COVID-19: Information for businesses

Information and support for affected businesses under Alert Level 2.

Contact tracing using Rippl

To help Wellington businesses and organisations make contact tracing simple and secure for them and the public, Wellington City Council has partnered with local software developer PaperKite. 

The Council has secured a number of 3-month licences, which we are offering to Council Controlled Organisations and Wellington’s cultural, recreation, business and community organisations. 

Rippl will be used at all Council sites alongside membership (such as the Envibe system used at the pools) and paper-based sign-in systems for people who don’t have smartphones, or prefer not to use apps. 

How Rippl works

When you register your business or organisation online with PaperKite you will be emailed a unique QR Code on a poster to print off and display it at your entrances. People with the Rippl app on their smartphone can scan the QR code as they enter, and check out on their phone as they leave.

Rippl does not request any personal contact details, nor use location services or GPS data. The only data it holds about where a person has been is the data they scanned into it when they check in and out of a place. It enables health services to send an alert direct to their phone should they need to advise them of any possible contact with Covid-19 and what to do.

How to get a free 3-month Rippl licence for your organisation

Businesses in the Wellington city wards and suburbs can take up the Wellington City Council offer for a free 3-month licence with Rippl by registering from 9am Wednesday 13 May on the PaperKite website.

Register here

Organisations will need to register a licence for every location which is open to the public. 

This offer is only available to cultural, recreation, business and community organisations in Wellington. 

Fee refunds for hospitality businesses

Businesses can apply for a 25% refund for fees for food registrations and/or pavement leases paid between 1 July 2019 and 31 March 2020. 

Businesses that have paid fees for alcohol licences and/or food registrations and/or pavement leases after 1 April 2020 will be contacted and receive a full refund minus $1 for food and pavement fees and minus $1 plus the ARLA levy for alcohol licences.

To apply for a refund use the Hospitality Registration and Licence Refunds form below. 

Apply for a refund

Refunds will be processed within 3 weeks.

COVID-19 Alert Level 2 for hospitality businesses

Hospitality businesses may open to customers for dining only from Thursday 14 May. 

Please follow the government's guidelines to follow the Three S's:

  • Seated
  • Separated (by 1m) 
  • Single server (the same person must serve the one customer  while the customer is at the premises).  

Hospitality venues can only serve customers if they are there to dine, not to drink or dance at a bar or nightclub. Please also be aware that customers may not stand up at a bar to eat.  

Our Public Health team will be operating from Monday 18 May for any environmental complaints. Response times may be slightly longer than normal due to officers prioritising visits to the hospitality industry to ensure they are following government COVID-19 guidelines.


Please note, we will check with businesses to make sure they are compliant with trading under the requirements of public health guidelines at Alert Level 2 and we can withdraw our permission for traders to trade on Council land for non-compliance. 

A Government Compliance Response has been established to deal with non-compliance of the Government's guidelines for operating under Alert Level 2.

COVID-19 compliance

COVID-19 Level 2 gatherings, events and public venues 

Alcohol licensing

New licence applications

We will continue to process all existing and any new alcohol licensing applications.

Applications for new off-licences are being accepted during COVID-19. During this time, Section 103 of the Act, which requires the Police, a Ministry of Health representative and an Inspector to inquire into licence applications, has been amended.

Before the outbreak the Police and Medical Officer of Health had 15 working days to inquire into applications and report any objections. That time frame has now been extended to 30 working days.

If you wish to apply for a remote sellers off-license, this can be issued to your home address, but you must be mindful that the businesses operations, processing of sales, etc will need to be completed at the licensed location.

Off-licences cannot be issued to a restaurant premises. Section 12 of The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 restricts the issuing of off-licences to particular kinds of premises. 

Caterers may be operating on an endorsed on-licence. This licence does not allow you to deliver alcohol to individuals.

Licence renewals 

Anyone who has a licence that is due to be renewed during this shutdown period will be contacted to confirm whether they wish to renew that licence. However, we will be unable to process any renewals until we are back to normal business. Once businesses are permitted to start trading again we will allocate extra resource to ensure these applications are processed as soon as possible.

Manager's certificates 

We are not booking interviews for new manager certificate applications and will be in touch when we can start face to face interviews again. If you applied before 23 March 2020 you will be given the option of having a phone interview. We are continuing to accept renewals. If you already have a duty manager's certificate and want to renew it, email your application to

If your manager's certificate is due to expire during the lockdown period and you can't complete or submit the form electronically, email us at so we have a record of your intention to renew.

Variation to conditions

You can apply for a variation to the conditions of your alcohol licence, but we will be unable to process it until we are back to normal business.

Commercial rates deferrals

If you're facing financial hardship and meet the criteria, you can apply to defer payment of instalment four (due 1 June 2020) for 6 months without incurring penalties. 

Who can apply for the rates payment deferral? 

All commercial ratepayers who require financial assistance and support at this time can apply. 

Properties owned or occupied by a central government agency, crown entity, state owned enterprise or utility company are excluded.

How to show you are experiencing financial hardship 

For commercial, industrial and business ratepayers if you or your tenant has qualified for one or more of the following:

  • Government Covid-19 wage subsidy
  • Government Covid-19 Business Finance Guarantee Scheme
  • a mortgage ‘holiday’ from the bank
  • qualification for other Government funded Covid-19 schemes or initiatives.

You must be able to show that the benefits of relief are being passed through to tenants.

How to apply for the rates payment deferral

Email or write to Rates, Wellington City Council, PO Box 2199, Wellington 6140, New Zealand.

You'll need to include:

  • your full name or the name of your business
  • full address of the property for which you are applying 
  • your contact phone number and email address 
  • confirmation from your employer or bank that shows you are experiencing financial hardship as listed above.

Note: It's important you don't just stop paying your rates or cancel your direct debit, as late penalties still apply if alternative arrangements have not been agreed.

Residential rates deferrals