Hospital visitors must wear a medical paper face mask. Fabric face coverings are not acceptable. Expand this message for more detailed information about hospital visiting guidelines.

Last updated:
16 September 2022


Mask exemptions accepted for people seeking treatment
Any member of the public with a mask exemption is welcome in all our facilities when attending to receive health care and *treatment. Please show your mask exemption card and appointment letter to staff at the entrance.

*Treatment includes: coming into the Emergency Department, outpatient appointments,  surgery or a procedure.

For visitors to all facilities effective from Friday 16 September 2022

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so people must continue to wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and  visitors safe.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell. Do not visit if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed your isolation period.
  • Patients may have more than one visitor, except in some situations such as multi-bed rooms where it can cause overcrowding.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all sites. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • For Specialist Mental Health Services everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a surgical mask in all inpatient areas and areas where consumers are receiving care (i.e. community appointments, home-visits, transporting people). Discretion may be applied in cases where masks impair your ability to communicate effectively.
  • Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their mask in the same space.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and must be used.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as our staff work hard to protect and care for some of the most vulnerable in our community.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People can visit patients who have COVID-19 but they must wear an N95 mask – this will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp etc where visits aren’t possible.

All of our Hospitals

Visiting hours for our hospitals have returned to pre COVID-19 hours with the exception of Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

All visitors must wear a medical mask.

Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital and visitors are now allowed, except for the Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day stay where just one parent/caregiver is able to attend their appointment with their child. Exceptions by special arrangement only.

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

Serving up a festive treat for Canterbury patients


Te Whatu Ora’s Canterbury WellFood team who are busy prepping for the more than 1000 Christmas meals.

WellFood staff getting ready for Christmas at Burwood Hospital.

If you thought planning and cooking a Christmas meal for the whānau was a big undertaking, spare a thought for Te Whatu Ora’s Canterbury WellFood team who are busy prepping for the more than 1000 Christmas meals they’ll be plating up for patients who find themselves in one of Canterbury’s hospitals on Christmas Day.

WellFood staff are also busy preparing ‘meals on wheels’ that will be served throughout the community on Christmas Day.

The Christmas menu across our hospitals is going to be a cracker.

For lunch, patients can choose from succulent chicken, roast beef or vegetarian lasagne, accompanied by roast vegetables with a dessert option of our classic pavlova or delicious Christmas pudding.

For dinner a picnic tea, including yummy Christmas ham, will be served and accompanied by mini Christmas mince pies, rum balls and fruit.

Christmas cake and mini mince pies will be served for morning and afternoon tea.

“The festive season is a special time for many and it can be hard for patients and their families being in hospital and away from home on Christmas,” says Rachel Cadle, General Manager, Commercial Services.

“That’s why our teams across Canterbury work hard every year to create a very special menu for patients that will taste and feel just a little bit like home.”

Rachel Cadle says there will be around 120 staff working in the kitchens, as well as the catering assistants who take orders and serve the food on the hospital wards.

“The service we provide continues 365 days per year, without any let up in demand.”

“We haven’t forgotten the teams who will be working on Christmas Day either. Many of our hospital staff will be at work while their families are celebrating Christmas, so we have some special treats planned for them as well,” says Rachel Cadle.


Some things aren't welcome in this pool. Please stay out of water if you've had a tummy bug.

Te Mana Ora l Community and Public Health are urging swimmers to do their bit to stop bugs and infections from getting into pools.

Did you know germs can spread through the water in pools and spas and cause swimming-related illnesses? Swimming pools are an ideal breeding ground for serious gastro bugs. Although chlorine works by killing off most bacteria, and viruses, Cryptosporidium (commonly known simply as crypto) and Giardia are particularly resistant to the standard chlorine dosages you find in most pools.

Most people who contract crypto and other gastro infections experience symptoms such as watery diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Others, who have weakened immune systems, can develop a serious, chronic, and sometimes fatal illness.

“We all share the water we swim and play in, so it is important to maintain swimming hygiene for the health and safety of you, your tamariki, and whānau,” says Dr Matthew Reid, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Te Whatu Ora, National Public Health Service.

“You can get sick if you swallow or have contact with contaminated pool water. So if you have had a recent gastro infection and haven’t fully recovered from the illness, please stay away from pools and spas for at least two weeks after you feel better.

“These symptoms can occur on and off for weeks – which is why we are asking people to respect a stand-down period of two weeks after their symptoms subside, during which they should avoid swimming in pools or sharing a spa. This is to ensure they have fully recovered and are no longer infectious.

“We want to raise awareness on how these bugs are transmitted in community pools so that people can follow some simple advice to help limit the spread,” said Dr Reid.

The key things to remember if you have had a serious gastro bug are:

  • Stay away from pools and spas for at least two weeks after you feel better
  • You wouldn’t want to get into a dirty pool so even if you haven’t been ill – always shower before entering the pool
  • Remember to go to the toilet before you swim, to avoid unwanted accidents in the pool. Take children for regular toilet breaks as needed. 
  • Report any ‘code browns’ immediately – community pool operators can clean as needed and apply a stronger dose of chlorine to the area to make it safer.


Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24/7.

Now that summer’s here, it’s important to be prepared and understand how COVID- 19 might affect your holiday break.

“We want you to have a a safe as summer this year,” says Becky Hickmott, Waitaha Senior Responsible Officer for System Pressures, Te Whatu Ora.

“Please do not travel or take part in events or activities if you are sick, have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19.”

“If you’re going to be away from home, consider taking a kit that contains Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), hand sanitiser, masks or face coverings, and your usual medications. Remember RAT tests can be ordered for FREE.”

“It's also really important to have a plan in place if you or any members of your family become infected with COVID-19, including how to get home safely to isolate.”

Current face mask mandates for visitors in healthcare settings remain in place. You can collect face masks for free when collecting RATs. You can also order them with your RATs through this website:

“If you catch COVID-19 on holiday consider using antiviral medication, which is free for those of you who fit the eligibility criteria,” says Becky Hickmott. 

“Antiviral COVID-19 medications help your body fight the virus thereby preventing you from becoming very unwell. They reduce the amount of the virus in your body, so you don’t get as sick and you’re less likely to have to go to hospital.”

Many pharmacies provide antivirals without a prescription, or your usual healthcare provider can write you a prescription for a pharmacy to fill. COVID-19 antiviral medicines are free for eligible people. Find out more at

And remember if your summer of fun turns to a summer of glum, you can call Healthline 24/7 for care around the clock.

Before you head off on holiday be sure to load Healthline’s number into your mobile phone, because when your GP’s doors are closed and the lights are out a team of staff are ready to take your call – any time of day or night, including public holidays.

You can also call Healthline if you’re not sure where to go, they know what’s open around the motu. Phone 0800 611 116 – calls are answered 24/7 and they have translators available.

If you are heading away, make sure you pack an extended supply of your regular medications. If you’re going to need a repeat prescription while away, get it sorted before the practice closes for the break and you leave town.

Emergency Departments (ED) at hospitals throughout New Zealand often run at capacity, especially over the festive season. Keep EDs free for those who need emergency care. In a life-threatening emergency, call 111.

You might also like to try a virtual consultation with a New Zealand registered health practitioner without seeing them in person. This is also called a virtual consult or telehealth. You can find a list of some of these virtual care providers here.

Our resources about caring for COVID-19 positive people in the community will help you make a plan for what to do if you test positive, including if you are on holiday. If you are isolating at home or away, you will have a dedicated contact person check up on you and make sure that you and your whānau are safe.

People with disabilities can find further information about COVID-19 and useful services on the Unite against COVID-19 website

For wellbeing support, free call or text 1737 any time, 24 hours a day. You can also call Lifeline at 0800 543354 or text HELP at 4357. Visit the All Sorts website to find ways to boost your wellbeing this summer.

If you aren’t already enrolled with a general practice team use our handy general practice finder map.

Information for visitors to Christchurch

If you get sick after arriving in Christchurch, it is important to seek health advice by calling Healthline for free at 0800 611 116. This is available at any time and you can ask for a translator.

If you need to see a doctor, you can visit one of the urgent care practices:

Learn more about Urgent Care clinics on the Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury website.

Trusted health advice

You can also visit our HealthInfo website or your community pharmacy for health advice.

HealthInfo is a health information website that has information specific to Canterbury. It is written and approved by local doctors, practice nurses, hospital clinicians, and other healthcare professionals and features a mix of health information, fact sheets on different topics, and descriptions of local health services.


Page last updated: 23 January 2023

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