Alert Level 2: What this means

Published on 18th Aug, 2021

Palmerston North is in Alert Level 2 from Wednesday September 8th. This page will be updated throughout the week with more information on how this impacts our churches, schools, and other diocesan activities.

Visit the official NZ COVID website for the most up-to-date information.

5:00pm, Friday 24th September 2021

Gathering restrictions have now been increased to 100 people. Because of this, public Masses are now permitted in our diocese. Please contact your local parish for information on their Masses and restrictions.

Our diocesan requirements for church use during Alert Level II include the following:

  1. Masks must be worn by everyone while in church. Each church should have a supply of masks (for those who forget)
  2. People entering the church must sign in using the COVID-19 tracer app (or sign in manually) and use hand sanitizer. Signing in must now involve privacy, with separate slips to be completed and deposited in a record box.  Children over 12 must sign in.
  3. There must be someone appointed to oversee this process, firstly by welcoming people and then ensuring that everyone signs in, is wearing a mask and a reminding people to keep 2m spacing.
  4. The 100 person limit does not include the presider, musicians, readers, coordinator and eucharistic ministers.
  5. Church seating must be clearly marked allowing 2m spacing in each direction (not including people from the same family/bubble)
  6. Holy Communion is to be distributed, only on the hand. Ministers and priests are not free to place the host on people’s tongues.
  7. Holy Water fonts are to remain empty.
  8. No Altar Servers.
  9. The priest is to wear a mask, except when praying from the Presider’s Chair, reading the Gospel, giving the homily and praying the Eucharistic Prayer.
  10. During the Eucharistic Prayer the hosts are to be covered with a corporal.
  11. When distributing Holy Communion, the priest and Eucharistic Ministers must keep their masks on.
  12. When coming forward to receive Holy Communion, parishioners are to keep 2m away from others, keep their masks on when receiving the host (on the hand) step to one side remove their mask to receive the host and then replace it as they make their way back to their seat.  (In the case of those who use walking aids, those ministering Holy Communion can use their discretion)


2:00pm, Wednesday 8th September 2021

Palmerston North is now in Alert Level 2.

Fr Craig Butler and Cardinal John Dew have decided that our churches are to remain closed and there will be no public Masses, except for funerals and weddings, during Delta Alert Level 2. This position will be reviewed in two weeks’ time.

For more information, you can download a letter from Cardinal John Dew and a set of guidelines for parishes.

At Alert Level 2, all early learning services, schools, kura and tertiary education facilities are open to everyone.


1:00pm, Tuesday 7th September 2021

Palmerston North is soon moving to Alert Level 2.

There are still a number of restrictions on gathering for worship. Our churches “can host services and ceremonies to a maximum of 50 people if the service is indoors, and 100 people if the service is outdoors. The indoor and outdoor gathering limits do not include staff — for example, clergy.” More information about worship at Alert Level 2 is on the NZ COVID website. Local parishes will have different ways of dealing with restricted numbers and attendance. We recommend you contact your local parish directly.

At Alert Level 2, all early learning services, schools, kura and tertiary education facilities are open to everyone.


9:00am, Wednesday 1st September 2021

Palmerston North has now moved to Alert Level 3.

Churches must remain closed to the public but can host up to 10 people for funerals and weddings: “The only gatherings allowed at Alert Level 3 are weddings and civil union ceremonies, funerals and tangihanga, with up to 10 people. No food or drinks can be served, and physical distancing, face coverings and record keeping are required.”

Most schools are still closed, but children in Years 1-10 can attend school their parents or carers need to go to work and have no available options for childcare.

We encourage you to continue to connect with your parish and local community online, and take advantage of the many great online resources that parishes are producing. If you have any questions about your local parish, please contact them directly.


9:45am, Wednesday 18th August 2021

New Zealand is now in Level 4 Lockdown. This means that Churches must close and Mass cannot be celebrated with a gathered congregation. All schools and places of work (other than essential services) are also closed.

The lockdown will be reviewed on Friday 20th, after which we will give more information on what to expect for Masses and other gatherings moving forward. If you have any questions about your local parish, please contact them directly.

Have a question? We can help. Get in touch with the Diocese.