before workers return to work and you open for trade
  • maintain safe practices on physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning, and moving goods and livestock.

Safe work practices for business and workers in Alert Level 3

Businesses that can operate in Alert Level 3 include:

  • forestry including harvesting, wood processing, and forestry sales and exports
  • floriculture including bulb and seed growing, harvesting, processing, and sales and exports
  • wool and fibre industries including handling, shearing, scouring, and sales and exports
  • farm gate and cellar door sales – for delivery or contactless pick up only.

Primary sector businesses do not need to register to be able to operate under Alert Level 3, so long as they can do so safely.

Safety assurances

Under Alert Level 3, all businesses permitted to operate should have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that sets out how they operate safely.

For New Zealand food service and retail businesses, operating under the Food Act 2014, there is guidance to help keep their customers and staff safe during COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

COVID-19 Alert Level 3 Safe Practice Guidance for Food Service and Retail Businesses [PDF, 798 KB]

Additional guidance for primary industry businesses is also available.

Operating safely – WorkSafe

MPI generic guidance on COVID-19 safety measures for primary industry and food businesses at Alert Level 3 [PDF, 239 KB]

MPI guidance on COVID-19 safety measures for New Zealand red meat, poultry meat and seafood processors at Alert Level 3 [PDF, 239 KB]

Primary sector support services

Businesses providing support services to the primary sector can operate at Alert Level 3 if they can operate safely.

Examples of these types of support services and activities include:

  • Farriers
  • Cattle yard installers
  • Suppliers of sphagnum moss for use in water treatment
  • Pest management operators (including vector control)
  • Fencers
  • Farm advisors
  • Research and science services
  • Biosecurity readiness, response, recovery and pest management activities
  • Wholesalers
  • Firewood suppliers
  • Timber manufacturers and suppliers
  • Farm property sales agents
  • Relocation to new farm properties
  • Construction of farm sheds, barns and herd homes
  • Routine plant, farm and gear maintenance
  • Manufacture, distribution and application of agricultural input products
  • Production and installation of frost protection fans
  • Livestock and wool sales and auctions – these must be held online where possible
  • Agricultural supply stores – for delivery or contactless pick up only
  • Pet stores – for delivery or contactless pick up only.
  • Businesses which provide supplies or support to the commercial fishing and aquaculture sectors.

Stock sales and wool auctions are permitted, but the public must not attend. They should be run online where possible.

Retail businesses can operate, as long as they can offer contactless delivery or pre-arranged collection. This includes: 

  • agricultural supply stores 
  • pet stores 
  • butcher shops, bakeries, and greengrocers
  • restaurants, cafes, and takeaways
  • cellar doors

Travel advice

As per the guidance on the COVID-19 website, travel into, out of, and through Auckland is heavily restricted while the city is at Alert Level 3.

For information about travel in and out of Auckland during the Covid-19 Alert Level 3 period, visit the Ministry of Health website and the All of Government Covid-19 website.

Advice for travellers - Ministry of Health  

Regional travel - COVID-19

Further help and advice for business

The COVID-19 website is a source of information for businesses relating to essential services and on financial support available.


Business owners should also seek advice from to their key sector groups (such as DairyNZ, Beef and Lamb NZ, Horticulture New Zealand, New Zealand Forest Owners Association, Forestry Industry Safety Council, Seafood New Zealand), their co-op, and Federated Farmers regarding aspects such as business continuity, animal welfare and labour needs.

Last reviewed: