There is still a lot of confusion surrounding Alert Level 2 restrictions and what hospitality businesses must do to remain compliant.

Most confusion seems to be in regards to four main areas: Contact Tracing, Physical Distancing, Counter Service and What you’re allowed on your Table Set-up:

Contact Tracing:

Under the COVID-19 guidelines all businesses operating under Alert Level 2 must record everyone who visits their workplace, and save their contact information. This information is to be used for contact tracing purposes only and must not be shared or used for promotional material.

You must collect the details of every customer, including those that are only on the premises for takeaway pick-up.

Contact Tracing Register Details to Collect:

  • Date
  • Time in and time out
  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Email address (optional)

Pen and paper registers are permitted, but you will need to make sure your register is hygienic. Consider assigning an employee to complete the register for customers to limit the amount of people touching the pen and paper.

Ask customers to sanitise their hands before and after writing their details (have sanitiser handy for customers to use).

Physical Distancing:

Physical distancing is a requirement even when people are walking past tables so that is 1 metre inside and outside 2 metres if it is by a footpath.

The measurements are taken from the chair back to chair back (1 metre) and table sides where there is no chair.

Counter Service:

You can take counter service but there should be a barrier between the customer and the food (so no self service). The customer would say what they wanted from the cabinet and the staff member would get it for them.

Payment can be made at the counter, contactless (paywave) is advised but not required.

The typical eftpos swipe is allowed but you will have to have measures in place to ensure this is safe and safely sanitised after each use.

Staff handling cash will need to sanitise their hands after use every time.

Table Set-up:

You are allowed to have salt and pepper shakers on a table but these must be removed and cleaned between groups of diners using them.

It is advised to have a clear table policy between groups.

Level 2 Operation Guide

The Restaurant Association of New Zealand has put together a detailed guide to operating during Alert Level 2, you can find all the details regarding the above issues here.


The association has also answered some of the industry’s most frequently asked questions in order to further help clarify what life at Level 2 means:

Does the server taking an order at a counter need to be the same person delivering food to a table? ie a single server.

Where possible it should be a single server, so they would take the order and deliver the food and drinks.

If you have no other option then yes, but there would need to be a good reason why you couldn’t use a single server.

From what I understood the menus don’t necessarily have to be disposable, is that correct? Plasticise the pages would be enough? 

Correct – as long as the menu’s can be sanitised between each customer.

For fine dining, can we set up water glasses on the table? 

It would be best practice to bring the glasses out when the guests are seated. Have a clear table policy.

What about customers walking past other tables to get to their table or toilets? If we don’t have a walkway that’s more than 1 meter wide’ what do we do? 

That is something you have to consider, we’re working with challenging requirements, you may need to look at rearranging furniture, if possible, to suit distancing within walkways. 

Is cash allowed? 

Yes, cash payments are allowed. Our recommendation is that as with the level 3 guidelines, online payments are great, if paying at premises payWave is the most contactless method so that should be considered.

As long as you have health and safety measures in place around hygiene then you can use any payment method.

Was there clarity on masks for servers and delivery drivers? 

Mask are not required but can be used if you want them to be – you need to ensure correct usage of the mask though, or it increases risk (eg if person is touching face more frequently because of mask).

I have heard there will be inspections – by who? and I presume they will advise on how to remedy any issues rather than close your business immediately? 

NZ Police in charge of compliance, we understand and they would call in WorkSafe.

Do we need to have a contact register for Drive thrus when customers are not coming into premises? 

Yes you do need to have a contact register for every customer, drive thru as well as online customers.

How does the latest rules apply to food trucks? 

Food trucks can operate using an adapted counter service operation and by following the other requirements of operating at Level 2.

Can children go to the play area and play with toys? 

No, play areas should be closed under Level 2, unless you were able to sanitise the area and toys after each child played in the area.

If a group of 4 arrives from 2 bubbles (e.g. 2 couples), do all 4 need to leave contact details? 

Every single customer that enters the premises needs to fill out their details.

Visit for more information.

Download the Level 2 guide here.