COVID-19 protection framework

Traffic light system

Aotearoa's COVID-19 response is a 3-level traffic light plan to help all New Zealanders stay safe from COVID-19.

Key dates

  • 17 November 2021 – My Vaccine Pass is available (go to the My Covid Record website to see your vaccination status and request a pass).
  • 2 December 2021 – At 11.59pm all of Aotearoa New Zealand moved to the new framework.
  • 5 January 2022 – All people aged 18 years and over who had their second dose 4 months earlier are able to get a booster vaccine.

How does the protection framework work?

The COVID-19 protection framework (traffic light system) began on 3 December 2021. This framework will help to manage outbreaks and cases without needing to rely on lockdowns as the main measure to stop the virus from spreading. This will offer more freedom to New Zealanders and provide stability to businesses so they can plan for the future.

From 11:59pm on 4 April 2022, there will be no requirement to use My Vaccine Pass. Until 4 April, where My Vaccine Passes are not used, the current restrictions remain. After this time, the new capacity limits will apply to everyone.

After 4 April, businesses will still be able to use the system if they would like to.

What are the 3 levels?

This framework has 3 levels – green, orange and red. More information can be found at the COVID-19 protection framework information page. You can check on the status of your region on the traffic light map. Read more about recent changes to the traffic light system and review dates.

  • Green means there are some COVID-19 cases in the community and COVID-19 hospitalisations are at a manageable level.
  • Orange means there is increasing community transmission that is putting pressure on our health system. This may also mean an increasing risk for at-risk people.
  • Red means action will need to be taken both to protect at-risk people and to protect our health system from a high number of people needing to go to hospital.

    How do I stay safe at green?

    Where can I go at green?

    • Keep track of where you go by keeping records and scanning.
    • You have to wear a mask on flights.
    • Wearing a mask is encouraged when you are at indoor locations.
    • Public facilities
    • Shops and businesses
    • Workplaces
    • Early childhood education centres, schools, kura and tertiary education centres
    • Some outdoor community events
    • You can travel between regions
    • In places not requiring vaccine certificates there are limits on numbers (100 maximum) and 1 metre social distancing requirements.
    How do I stay safe at orange? Where can I go at orange? 
     
    • Keep track of where you go by keeping records and scanning.
    • You have to wear a mask on all public transport, in shops and at all public venues.
    • Wearing a mask is encouraged everywhere else.
     
    • Public facilities with 1 metre social distancing requirements
    • Shops and businesses with 1 metre social distancing requirements
    • Workplaces – employees should talk to their employers about how to work at orange
    • Early childhood education centres, schools, kura and tertiary education centres
    • Some outdoor community events
    • You can travel between regions
    • In places not requiring vaccine certificates there are limits on numbers (50 maximum) and 1 metre social distancing requirements, and close contact businesses like hairdressers, gyms and events are not able to operate. 
    How do I stay safe at red?  Where can I go at red? 
     
    • Scanning is no longer mandatory for contact tracing.
    • Masks are still required in most indoor settings.
    • Ventilation should be improved where possible. 


     
    • Indoor facilities (200 person maximum) with 1 metre social distancing requirements
    • Shops and businesses can open with 1 metre social distancing requirements
    • Workplaces – if it is appropriate for your job, you can work from home. Talk to your employer about what is appropriate for you.
    • Early childhood education centres, schools, kura and tertiary education centres are open with public health measures in place
    • No capacity limits for outdoor events
    • Vaccine passes are no longer required.

Learn more

The COVID-19 protection framework Unite against COVID-19, NZ
Getting proof of your vaccination Unite against COVID-19, NZ
My covid record guide (available in a number of languages) Unite against COVID-19, NZ
Traffic light map Unite against COVID-19, NZ
Public health measures recommended for marae and tangihanga at different traffic light settings Te Puni Kōkiri, NZ

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.