Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests current case numbers in regions of Canterbury and care in the community advice. See for info about vaccinations.

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

Last updated:
19 April 2022

For visitors to all facilities effective from Tuesday 19 April 2022

With the change to the ORANGE Traffic Light setting, Canterbury DHB is easing its visitor policy in recognition of the fact we have passed the peak of the current Omicron outbreak and case numbers are slowly reducing.

The following visitor restrictions are now in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities:

  • One adult visitor may be accompanied by no more than one child over the age of 12 per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.  No children under 12 and those 12 and over must be accompanied by an adult and wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors or support people should not visit our facilities if they are unwell.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By adhering to these conditions, 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 (ie more than one visitor) where a trusted whānau member provides 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 – 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 support people, and women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Womens Hospital. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments, no children are allowed to visit.
  • 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, following a supervised negative RAT result)
  • Children who are inpatients, one other visitor (other than a parent or caregiver) is able to visit in consultation with the nurse in charge.
  • 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.

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.

Face covering exemption cards

The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards.

Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988

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

More COVID-19 information

Some Canterbury health services deferred as DHB staffing impacted by COVID-19

Monday 14 March 2022Canterbury DHB News3 minutes to read

Some Canterbury health services are being deferred as DHB staffing impacted by COVID-19

Some Canterbury health services are being deferred as DHB staffing impacted by COVID-19

As the number of active cases of Omicron continues to rise in our community, more Canterbury DHB staff are contracting COVID-19 and having to isolate. Some have COVID, some are household contacts and others need to stay home to look after whānau who have COVID-19. 

Canterbury’s COVID-19 Emergency Coordination Centre Controller, Dr Helen Skinner said as of today, Monday 14 March, we are only going ahead with urgent surgery, such as cancer care, and other acute surgery such as following an accident or major trauma, with only a small volume of planned (elective) surgery and procedures going ahead.

“Some outpatient appointments are also being postponed this week. Many have already been switched to virtual consults and are carried out over the phone or by video call, however we have to postpone more planned in-person appointments this week,” Dr Skinner said.

“Urgent outpatient clinics such as dialysis will continue as will urgent and non-deferrable surgery and medical procedures.

“We apologise in advance to those affected by these changes. Anyone whose surgery or outpatient appointment has to be deferred will be contacted by phone.  Over the past two weeks staff have gone all out to allow us to continue to provide as much planned care as possible, but with so many staff away we are unable to maintain our usual levels of surgery and outpatient appointments.

“If you haven’t been contacted by us, please assume your appointment or surgery is going ahead,” she said.

Dr Skinner said Canterbury DHB was utilising all available staff to cover gaps in rosters. “Clinical and non-clinical staff are needed throughout the system to cover a range of roles. We are also deploying staff to help out in a number of rest homes in Canterbury and on the West Coast to ensure some of our most vulnerable community members are well supported. 

“It is important to note that all emergency and non-deferrable surgery and procedures are still going ahead, and anyone needing urgent and emergency care should continue to call their GP team or Healthline 0800 611 116 for health advice or dial 111 if it’s an emergency. 

“Our hospitals and health centres have the highest level of infection, prevention and control measures in place and we encourage everyone to continue to seek the care they need when they need it.

“Hapū māmā/pregnant people should contact their Lead Maternity Carer if they have concerns or suspect they are in labour.

“Once again, we apologise for the inconvenience and stress of having your surgery or appointment postponed at short notice, and hope people appreciate the need to prioritise all our available people resources to ensure safe care for everyone,” Dr Skinner said.


Note to editors – please help us promote this important reminder when you have an opportunity.

Reminder – don’t hesitate to seek advice if you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s health

If you are caring for someone with COVID-19 at home you should call 111 if:

  • the person has severe trouble breathing or severe chest pain
  • Is confused or not thinking clearly
  • Feels faint or passes out (loses consciousness)

If you’re not sure what to do or how serious things are call the COVID-19 Healthline 0800 358 5453 – someone will take your call 24/7 and advise on whether you should call an ambulance or bring the person into hospital.


Related topics

Back to Health News

Page last updated: 14 March 2022

Is this page useful?