Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit Update – Wednesday 11 May 2022

Local Government Response Unit main page

Re-opening New Zealand to the world

The Government has today announced that New Zealand’s boarder will fully reopen from 11:59 July 31  

This includes the return of both cruise ships and international students to New Zealand

The announcement isin addition to the previously announced reopening of the border to visitors from 60 visa waiver countries and territories on May 1

Pre-departure testing will also be removed from the July 31 opening  

My Vaccine Pass (MVP) Update 

Last week, Covid-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, announced that by 1 June a new vaccine pass system will be unveiled that includes Boosters as well as the establishment of a new online personal vaccine journal that will cover Covid-19 as well as other vaccines, for example, flu and MMR.

Minister Hipkins said that the new system could be useful for people who might want to verify vaccination status to a potential employer. He also said that anyone with a vaccine pass expiring before June 1 and wanting an extension will be able to request another one which will run to the end of June. 

We will bring you more details on these new systems as they become available. 

Orange Traffic Light Setting

The entire country remains in the Orange traffic light setting of the Covid Response Framework

Under the Orange traffic light setting there are no capacity limits for indoor or outdoor gatherings

At indoor venues for unseated activities, if there are over 500 people, it is recommended capacity be limited based on 1 m distancing 

Face masks are still required in certain circumstances. These include retail and public spaces such as supermarkets, shopping malls, pharmacies, petrol stations, and takeaway stores as well as premises operated by local and central government agencies, social service providers, and the New Zealand Police.  Face masks are also required on all forms of public transport, taxis, rideshare services, and domestic flights. This also includes indoor arrival points for public transport and domestic flights.

The Ministry of Health notes that as a rule face masks should be used whenever you are inside, with exceptions for your home and place of work if you are not public facing. Public facing employees are encouraged to wear masks. Informal advice from the Ministry of Health has recommended that as part of good infection control processes, people working in open plan offices with others should consider wearing masks.

Mask Exemption Card

As noted last week there will be a new mask exemption card introduced at the end of May for those who have genuine reasons for not wearing masks.

This will be administered by the Ministry of Health and will allow people who cannot wear a mask to get a personalised card to assist them in accessing business and services where mask wearing is required.

More information can be found through the Ministry of Health

A reminder of general health advice and boosters

Councils are encouraged to use physical distancing where possible to ensure that staff remain safe. Also ensure that surfaces such as desks, door handles, phones, and light switches are cleaned and sanitised regularly as well as washing and sanitising hands and keeping up basic hygiene practices as well as keeping indoor rooms well ventilated by opening doors and windows where possible.

Further health advice can be found here  COVID-19: About the Omicron variant | Ministry of Health NZ.

The Ministry of Health provides advice on ventilation to help decrease the risk of contracting Covid.

The best way to protect yourself from Omicron is through vaccination and boosters. In order to be considered fully vaccinated a Booster is required.

Tamariki aged 5-11 are eligible for the vaccine. To be considered fully vaccinated tamariki need to receive two doses at least eight weeks apart.

Information on where to get vaccinations and boosters from can be found here.

Assistance and support available should you or your staff need to isolate

The Care in the Community approach aims to assist people with COVID-19 through the illness and reduce the risk of transmission.

Most people will be able to manage self-isolation with help from friends and whānau, however for those who require extra support if you have COVID-19 or are self-isolating - there is help available.

MSD also has a range of financial assistance through the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme and the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment which local government staff can apply for if they are required to isolate and miss work