Primary sector businesses in Alert Level 3

New Zealand is in Level 3 restrictions in response to COVID-19.

Alert Level 3 - What you need to know

To operate in Alert 3, you’ll need to:

  • 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:

  • primary sector businesses that provided essential goods and services during Alert Level 4
  • 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

Safety assurances

Under Alert Level 3 all businesses that are permitted to resume operations need to have a COVID-19 safety plan that sets out how they’ll operate safely.

For businesses operating as an essential service under Alert Level 4, a start up plan is not required. However, the controls they have in place need to continue once we transition to Alert Level 3.

You can find more about what you need to include in your safety plan on the Worksafe website.

Your COVID-19 safety plan – Worksafe   

Under Alert Level 3, businesses do not need to register with MPI. 

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.

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

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), their co-op, and Federated Farmers regarding aspects such as business continuity, animal welfare and labour needs.

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