Hospital visiting guidelines updated 20 July 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for detailed information about hospital visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests and care in the community advice. See for information about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
20 July 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 Wednesday 20 July 2022

With the recent resurgence in cases in Canterbury, largely due to the Omicron BA.5 subvariant we are seeing an increase in demand right across the health system. Presentations to our Christchurch ED and Ashburton’s AAU are higher than ever and admission rates are high, which means we have a shortage of resourced beds.

Recently, we have seen too many unwell people coming to visit someone in hospital and too many that cannot or will not wear a medical mask. This increases the risk to vulnerable people in hospital. For these reasons we need to everything we can to minimise these risks.

We have therefore tightened visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities.

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

  • One visitor per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.
  • No visitors under 16 to any part of our facilities.
  • No visitors to COVID +ve patients other than in exceptional circumstances.
  • No eating or drinking at the bedside or anywhere other than cafes or areas designated for eating/drinking, as taking your mask off puts patients at risk.
  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms (even if they have tested negative) or have had a recent tummy bug.
  • Do not visit if you are COVID +ve or a household contact of someone who has tested positive
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all sites and will be provided if people don’t have them. Mask exemptions do not apply in our facilities – people who cannot tolerate a mask cannot visit at this time.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By sticking to the rules above, you help keep our patients, staff, other visitors and yourself safe. We 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.

Exceptions to the ‘one visitor’ policy

  • Exceptions can apply in some circumstances where trusted whānau members provide assistance, reassurance and other support for therapeutic care or on compassionate grounds – please talk to the ward’s Charge Nurse to discuss this before you come to hospital to visit. For whānau with an essential support role as a Partner in Care – again, please check with the ward’s Charge Nurse before you come to hospital to visit.
  • People attending Christchurch ED or Ashburton AAU can have one support person with them.
  • Women in labour and in the birthing suite can have two named support people + their community LMC/midwife if they have one – for the duration of the birth only. All other women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Women’s Hospital and other maternity units. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments. No under 16s are allowed to visit or attend appointments.
  • Parents/caregivers can be with their baby in NICU.
  • Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital (Except Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day patients where only one parent or caregiver is permitted).
  • People requiring support when attending an appointment can have one support person. Please let the relevant service know if you need this so they are able to accommodate your request.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • To avoid them becoming infected with COVID-19 and passing it one, visitors to COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed except in extenuating circumstances – by prior agreement with the Charge Nurse Manager only, and wearing an N95 mask.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, facetime, zoom etc.

You must NOT visit the hospital if you

  • are a household contact of a COVID-19 positive case
  • are COVID-19 positive
  • Have a cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you are testing negative for COVID-19)

Exceptions for people with disabilities

An exception will be made for people with disabilities who are in hospital or have to attend an outpatient appointment – where they need a support person to access health services. For example, a sign language interpreter, support person for someone with a learning disability, or someone to assist with mobility. The support person is in addition to the one permitted visitor.

Everyone visiting our facilities must wear a mask, no exceptions

While we appreciate that some people have legitimate reasons for being exempt from wearing a mask and may even have an official card to confirm this, people who cannot or will not wear a mask cannot visit someone in hospital or attend hospital, other than to access healthcare treatment*. This is another measure to minimise the risk to vulnerable patients.

*healthcare treatment includes: Emergency Department care, outpatient appointments, surgery or a procedure. 

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

More COVID-19 information

Information for visitors and patients

Wednesday 18 August 2021Media release5 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.
Information for visitors and patients at COVID-19 alert level 4

Information for visitors and patients at COVID-19 alert level 4

Canterbury DHB will reinstate its no-visitor policy across all facilities from 11:59 tonight (Tuesday 17 August 2021) in line with the Government’s Alert Level 4 lockdown announcement. There are some exceptions which are outlined below.

Unless you have been contacted by phone to advise that your planned (elective) surgery is going ahead tomorrow, please assume it has been postponed and do not turn up at hospital.

Masks or face coverings must be worn at all times at Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them. Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must also be used.

Please scan in using the QR code, wherever you go using the government’s COVID-19 Tracer App, and ensure Bluetooth is turned on within the app – this means you’ll receive alerts if you’ve been exposed to a case.

Changes to key services are as follows:

Outpatients and planned surgery

Most planned elective surgery will be postponed and rescheduled. If you haven’t heard from the DHB you can safely assume your surgery or outpatient clinic has been postponed. We will only be contacting people whose urgent surgery is going ahead.

Renal Patients

Renal patients need to still attend their dialysis appointments. Please turn up as you normally would to your dialysis appointment and wear a face covering or mask.

Cancer patients

Those patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy will continue to do so as planned. Please come to your scheduled appointments and wear a face covering or mask.

Nursing strike notice withdrawn

The DHB has tonight received official confirmation from the NZNO that they have withdrawn the strike notice pertaining to strike action planned for this Thursday 19 August. The withdrawal is in light of the Level 4 lockdown.


A no-visitor policy across all our facilities is now in place – the only exceptions are listed below:

  • Compassionate grounds – please check with the Charge Nurse before you come to hospital to visit.
  • Women in labour are allowed one support person.
  • One parent/caregiver is welcome to be with their child in hospital. 
  • People with disabilities can have one support person.

Emergency Department

Remains open but no support people or visitors will be allowed unless they have permission from the Clinical Nurse Manager (CNM). One parent or caregiver per child can accompany their child and a person with disabilities can have one support person.

Maternity patients

Women in labour should follow their care plan as described by their Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) The DHB’s maternity facilities will remain open but closed to visitors apart from one support person with a labouring woman.

Shuttle bus from Deans Avenue car park to Christchurch Hospital

The shuttle will be operating for staff only – and unavailable for visitors or patients.

Urgent (life-threatening) Acute surgery

Urgent/acute surgery as a result of illness or injury will go ahead.

COVID vaccine appointments

There has been a 48 hour pause on vaccine appointments nationwide. If you have an appointment within the next 48 hours do not turn up to your appointment. This will be rescheduled. More details to come.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels will continue to be distributed, however there may be some delays due to driver availability. Meal delivery will be ‘contactless’ with drivers wearing PPE and following strict hand hygiene protocols.

GP Appointments

If you have an appointment over the next three days please call your General Practice team for advice on whether your consultation can be done over the phone, by video or in person.  All General Practices are open.


Community Pharmacies are essential health services and will be open for prescriptions and over the counter medications. Please do not visit if you are sick. Always wear a mask and practice physical distancing – stay at least two metres away from people you don’t know.


All radiology appointments at Canterbury DHB facilities – other than those needing acute care have been postponed and will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Christchurch Hospital

Most entrances to Christchurch Hospital will be closed and the only entrances open will be ED & Waipapa Main Entrance, Christchurch Women’s Entrance and the main Christchurch Hospital entrance (under the canopies) – Everyone will have to scan or sign in when they enter the hospital and wear a mask or face covering.

Rural facilities and CDHB-operated ARC facilities

No visitors – only on compassionate grounds by arrangement.

Community Blood testing

As an essential service, most Canterbury SCL collection centres will remain open during Alert Level 4.

If your test is not urgent or you are awaiting a Covid-19 test result, please stay at home.

You must wear a mask and practice physical distancing and good hand hygiene at all times in SCL collection centres.

Wait times will change due to the need for physical distancing – we appreciate your patience.

 Visit for a list of collection centres that are open

Please follow the rules as this will help us all return to normal more quickly.

More information about Alert Level 4 is available from



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Page last updated: 9 September 2021

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