The Government has received public health advice that now is not yet the time to ease the existing restrictions and drop from Red to Orange.

Even though much of the country has likely experienced the peak of the Omicron outbreak, many regions and rural areas around New Zealand are facing an increase in case numbers.

The traffic light settings will be reviewed again next week, on Thursday 14 April.

As of 11.59 pm, Friday 25 March, a number of restrictions have been removed from every colour setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

At Red:

  • There are no limits for outdoor activities, such as gatherings and events, and food and drink businesses.
  • There is a 200-person limit for indoor gatherings.
  • You do not need to wear a face mask outdoors.
  • Other face mask rules remain unchanged — face masks are still required in most indoor settings.
  • There is no requirement to scan in or for a business to display a QR code poster or have mandatory record-keeping in place.

Worker vaccine mandates

From 11:59 pm on 4 April 2022, some government vaccine mandates for workers will be removed.

Workers that will still be covered by a government vaccine mandate include:

  • health and disability workers (including aged care)
  • prison staff
  • border workers.

Vaccine mandates remain in place for these sectors because workers in these areas have a high level of contact with people at risk of developing serious illnesses from COVID-19. For border workers, there is a high risk of exposure to new variants.

Businesses will be able to voluntarily introduce workforce vaccination requirements if appropriate to the workforce.

The importance of face masks

At both Red and Orange, there will be requirements to wear a face mask. This is because next to being vaccinated and having a booster vaccination, face masks remain our best defense against COVID-19.

International research shows that wearing them can reduce new cases of the virus by as much as 53%.

This means that by putting on a face mask you are contributing to lowering our case numbers, lowering the number of people in hospital, and lowering the number of deaths.