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Keep up to date with the latest information from Ronald McDonald House South Island

UPDATED: 28 May 2020

The health and safety of the families who stay with us, volunteers, and all those working in our programmes is paramount to us as an organisation and we are working hard to prevent the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus.  As we navigate the challenges of COVID-19 it is important to share with you that we are following and have employed the latest guidelines from the New Zealand Government.

Ronald McDonald House South Island is taking a number of measures to ensure the safety of the families we serve, our team and volunteers. Guided by the Ministry of Health and in collaboration with our partnering District Health Boards and RMHC Global we have introduced a series of actions that will ensure we can safely continue to provide accommodation and care for families with a child undergoing medical treatment.

Latest Updates

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2020

The Christchurch House and Family Room at Southland Hospital have now been partially reopened.  This includes a gradual intake of families, who are assessed as safe to stay at the House and Family Room and a small group of essential team members returning to the House and Family Room.

At this stage the Family Room in the Children’s Haematology Oncology Centre (CHOC) at Christchurch Hospital remains closed as do many communal areas inside Ronald McDonald House.

Our Family Dinner Programme remains on pause until further notice.

Thursday, March 26th, 2020:

All families checked in to Ronald McDonald House are able to remain at the House for as long as their medical journey requires, with restricted access to communal spaces such as our kitchens and lounges.  Families checking in from March 26th 2020 have been accommodated at off-site, self-contained accommodation – close to the hospital.

Friday March 20th, 2020:

The Ronald McDonald Family Rooms in Christchurch Hospital and Southland Hospital are closed to all families and visitors and have been handed to the respective DHB’s for use as respite areas for the medical teams

Screening of all families and team members prior to entering Ronald McDonald House

All families and team members will be screened prior to entering a facility to minimise the opportunity of inadvertently spreading the virus.

All in-house family members will undergo a daily temperature and wellness check, and additional temperature checks every time they enter the House.

Prior to admission, the following wellness questions will be asked:

  • Do you currently have an elevated temperature of 37.5C or higher, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or other flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea?
  • Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical professional?
  • In the past 14 days, have you had close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical professional? (Close contact is defined as being within 1 metre for 15 minutes or more or living within the same household).
  • Have you been told by a healthcare provider or public health official that you should self-quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure(s) or that you are suspected of having COVID-19?

Registered families staying at an RMHC House/Family Room may not return home or alternate days/weeks with other family members.

For any immunosuppressed child staying in a Ronald McDonald House/Family Room RMHSI and the patient’s clinical team must develop a plan to address their specific health needs.

Suspension of all volunteering activity

We have placed a pause on all volunteering activities for the time being.  This includes our Family Dinner Programme.  Bookings will resume once it is safe to do so.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are your programmes still operating?

As of 23 May, 2020, Ronald McDonald House in Christchurch and the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Southland Hospital are both open.

We are taking a cautious approach with a gradual intake of families who meet strict requirements, to ensure we keep the families as safe as possible and continue to comply with government physical distancing requirements and conditions. Communal areas in both programmes remain closed.

However, the Ronald McDonald Family Room in the Children’s Haematology Oncology Centre at Christchurch Hospital remains temporarily closed to families.


Are you turning any families away?

No. While we were in lock-down we were not bringing new families into the House.  We are committed to ensuring that any eligible family who requires accommodation close to the hospital is welcomed in our programme. As a result, we have organised alternative accommodation for new families off-site.

Until further notice, only one support person in addition to the primary caregiver of the patient is permitted to stay in the House in Christchurch.


 What are you doing to protect families?

All entrances to the House have been closed off to visitors. Only families staying at the House and essential team members have direct access to our facilities.

Non-essential volunteers, visitors, and activities have been paused until further notice.

All persons who require access to the House must go through our screening, sanitising and contact tracing process before entering our programmes.

Additional sanitisation in line with Ministry of Health recommendations is in place.

Physical distancing measures have been put in place.

Non-essential team members are working from home.


 What happens if someone in the House tests positive for Covid-19?

If a person staying at the House is ill and either has a suspected case or diagnosed with Covid-19, they will not remain at the House.  Our facility is not equipped to support the self-isolation that these situations require.  We are also not in the position to provide the House as a quarantine space.

We have protocols in place to act swiftly and with compassion to utilise the services of our partner hospital and Public Health to ascertain how the family will be treated by a GP, supported and transported home or to a suitable isolation facility, or if need be, hospital.

Further, we work closely with Public Health on the necessary steps to follow for isolating known contacts, traceability of people in our House, evacuation of the House if necessary and other measures.


What can we do to help families staying at Ronald McDonald House South Island during this time?

As of Friday, March 20, we paused all volunteer support including groups preparing the Family Dinner Programme until further notice.

The Family Dinner Programme is one of the most meaningful programmes we run at the House to ensure families receive a home-cooked meal after a long day at the hospital, and we were determined to ensure this continues in some capacity.  As a result, we have arranged a Chef to cook dinner for the families to ensure all under our roof continue to receive nutritious home-made meals.

To help the families who stay with us enjoy the Dinner Programme, you can sponsor a meal here

Grocery vouchers are also very useful as this means we can purchase items depending on the changing needs of those staying at the House.

Please send vouchers to Ronald McDonald House South Island, PO Box 1463, Christchurch 8140

Likewise, our planned fundraising events up until October have been cancelled or postponed.

Given the impact to our fundraising through cancelled events and campaigns, we are facing a significant reduction in donations.

If you are in a position to support families currently staying in our facilities, please consider a cash donation at This will allow us to continue our operations, including providing accommodation and meals to families staying at Ronald McDonald House in Christchurch and the Ronald McDonald Family Room, Southland Hospital when.


Are your events and fundraisers still going ahead?

Regrettably, due to Covid-19 we have had to cancel or postpone the vast majority of group fundraisers run by Ronald McDonald House South Island

Cancelled events:

Invercargill Supper Club (27 March)

Annual Street Appeal (7 May)

Christchurch Supper Club (19 June)

Queenstown Supper Club (16 October)

Postponed events:

M Factor Fashion Show (TBD)

Your Life, Live It seminar with Amanda Foo-Ryland in conjunction with the Southland Chamber of Commerce (TBD)

Still Running:

Host a Roast (July) See for more information and to register.


As soon as new dates have been announced, we will share them on social media and on our website.

Other events operated by supporters that benefit Ronald McDonald House South Island will likely be impacted too but this will be decided by the organisers.

For more information regarding our fundraising events, or to be added to the mailing list for future years, please get in touch with our Major Events & Partnership Manager Jodie Gill at or call on 027 225 5221.


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