Food and drink service guidelines

Food and drink service guidelines

COVID-19 Protection Framework guidance if you serve food and drinks to customers.

Food and beverage service rules are limited to those that offer food and beverage for consumption on-site, such as a restaurant, café, bar or soup kitchen (where food and drink is provided for free). It does not include services that are solely takeaway or at foodcourts; these businesses should follow the rules for retail.

See retail guidance

Where food and beverage services are hosting events, or the premises are hired exclusively for a gathering, they must follow those rules.

  • Gatherings include voluntary or not-for-profit sporting, recreational, social, or cultural activities, community club activities, gatherings at a workplace (where the gathering has exclusive use), faith-based gatherings, funerals or tangihanga, and weddings (as well as gatherings at someone’s home).
  • An event is defined as an activity where entry is controlled through ticketing, fees, registration or other ways to control access, and is not a gathering. Events can be held at commercial or private venues.

See events and gatherings

Capacity limits only apply indoors at Red

Indoor spaces are generally considered to be venues that are enclosed by a ceiling and walls, or other similar structures, and which don’t have much, if any, flow of fresh air.  Examples include many gyms, nightclubs, restaurants, and halls. Capacity limits apply per defined space.

Outdoor spaces are generally considered to be places that have good ventilation, with a decent amount of free flowing, fresh air coming into the space. For example, this could be because the venue does not have a roof, has less than four walls, or because its walls don’t go all the way up and still allow a significant amount of air flow.

Defined space

Under the traffic light rules, a defined space is an area where walls (temporary or permanent) substantially divide that space from other spaces.

You can have multiple defined spaces within one facility. However, if you do, you must have systems and processes in place to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the groups using the space (other than workers) do not intermingle when using, entering or leaving the premises. People from the different groups need to stay at least 2 metres apart. For example, you may wish to consider separate entryways or staggered entry and exit times.

What happens if my venue is both indoors and outdoors?

Some venues are made up of indoor and outdoor spaces. The activity that occurs in these indoor spaces should determine what capacity limit applies – the rule follows the activity.

If people will be lingering indoors, for example, for entertainment or dining, then the indoor rules apply.

However, retail rules will generally apply to the indoor places in which people:

  • travel directly through to get to an outdoor space; and/or
  • need to go so they can purchase things (for example food, to eat when back outdoors); and/or
  • need to go to use the bathroom.
Business/service Operating at Red

Bars, cafes, community club hospitality (club bars), nightclubs, restaurants and other food and beverage services

  • Your business may open with up to 200 people or based on 1 metre distancing (whichever is the lesser) per defined space indoors.
  • There are no capacity limits outdoors.
  • Customers must be seated and separated when indoors. This means that dancefloors, pool, darts and other indoor recreational activities cannot operate.
  • There are no seating requirements outdoors.
  • Customers must wear face masks when not eating or drinking indoors (unless a person is exempt).
  • Customer-facing workers must wear a medical-grade face mask indoors unless the worker is exempt, or is performing/presenting and maintains 2 metre distancing.
  • There are no face mask requirements outdoors.

Venues (or defined spaces) hired for exclusive use where food and drink is provided for consumption

  • An indoor event or gathering may occur with up to 200 attendees or based on 1 metre distancing (whichever is the lesser) per defined space.
  • There are no capacity limits outdoors.
  • For indoor events, food and beverage service must be seated and separated. This means that dancefloors, pool, darts and other indoor recreational activities cannot operate during food and beverage service. This restriction does not apply outdoors or to a “gathering”, such as a wedding, that has exclusive use of the venue/defined space.
  • Face masks are required indoors for customers at an event while not eating, and encouraged indoors for customers at a gathering.
  • Customer-facing workers must wear a medical-grade face mask indoors unless the worker is exempt, or is performing/presenting and maintains 2 metre distancing.

Takeaway food and beverage businesses (no consumption)

  • Takeaways may open, following the retail rules.
    Retail guidance
  • Indoors there must be capacity limits based on 1 metre distancing (not including workers).
  • Face masks are required indoors (unless a person is exempt).
  • There are no capacity limits or face mask requirements outdoors.

Shopping mall food courts

  • Food courts may open.
  • Indoors there must be capacity limits based on 1 metre distancing (not including workers).
  • Areas operating under an on-licence must ensure customers are seated and groups separated by 1 metre.
  • Customers must wear face masks when not eating or drinking indoors (unless a person is exempt).
  • Customer-facing workers must wear a medical-grade face mask indoors unless the worker is exempt.
  • There are no capacity limits or face mask requirements outdoors.
Business/service Operating at Orange

Bars, cafes, community club hospitality (club bars), nightclubs, restaurants and other food and beverage services

  • You can operate without capacity limits.
  • For indoor unseated events over 500 people, it is recommended you have a capacity limit based on 1 metre distancing.
  • Customer-facing workers must wear a medical-grade face mask indoors unless the worker is exempt, or is performing/presenting and maintains 2 metre distancing.
  • There are no face mask requirements for customers indoors or outdoors.

Venues (or defined spaces) hired for exclusive use where food and drink is provided for consumption

  • You can operate without capacity limits.
  • For indoor, unseated events over 500 people, it is recommended you have a capacity limit based on 1 metre distancing.
  • Customer-facing workers must wear a medical-grade face mask indoors unless the worker is exempt, or is performing/presenting and maintains 2 metre distancing.
  • There are no face mask requirements for customers indoors or outdoors.

Takeaway food and beverage businesses (no consumption).

  • Takeaways may open, following the retail rules.
    Retail guidance
  • Face masks are required indoors (unless a person is exempt).
  • There are no capacity limits or face mask requirements outdoors.

Shopping mall food courts

  • Food courts may open.
  • Customers must wear face masks when not eating or drinking indoors (unless a person is exempt).
  • Customer-facing workers must wear a medical-grade face mask indoors unless the worker is exempt.
  • There are no capacity limits or face mask requirements outdoors.
Business/service Operating at Green
All food and beverage businesses and services
  • You can operate with no restrictions.
  • Face masks are encouraged (unless the customer or worker is exempt).

Visit the Unite against COVID-19 website for information on these changes.

Changes to the traffic light system(external link) — Unite against COVID-19

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