Sports and Activities at the Red Setting

3 February 2022

Clubs New Zealand continues to share the frustrations of Clubs and Members over the Red Setting rules, particularly in relation to the rules around sports and other activities.

We are fielding a lot of enquiries from clubs and an increasing number of enquiries from club members.  We are into the third year of this and we understand it, people just want to do what they love.

There is a lot of confusion especially around how the rules apply to licensed premises.  Clubs New Zealand must provide guidance to clubs that is consistent with our interpretation of the law/rules at the time. It would be incredibly inappropriate for Clubs New Zealand to provide advice suggesting that particular activities can go ahead at the Red setting when the Public Health Order and the advice we have received from Government departments suggests otherwise – Clubs New Zealand is simply not going to give advice to a club that could result in them being fined or closed down. 

Despite being knocked back constantly on our requests for change, we are persisting in advocating for a change to these rules on behalf of clubs.

Sports and Activities as part of your day to day operations

Where food and drink is served the hospitality rules apply.  Where that food and drink business holds an on-licence or a club-licence, sports and other activities which cannot be done while seated at a table are prohibited.

This is confirmed by clause 69(4) of the Public Health Order: "If a food and drink business or service holds an on-licence or a club licence and the customers or clients at the workplace are unable to meet the requirements of subclause (1) in relation to an activity, the activity is prohibited."

You will also see that the guidance has been updated to confirm that at red “Customers must be seated and separated. This means that dancefloors, pool, darts and other recreational activities cannot operate.”

Gatherings and events

Gatherings and events have slightly different rules – if a defined space within the venue is exclusively hired than you do not need to follow food and drink rules (except for during food and drink service)

  • A wedding can be held in a exclusively hired defined space and attendees of that wedding/gathering can dance etc.
  • Or a sports tournament of up to 100 people can be held and participants can play pool, snooker, darts etc. and the hospitality rules do not apply because the defined space is exclusively hired – likewise the Snooker Adjunct could exclusively hire a defined space and hold an adjunct evening where the hospitality rules do not apply.


  • money does not need to be exchanged in order to hire but it is recommended that an agreement to hire the venue/defined space is signed by the hirer and kept on record.
  • If the business is operating under a club licence, food and beverage service must be seated and separated. This means that dancefloors, pool, and other recreational activities cannot operate during the food and beverage service.

As mentioned we are continuing to advocate for change so that club activities can resume under the red setting in a way that has the interests of clubs and members front of mind, we also encourage individual clubs to continue communication with your local MPs and the Government to clearly illustrate the impact these restrictions are having on your club.


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