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

Public access to Canterbury DHB facilities under the ‘traffic light’ system at ORANGE

Friday 3 December 2021Media release4 minutes to read


Public access to Canterbury DHB facilities under the ‘traffic light' system at ORANGE

Canterbury DHB has not made any changes to its visitor restrictions under the orange traffic light setting of the new national COVID-19 Protection Framework. However, the orange traffic light setting does change how business is conducted at cafés and other retail outlets in DHB facilities.

Dr Helen Skinner, Senior Responsible Officer for the COVID-19 response for Canterbury DHB says these are tough times for us all as we get used to new systems, but we are all in this together and the new COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) has been introduced to protect us all. Health staff are here to help, so please be kind and considerate, and respect one another and the rules.

“There will be some changes when you visit, mainly to retail outlets and cafés at our facilities. Burwood Travis Courtyard Café is the only Canterbury DHB café that will be checking My Vaccine Passes and can therefore retain public seating areas. All others will either have contactless takeaway food and coffee available and have seats removed, or are now closed to the public.                                          

“This is a good opportunity to remind people that healthcare is for all. You do not need proof of vaccination to enter any of our facilities as a visitor or service-user. Everybody, vaccinated or unvaccinated, will receive the care they need.

“Please don’t visit the hospital if you don’t need to. Fewer visitors means less chance that COVID-19 will spread to vulnerable patients and staff.”

Cafés and other retail outlets in our DHB facilities

Franchised or independently-owned businesses such as community pharmacies, florists, hairdressers, volunteers’ shops etc. will have a set of rules that apply under the traffic light system and will manage appropriate access by staff and members of the public.   

Here is a summary of the rules for access to cafés in DHB facilities from today:

Great Escape Café:  Open to staff only, ID badges required as proof of full vaccination           

Willow Lane, Waipapa: Contactless pick-ups only – no seating, no My Vaccine Pass checks          

Kanuka, Christchurch Outpatients: Contactless pick-ups only – no seating, no My Vaccine Pass checks, no eating or drinking in the waiting area seating

PeaBerry Waipapa: Contactless pick-ups only – no seating, no My Vaccine Pass checks, no eating or drinking in the waiting area seating

Parkside and Christchurch Women’s Hospital Cafés: Contactless pick-ups only – no seating, no My Vaccine Pass checks          

Hillmorton Avon Café: Open to staff only, no My Vaccine Pass checks

Ashburton Hospital Café: Open to staff only, no My Vaccine Pass checks

Burwood Travis Courtyard Café: Only staff wearing ID badges and members of the public who scan their My Vaccine Pass can be served.

Visiting DHB facilities

Visiting rules haven’t changed with the move to the orange setting under the new ‘traffic light’ system. Visitors who are unwell should not be entering our facilities, unless they need emergency care.

The following visitor restrictions are in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities, to protect vulnerable patients:

  • All visitors need to scan in using the COVID-19 Tracer App or sign in on arrival and provide their contact details
  • If you’re using the COVID-19 Tracer App, please ensure Bluetooth tracing is turned on
  • All visitors must wear a mask or fabric face covering – please bring your own
  • All visitors are expected to practice safe physical distancing. You should remain two metres away from people you don’t know
  • Everyone, including visitors should practise good hand hygiene.

Park and Ride

The hospital shuttle service from the Deans Ave car park is running as normal.

There is further guidance and restrictions in place at individual facilities. Full details of further changes to visiting at other Canterbury DHB facilities, including café, are available on our website .

If you have COVID-19 symptoms – no matter how mild, please get a test.

If you are unwell and need to see a doctor you should call your usual GP team for advice 24/7. For general health information visit:



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Page last updated: 3 December 2021

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