While Auckland and parts of Waikato remain at Alert Level 3 Step 2, the rest of New Zealand, including our region, is in Delta Level 2. To find out more about the national response, please see the government's Unite Against COVID-19 website.

As the country collectively responds to this pandemic, it's important that we share the practical steps Horizons and the Manawatū-Whanganui Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MWCDEM) group are taking to keep our people safe.

Jump to:

What Alert Level 2 means for you
Locations of interest
Testing and vaccinations
Welfare and support
Horizons service centres
Public transport
Council meetings

How we're responding

While the Ministry of Health is the lead agency for a pandemic response, Civil Defence has a role to play in ensuring all responding agencies are connected.

For the Horizons Region, this includes four district health boards – MidCentral, Whanganui, Lakes and Waikato – the region’s city and district councils, emergency services, and government agencies such as the Ministry of Social Development.

As the MWCDEM Group lead, Horizons activated our Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) in Palmerston North on 18 August 2021. This response has now been scaled back to align with current alert level, our Emergency Management team will now look after the response.

The ECC is responsible for the regional coordination of the national pandemic response. Functions include intelligence, planning, operations, logistics, welfare and public information management.

What Alert Level 2 means for you

  • Wear a face covering in public settings. 

  • Scan Covid-QR codes anywhere you go. 

  • Keep a two metre physical distance from people you do not know.

  • There are no restrictions on who can be included in your household bubble. 

  • Students are able to return to school. 

  • All businesses are able to open however they will be operating adhering to public health rules.  

    Find out more on the Unite Against Covid website

Locations of interest

The Ministry of Health’s locations of interest page is now being updated every two hours, and locations of significant concern will be added immediately.

If you have visited any of the locations of interest during the relevant times, or someone in your household has, you should immediately isolate at your home or place of accommodation and contact your GP, iwi health provider or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for further advice.

Testing and vaccinations


Testing centres and staff are facing high demand, so please be patient. With such high demand, please only get tested if you are a contact, have visited a location of interest at the specific date(s) and time(s), or have cold and flu symptoms.

If you do need to get a test, visit the Healthpoint website - at - to find a site near you.

Find out more about COVID-19 testing on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.


Being vaccinated protects you against COVID-19. While you can still become infected, you are less likely to transmit the virus and less likely to be hospitalised with serious illness.

Everybody aged 12 and over can receive their free COVID-19 vaccine now. In most places walk-ins are welcome and no appointment is required. A list of vaccination centres is available on the Ministry of Health website.

Find out more about vaccinations on the Ministry of Health website.

Welfare and support

It’s OK to ask for help. As we work through this together, there are people and agencies able to support you.

If you are sick, or can’t leave home to buy food or essential supplies, you can ask family, whānau, friends or neighbours to drop off goods and groceries for you. Talk to your support networks like family, whānau, friends, and neighbours to see if they could deliver essential items to you. If this is not an option for you, there are other ways you can get essential items delivered.

Find out more about the welfare and support services available during the lockdown.

Use the Healthpoint website to find your local pharmacy's contact details to discuss access to medication.

If you have tried and can’t access support through any other agencies, please call us on 0508 800 800.

Horizons service centres

Our service centres are open to the public at Alert Level 2, at normal opening hours.

We recommend you make any enquires or contactless payments online if possible:
If you don't have access to email, you can give us a call on 0508 800 800.

Public transport

At Alert Level 2, public transport schedules return to normal with some differences to how they operate.
Cash fares and Bee card transactions will be able to take place on the bus. Those who can tag on and tag off with their Bee card should do so. People are able to register and top up their Bee cards online at

Face coverings remain mandatory and QR codes are on board all buses for passengers to scan. 

While physical distancing is not required on public transport under Alert Level 2 it is encouraged where possible, and passengers are not allowed to stand.

If you do need to use bus services, or the Total Mobility service, at Alert Level 2, please head to our Buses and Transport page to find out more.

Council meetings

At Alert Level 2, council meetings will continue to be held virtually until further notice.

Due to the COVID Alert Level lockdown, council meetings cannot be held in their normal form. However, during last year's lockdown, Parliament removed the need for council to have a physical quorum, enabling council members to attend meetings through teleconferencing and be counted as present. 

On the day of Regional Council meetings, we will live stream the meeting directly to our Facebook page. The recordings will remain on our Facebook page if you would like to watch them post-meeting.