New Zealand moves to level-2 tonight. I’ve seen people enthusiastic about the prospect of organising larps again. So what are the rules? Browsing the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level 2) Order 2020, it looks like:
- We can not organise or attend events of more than 10 people. Anything larger than 10 people (other than a funeral or a family gathering) is a “higher-risk gathering”, and attending or organising one is an infringement offence, punishable by a fine of $300 (or $1,000 if you contest it)
- You can run a small larp at home, as a gathering of friends and whānau. It must be no more than 10 people, and everyone must know one another and be able to identify them for the purposes of contact tracing. There appears to be no formal social distancing requirement here, though the website says that you should “keep the numbers low so you can practice safe physical distancing.” Technically such a gathering does not need to be at your home (the examples talk of a family gathering in a park), but its easiest that way.
- If people do not all know one another, you can run a small larp as a lower-risk gathering. Again, this is no more than 10 people, and the organiser must keep records to enable contact tracing of the people who gather. That means collecting everyone’s full name, residential address, an effective means of contact such as a phone number or email address, and the dates and times at which they enter and leave (if you fail to do this, congratulations! You’re now a higher-risk gathering; see above). While the website says such gatherings are limited to two hours, this is not actually a legal requirement.
- In both cases, participants must comply with reasonable, notified safety requirements of the organiser, or of any venue. Failure to do so is an infringement offence.
- If you want to hire a venue, the venue will have to comply with the business requirements, which include enforcing social distancing of at least 1m (except for a gathering of friends and whānau), and keeping records to enable contact-tracing (which means providing them with the information above). This is hassle, so probably not worth doing.
- If your larp is not voluntary or not-for-profit, you’re a business or service, and other restrictions apply.
The upshot: yes, you can organise small stuff for your friends. Anything more is complicated and risky. As for whether you should do it, that’s another question. But personally, I will not be organising anything for quite some time.