NZ’s new Covid traffic light system - what it means for you

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

The Covid-19 Protection Framework, known as the traffic light system, is to replace New Zealand’s alert level system.

It will kick in from December 2 at 11.59pm, however, Auckland's border will remain closed until December 15. From then, Aucklanders can leave the city if they are fully vaccinated (have had both Covid vaccinations) or if they provide a negative Covid test taken 72 hours prior to departure.

The rules will be different for people who are fully vaccinated, compared to people who have not had both their Covid-19 vaccinations.

The Government will provide further details about the system this week.

It will be up to the business whether it allows only people who have had their vaccines in, or both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in. That could include places such as gyms, cafes, bars and restaurants, hairdressers, and clothes shops.

Restrictions would be placed on some businesses that open to unvaccinated customers as it poses a higher risk in a Covid environment.


Vaccine passes will not be needed for people to go into essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, GPs and hospitals.

Regions will be split up and put into different levels of the traffic light system dependent on risk – Auckland will automatically go into Red, while areas that have low vaccination rates will also move to Red.

GREEN – (low Covid numbers, no strain on hospitals)

- Scan QR codes and wear masks in indoor places such as supermarkets and on planes

- Travel is allowed, education and workplaces open. Retail is open.

- If vaccine passes are in use, there is no people limits on hospitality, gatherings (such as weddings, tangi, funeral), places like gyms and no limits on indoor or outdoor events.

- If a business or event is not requiring people to have a vaccine pass, limits will be put in place. For hospitality and gyms it will be a limit 100 people with one metre distance requirements, for events and gatherings the same limit will apply but people must be seated. Close contact businesses will need masks for staff and 1m distancing between customers.

ORANGE – (increasing number of community Covid cases, pressure put on health system, people with some health conditions are more at risk)

- Scan QR codes

- Wear masks on planes, public transport and taxis, in shops, public places such as libraries.

- Travel allowed, workplaces and education open with health measures in place. Retail has capacity limits based on 1m distancing.

- If vaccine passes are in use, there is no people limits on hospitality, gatherings (such as weddings, tangi, funeral), places like gyms and no limits on indoor or outdoor events.

- If a business or event is not requiring people to have a vaccine pass, hospitality is contactless only, gatherings have a 50 person limit with 1m distancing, and indoor and outdoor events, gyms and close contact places will not be able to open.

RED – (unsustainable number of Covid cases, hospitals and health providers under a lot of pressure due to Covid)

- Scan QR codes

- Wear masks on planes, public transport and taxis, in shops, public places such as libraries.

- Work from home if possible, education able to open with some health measures. Retail has capacity limits based on 1m distancing.

- If vaccine passes are in use, hospitality, gatherings, events, gyms able to operate with 100 limit and 1m distancing.

- If a business or event is not requiring people to have a vaccine pass, hospitality is contactless only, gatherings such as weddings have a 10 person limit, tertiary students need to learn from home. Events and gyms would not be able to open.