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Monday, January 24, 2022

Here’s how New Zealand Covid-19 Traffic Light System will work

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Sanda Arambepola
Former Sub Editor

From 11.59 PM tonight New Zealand will move to the Covid-19 Protection Framework which is also known as the traffic lights system. This new framework will introduce more freedom for vaccinated individuals just in time for the summer. 

Auckland, Northland, Taupō, Rotorua lakes districts, Whakatāne, Kawerau, Ōpōtiki, Gisborne, Wairoa, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will start at red while the rest of the country including the entire South Island, Wellington and Waikato will all start at orange. 

Some districts of the North Island including Auckland and Northland will start in red while the rest of the country will start in orange. Source: Stuff News

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said that these settings would be reviewed on December 13th by the Cabinet. She also emphasized that no region in New Zealand would move to green light before January 17th

In addition to that, from 15th December, people who are fully vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test administered no more than 72 hours before departure would be able to cross the Auckland border and visit other parts of the country. This requirement will remain in place until 17th January 2022. 

Let’s look at how life at each light would be under the new Protection Framework. 

Life at Red 

  • Red light is intended for use when there is a fairly large outbreak in the community risking and overwhelming the healthcare system of the country. 
  • Under this setting, schools will be open with public health measurements like mask mandates in place. Tertiary education will be allowed with vaccine requirements for in-person learning. 
  • Workplaces will be open but working from home would be encouraged.
  • Retail and public facilities will be open with capacity limits based on 1-metre distancing. 
  • Venues using vaccination certificates will be able to open with up to 100 people with 1-metre distancing. 
  • Places that do not use vaccination certificates will have restrictions similar to alert level 3 – hospitality will only offer contactless services (pickup and delivery), hairdressers and gyms will be closed and weddings will have a limit of 10 people. 

Life at Orange

  • At Orange, there will be community transmission in the community putting some pressure on our health system. 
  • Face masks will be mandatory in public transport and in retail. 
  • Public facilities like libraries, museums and public pools, and retail will be open with capacity limits based on social distancing.
  • Venues which use “My Vaccine Pass” would be able to operate with no limits. 
  • However, venues that do not use vaccination certificates would have to adhere to tough restrictions – hospitality will remain contactless, only pickup and delivery while gatherings will be limited to 50 people. 
  • Places like gyms and close-proximity businesses will not be able to operate without vaccine certificate requirements. 

Life at Green 

  • At Green, there is limited community transmission and Covid-19 hospitalization will be at a manageable level. 
  • Under this setting workplaces, schools, retail and public facilities will be open with no limits. However, record-keeping or scanning will still be required. 
  • Face covering will only be mandatory on flights. 
  • Similar to orange light, any venue that uses vaccine certificates will be able to operate without any limits. 
  • Any venue that does not use vaccination certificates will have restrictions similar to alert level 2 – hospitality venues, gatherings and other events will only be allowed to have up to 100 people. 

For more information head to https://covid19.govt.nz/traffic-lights/covid-19-protection-framework/

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