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

Surgical masks introduced for all DHB staff and visitors

Sunday 23 January 2022Media release4 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.

Important Omicron Update

Important Omicron Update – all hospital visitors need to wear a paper surgical/medical mask.

Under the RED setting, it’s business as usual with surgery and outpatient appointments going ahead, and only minor changes expected for visiting hours – these will be finalised tomorrow and posted on Canterbury DHB’s website.

Senior Responsible Officer for COVID-19 in Canterbury, Dr Helen Skinner, said while there’s no cases of Omicron in the community, the key change for anyone entering any DHB facility tomorrow will be the need to wear a paper surgical/medical mask.

“We know these paper masks are more effective than a fabric mask or cloth face covering, and this is something we can all do to help protect our vulnerable patients and ourselves.

“We ask that people pay particular attention to physical distancing as well. In practice that means staying at least one metre away from anyone not in your household,” Dr Skinner said.

Canterbury DHB is also advising all its staff (clinical and non-clinical) to wear surgical masks, with N-95s for clinical staff in certain areas.

Boosters are key to provide maximum protection

If it’s four or more months since you had your second dose, please prioritise getting a booster as soon as possible. Boosters provide a significantly higher level of protection than two doses alone. People aged over 60 who have had their booster are around 45 times less likely to be hospitalised than an unvaccinated person of the same age.  

You can book at Many clinics are taking walk-ins, please note that demand is high and there may be a wait. Local clinic information, including opening hours is available at

Vaccinations are now available for children aged five  and over at selected clinics – these are outlined at

While we have no cases of Omicron in Canterbury at present we need to stick to the rules: wearing a mask every time you go out and are with people outside your own household; keeping track of where you’ve been using the QR codes provided and having Bluetooth turned on, so you receive alerts, and using your MyVaccinePass when required. 

For more information about what to do at Red, the Unite against COVID-19 ( website has useful information on being prepared to self-isolate at home if someone in your household tests positive.

“Now’s the time to make a plan, make sure everyone knows it, and ensure you have everything you need at home to be self-sufficient for at least a couple of weeks,” Dr Skinner said. “And please check in with your neighbours, people who live alone and those with disabilities to see how they are doing.

“It’s important to remember that with Omicron, most people who are fully vaccinated (two doses + a booster) will have a mild illness and be able to recover safely at home. Our focus will be on supporting those who are more vulnerable and have underlying health conditions.

The planning checklist every household should complete can be found here and the Canterbury Care in the Community web pages provide useful information and advice on what to consider when isolating at home with COVID-19.


Tips for wearing a surgical/paper mask:


  • Wash or sanitise your hands before handling your mask
  • Hold the mask by the straps
  • Fan it out to cover the mouth, chin and nose
  • Disposable surgical masks are worn with the blue/coloured side facing outwards
  • Ensure the stiff strip is at the top and moulds comfortably over the bridge of your nose
  • Securely hook the elastic straps directly over your ears – do not create a figure eight with the straps as this creates air gaps.



  • with, or touch your mask unnecessarily
  • Let anyone else touch or wear your mask
  • Leave your mask lying around or on a table

Change your mask

  • If it becomes moist or soiled
  • After eating
  • Used and soiled surgical masks should be disposed of in the regular (landfill) rubbish bin after cutting the elastic straps.



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Page last updated: 27 February 2024

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