All hospital visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask. Expand this message for information about visiting hospital.

Last updated:
13 March 2023

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 we recommend all people wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and  visitors safe.

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 are recommended to 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 face 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 face 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 are recommended to wear a medical face 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

Cantabrians urged to check it’s safe to swim this long weekend as many beaches remain unsuitable for swimming

Friday 17 November 2023Media release3 minutes to read

THIS IS AN ARCHIVED PAGE. The advice and information contained in this page may not be current and it should only be used for historical reference purposes.

A photo of Lyttelton Bays, Canterbury

Swimmers are being urged to stay up to date on the quality of their favourite Canterbury beaches, lakes and rivers to confirm they’re safe to swim in this Canterbury Anniversary Weekend.

“A number of sites within Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbours, including popular spots like Akaroa Main Beach, Corsair Bay, Rāpaki Bay, Sandy Bay, Diamond Harbour Beach and Purau Beach, remain unsuitable for swimming due to the long-term grade and overall bacterial risk from contact with the water at these sites,” says Dr Cheryl Brunton, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health.

When you’re heading for the water, don’t forget to visit ‘Can I Swim Here?’ section of the Land Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website at to view the latest information. Sites are monitored weekly by Environment Canterbury from November to March. As water quality can change, it’s best to check the LAWA website for up-to-date information so you can make informed decisions about where’s best to swim.

“It’s worth noting that no changes in long-term grades have occurred at Lyttelton Harbour this year. This means the only spots deemed suitable for swimming are Paradise Beach – which holds a good grade – and Church and Cass Bays which both remain fair.”

“Each summer season, Environment Canterbury monitors the water quality of many popular swimming sites around the region weekly and advises which waterways contain unsafe levels of bacteria or cyanobacteria (toxic algae). Exposure to these could be harmful to swimmers’ health which means temporary health warnings may also be issued by Te Whatu Ora. That’s why it’s really important to check that it is safe to swim at your favourite spot before you jump in.”

“After heavy rain, other recreational water sites are also likely to be contaminated from rural and urban run-off. As a precaution, avoid swimming in the harbour, rivers, streams, lakes or estuaries for at least 48 hours after heavy or prolonged rainfall, even at sites that usually have good water quality.”

Water contaminated by human or animal faecal matter may contain a range of disease-causing micro-organisms, such as viruses, bacteria and protozoa, which can cause gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin infections. People should also avoid eating shellfish from the harbour after heavy rainfall.

“If people heed the warnings, we can all have a safe summer enjoying our waterways,” says Dr Cheryl Brunton.


For more information on recreational water quality in Canterbury, see




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Page last updated: 22 January 2024

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