New Zealand is moving to a new way of restricting movements during COVID-19 outbreaks. The new traffic light system commences on 3 December 2021 and is designed to allow greater freedom to vaccinated New Zealanders while curbing freedoms to those who choose to remain unvaccinated.
As you might guess from the name, regions in New Zealand will be zoned either green, orange or red and the zones will change in relation to the local COVID situation.
Green zones will be used where there are limited cases of community transmission and hospitalisations are considered to be at a manageable level.
If a business covered by the vaccine mandate is checking customers “My Vaccine Pass” (the official COVID vaccination record) then there will be no limits on serving customers.
The vaccine mandate generally covers the hospitality industry (café’s, restaurants and bars) but also extends to gyms.
If the business has not opted to check customers for vaccination, they will have limits on the number of customers that can be served. This will typically be up to 100 people based on 1 m distancing when seated and separated.
In the case of sports venues, this limit will also be up to 100 people if vaccination certificates are not being checked.
The orange setting will be introduced when community transmission is starting to put pressure on the health system.
Under this setting businesses covered by the vaccine mandate who have elected to check customers for vaccination will continue to enjoy unlimited patronage.
Hospitality businesses who are not checking vaccination certificates will only be able to offer contactless serving. Hairdressers, beauty salons, cinemas and gyms will not be able to operate if they are not checking vaccination certificates.
As you can imagine, this is when things are turning to custard. The red traffic light will come into play when it is determined that there needs to be drastic action as a result of the health system coming under pressure. It will also occur if the government believes that action is needed to protect at-risk populations.
If you are covered by the vaccine mandate and have opted to check vaccination certificates, and are in the hospitality industry (such as café’s and restaurants and gyms), you will be limited to 100 guests providing there is 1 m distancing for seated and separated customers.
If you are not checking vaccination certificates and are in the hospitality industry, you can only provide contactless pickups. Hairdressers, beauty salons and gyms will not be able to operate.
The information in this article is indicative of NZ tax rules and changes and not intended to be complete for all intents or purposes and does not constitute advice. It is recommended that you obtain professional advice, suited to your particular circumstances, from us before acting on anything you read.