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


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

A new mask exemption card will be introduced at the end of May for those who have genuine reasons for not wearing masks.  

The card will assist those who have an impairment, health conditions, a physical disability or mental health reasons which mean that they are unable to wear a mask. Often due to many of these reasons are difficult or not obvious to explain why people are unable to wear masks and this has led to exclusion for many from businesses because they are unable to wear a mask. To avoid uncomfortable circumstances for these people, the mask exemption card will assist in this process.  

The mask exemption card 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.  

The cards should be accepted by businesses because they have a clear legal status as proof of exemption. 

Businesses continue to have the right to deny entry to people who are threatening or behaving inappropriately. 

People who fraudulently misuse the process will be in breach of a COVID-19 Order under the COVID-19 (Public Health Response) Act 2020. 

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. 

It is also important to keep 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 risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 increases the closer you are to a person and the longer you are close to that person. The risk is highest in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces. The risk is lower outside when there are fewer people, and when you are further away from others. The Ministry of Health provides advice on ventilation to help decrease the risk of contracting Covid.

Boosters are important for those who have had their second vaccine more than three months ago. More than 2.6 million booster doses have been administered.

The best way to protect yourself from Omicron is through vaccination.

16 - 17 year olds who have received their second vaccine more than six months ago are now eligible for a Booster.

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.  

The Ministry of Health also recommends that if you have had Covid-19, you should wait three months before getting any Covid-19 vaccinations or boosters.

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

Re-opening New Zealand to the world

At 11:59 pm on Sunday 1 May New Zealand reopened to visitors from all 60 visa waiver countries and territories. 

From 6 May residence class visa holders not vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to enter New Zealand.  

This change allows unvaccinated travellers holding a permanent Resident Visa, and Australian Citizens who live in New Zealand to enter the country.

From 11:59pm on 5 May a manual process will be used to approve traveller declarations made by unvaccinated residents. Then from 13 May they will be able to do their declaration online 

more information 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