Rules for the Covid-19 traffic light system explained

As Aotearoa says goodbye to the alert levels, it welcomes a new system which many have told 1News they find a bit confusing.

The traffic light system turned on at midnight, replacing the alert level system introduced in March 2020.

It introduces a new set of restrictions to protect against Covid-19, but takes Aotearoa’s vaccination rates into consideration.

The rules largely fall into two categories — those with a My Vaccine Pass and those without.

If you have a My Vaccine Pass

Red - The Red light setting brings with it the toughest set of restrictions for vaccine pass holders, but in many instances, they’re similar to Alert Level 2 rules.

If you’re hanging out with others, whether you’re out and about or at home, your gathering limit is set at 100.

That’s a rule which carries over to businesses — retail, hospitality, gyms, events, and community gatherings can have up to 100 people, but that’s dependent on a 1m social distancing rule.

It’s a little different for tertiary education providers, which are open for on-site learning, but their limit is based entirely on that 1m of distancing.

Orange - Here’s where the limits really start loosening up with a vaccine pass.

There are no limits on gathering sizes at home or out and about.

Everything’s open, though there may be some spots which have a capacity limit based on that 1m rule, like public facilities such as libraries and pools, as well as retail and educational institutes.

Green - Green is go, and it’s when most restrictions go too.

There are no limits on gathering sizes and no pesky distancing rules either.

Good news if you’re sick of the ol’ face mask, too — it’s only mandatory on flights, though encouraged elsewhere.

At all of these levels however, scanning/record-keeping is required, so it’s not goodbye to the NZ Covid Tracer app just yet.

If you don't have a My Vaccine Pass

Red - The restrictions here are tight.

Gatherings at home are only allowed with up to 25 people, which is the same limit for outdoor community gatherings, as well as weddings, tangihanga, marae, places of worship and sports.

Cafés, restaurants and bars are contactless only — so it’s drive thru or delivery only for you.

There are no gyms or haircuts for you either, they are closed without a vaccine pass in Red, and tertiary education is online only as well.

Orange - Hospitality’s still completely contactless, though you can now have 50 people around at your place and at gatherings out and about.

The ban on hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms and events is also still in place — so no point shredding for RnV.

Green - Green represents the loosest restrictions for those without a My Vaccine Pass, but they’ll still be reminiscent of some of the higher alert levels.

Hospitality businesses can be entered, but only if they don’t require a pass, and even then, the limit’s 100 people.

That’s a common limit throughout much of Green, with the same limit on home gatherings, weddings, funerals, events and gyms.

You’re welcome into hairdressers that accept you now, but staff have to wear face masks and there needs to be 1m between customers for all of us.

Rules which apply to everyone

At Orange and Red, we need face masks almost everywhere, but under Green, that’s only for flights.

Vaccine pass or not, there are some places we’re all still welcome.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, health and disability services, food banks and petrol stations are all prohibited from using the passes.

As the nation enters summer at either Orange or Red, scanning and wearing face masks will be key to keeping Aotearoa’s summer Covid-free.


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