Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit Update – Wednesday 25 May 2022

Local Government Response Unit main page

Orange Traffic Light Setting  

The government announced yesterday that the country is to remain at the entire country remains in the Orange traffic light setting of the Covid Response Framework. The reason for this is that although case numbers have flattened nationally, they are beginning to increase in the northern region, and hospitalisations related to Covid-19 have increased over the last month.

Modelling indicates that under current conditions there is a likelihood of a second wave of cases appearing and by staying at Orange, this will limit the potential spread.

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.

There is a change to the rules around Face masks in food courts. Face masks are now required in indoor food courts at all times unless you are eating or drinking.

Face masks requirements remain the same in all previous situations and venues. 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.


Covid Protection Framework Guidance  

This has been updated to include the most recent changes and can be found atCOVID-19 Protection Framework — 

Mask Exemption Card

Face masks may not be suitable for some people who have disabilities or health conditions. It is not always obvious as to why a face mask may not be suitable for someone. 

For people who have genuine reasons for not wearing a mask, a Communication Card has been developed. This can be used on public transport as well in retail venues. The card assists in explaining why a face mask is unsuitable. 

Communication Cards have previously been issues by the Disabled Person Assembly of New Zealand (DPA). If you have an existing card issues by the DPA, there is no need to request a new one. 

New Mask Exemption Cards will be administered by the Ministry of Health and advice is available.

There is no legal requirement to carry a communication card, though many choose to do

Information on the Mask Exemption Card  which comes into effect at the end of May is available for those who are eligible.  


My Vaccine Pass (MVP) Update and vaccines

The My Vaccine Pass has now been updated.  

Those who wish to use it will be able to download an updated My Vaccine Pass.  

There is no legal requirement for businesses to use My Vaccine Pass, however, some businesses may choose to voluntarily keep MVP requirements as a condition of entry.  

The updated pass will look different to the current version, and can be requested at any time. It will expire six months from the date of issue.  

MVP will be available for anyone aged 12 an over who is up to date with their vaccinations for their age group and the type of vaccine they have received. This includes boosters for those over 18.  

Additional guidance for businesses that decide to use My Vaccine Pass  as an entry requirement is available on the website  

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 at Get your COVID-19 booster dose | Unite against COVID-19 (

The key webpage for further information on the change is Proof of your vaccination status | Unite against COVID-19 (


Catching Covid-19 again

The Ministry of Health notes that there is a risk of contracting COVID-19 again within 90 days of a first infection.

COVID-19 symptoms may be caused by other infections like the common cold, flu or a chest infection.

Ministry of Health guidance covers information for the general public on reinfection


General health advice

The Ministry of Health is preparing with DHBs for an expected winter serge of COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases such as influenza and measles. 

This includes preparing for a possible increase of the load on hospital services and other impacts in the event of a COVID-19 variant that is more infections or severe than Omicron.

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

As New Zealanders emerge from their bubbles, with winter approaching and the opening of New Zealand to the rest of the world, there is an increased risk of flu (influenza) in the community. Flu vaccines are your best defence from the flu. Flu vaccines are available to many people for free including people over 65s, Māori and Pacific people aged over 55, pregnant people, and people aged over 6 months with underlying health conditions. Additional information and advice on flu vaccines is provided by the Ministry of Health. 

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.

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

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.