COVID-19 Frequently asked questions


The following are a series of frequently asked questions relating to COVID-19 and the seafood sector. We will continue to add to and update this, so please check back regularly.

For Seafood Businesses Operating at Alert level 3


What seafood business can operate at alert level 3?

Those seafood businesses including aquaculture, fishing, and processing operations that were considered essential under alert level 4 can continue to operate at alert level 3, providing they follow the appropriate COVID-19 protocols.  See Guidance for Operating at Alert Level 3 for further information and guidance.

Seafood retail outlets and takeaway shops can also operate at alert level 3 but with the following restrictions:

  • Retail and hospitality businesses can only open for delivery and contactless pre-ordered pick up – customers cannot enter stores
  • Workplaces must operate safely – maintain physical distance between workers, recording who is working together, limiting interaction between groups of workers, disinfecting surfaces, and maintaining high hygiene standards
  • Good hygiene measures like hand washing with soap and water, physical distancing, sneeze and cough etiquette, and wiping down surfaces is the best defence against COVID-19.


Is a food delivery service allowed?

Food delivery is allowed providing there is no contact between staff and customers. Customers will need to order and pay on-line or over the phone.  Delivery will also need to be contactless.


Is a food collection/pick-up allowed?

Yes, but it also needs to be contactless. Customers will need to order, pay and collect/pick-up so there is no contact with staff.  Customers cannot enter stores.


Do I need to register my business at alert level 3?

No - there are no specific registration requirements.


What do I need to have in place to operate at alert level 3?

Under alert level 3 all businesses that are permitted to operate need to have a COVID-19 safety plan that sets out how they’ll operate safely.  For those that were already operating under alert level 4, a new plan is not required but they need to continue to follow the appropriate COVID-19 protocols.  

The key controls that have been decided as necessary at alert level 3 to minimise the risk of passing on the COVID-19 virus at work are:

·         supporting people with flu-like symptoms to self-isolate

·         ensuring separation distances

·         disinfecting surfaces

·         maintaining good hygiene, particularly hand hygiene and good cough/sneeze etiquette

·         keeping records to facilitate contact tracing.

Worksafe have put together a template that you can use for developing your COVID-19 safety plan.  You can find this here:

More information for businesses operating at alert level 3 can also be found here: 


If I need it, where can I source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from?

When trying to source PPE, first contact your normal supplier. If your normal supplier does not have stock, refer to the list of manufacturers and suppliers here.



I want to find out more about the COVID-19 – where can I find it?

The government has a dedicated website that has information regarding COVID-19, along with information on the support available for businesses:

The Ministry of Health website is a very good source of information:

The New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre’s website is a good source of information for the food industry, on food safety, virus transmission and the latest research: 


I want to find out what is happening regarding global trade and exporting?

The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise website is a good resource for New Zealand exporters to help them mitigate the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 


I need more support for air-freight – where can I find it?

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is working with Air New Zealand, freight forwarders, exporters and government agencies to support additional charter flights. See here for more detail.


For Seafood Businesses Operating at Alert Level 4

What is an Essential Business?

Only businesses that are essential to the provision of the necessities of life may remain open during the Level 4 Alert period. If a business is unsure whether it provides such products or services, it should shut its premises.

For the primary sector, essential businesses have been identified as:

  • Any entity involved in the packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products, whether for domestic consumption or export
  • Any entity involved in relevant support services, such as food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions
  • Any entity providing veterinary services
  • Any entity whose closure would jeopardise the maintenance of animal health or welfare standards (including the short-term survival of a species)

If you need more information it can be found here: 


Am I able to operate my fish shop?

Unfortunately, fish retail outlets are not considered essential as fish is available in the supermarket.  You can find more information here: 


Is a food delivery service allowed?

Food delivery other than cooked prepared meals such as takeaways is allowed (eg supermarket home delivery, food parcels from charitable organisations, subscription food boxes, or any other whole-food delivery service). Meals-on-Wheels may continue to deliver prepared food. Ordering, payment and delivery must be contactless and the business must operate safely within the general health guidelines such as physical separation and hygiene. 



Do I need to register my essential business?

If you have 5 people or less (including the owner) working at each business site and you can achieve social distancing measures between staff in your workplace, including travelling, to and from work, you don’t need to register.

If you have 6 or more people working in the business site – you must register. 


How do I register my essential business?

The online registration form has now closed. However, if you are an essential service to the primary industries, or a supplier to an essential service you can email us at


What will happen after I register?

MPI will review the registration information, however there will be many registrations for them to work through, so it is highly likely you won’t receive anything from them for some time.  If MPI have any questions or need any further information they will contact you directly. 


Do I need to wait for a response before operating?

No. You can continue to operate, but you must implement all of the protocols you have developed to keep your staff safe. 


What do I need to have in place to continue to operate as an essential business?

You need to have protocols in place that protect your staff and prevent the transmission of the virus – just as if they were staying at home. 

We have developed a guide on the types of protocols seafood businesses need to consider in order to operate at alert level 4.  See Guidance for Operating at Alert Level 4 found here: