The COVID-19 Protection Framework: Are you ready?

At 11.59pm on Thursday, December 2, New Zealand will move to the new ‘Traffic Light’ Protection Framework. 

The COVID-19 Protection Framework brings us a world where we are freer to move and live with less disruption and offers the stability businesses need to plan for the future.

It introduces a new traffic light system to manage COVID-19 in the community:

  • Green
  • Orange
  • Red

The framework is more flexible than the current Alert Level system because we know that businesses that only open to vaccinated customers pose a lower risk. We can move up levels when needed to control an outbreak.

What colour when?

Green is when there are some COVID-19 cases in the community, and sporadic imported cases. Community transmission will be limited and COVID-19 hospitalisations will be at a manageable level. The health system will be ready to respond, including primary care, public health, and hospitals.

At Orange, there will be increasing community transmission that is putting pressure on our health system. The whole of health system will focus its resources, but can continue to manage primary care, public health, and hospitals. There may also be an increasing risk for at-risk people.

At Red, action will need to be taken to protect both at-risk people and protect our health system from an unsustainable number of hospitalisations.

Restrictions within each colour will vary for businesses depending on whether or not they are asking for vaccination certificates. 

My Vaccine Pass

My Vaccine Pass is an official record of your COVID-19 vaccination status for use in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Your My Vaccine Pass will include your name, date of birth and a QR code. You can save this pass on a digital device, like your phone, or print a physical copy.

When New Zealand moves into the COVID-19 Protection Framework, you may need to use My Vaccine Pass to enter events and venues. Businesses may ask for photo ID when you show My Vaccine Pass.

You may need to show it in a range of public settings. These could include:

  • events
  • hospitality
  • close contact businesses, such as hairdressers and beauticians
  • retail
  • sport
  • faith-based gatherings.

Checking people’s My Vaccine Pass will be optional for many locations.

You will not need to show proof of vaccination to access essential services like:

  • supermarkets
  • pharmacies
  • health and disability services
  • food banks
  • petrol stations
  • public transport, for example buses, trains and ferries
  • schools and early learning service providers
  • housing and housing support services.

Children under 12 do not need to show proof of vaccination.

COVID-19 Traffic Light Protection Framework

Requiring a My Vaccine Pass will be optional for many locations. There will be some higher-risk settings where they will be a requirement in order to open to the public.

At all levels, businesses, retail, and public facilities will generally be able to remain open for vaccinated people.

Businesses, events, organisations, community, and a range of sectors may legally choose to implement a vaccination entry requirement for customers.

If a business, organisation or service does not wish to request proof of vaccine, they will have to operate with strict limits on capacity and space requirements. They may need to close in Orange and/or Red levels.

  • Businesses that do require proof of vaccination status – My Vaccine Pass – should verify each customer’s My Vaccine Pass using NZ Pass Verifier. This includes businesses who choose to operate under My Vaccine Pass rules in order to be open (such as hospitality)
  • Businesses who have opted to require My Vaccine Pass in order to operate under the required rules will also need to verify each customer’s My Vaccine Pass using NZ Pass Verifier
  • Businesses who have opted to require My Vaccine Pass, for example after having completed a health and safety risk assessment, should scan each customer’s My Vaccine Pass with NZ Pass Verifier.
  • Some businesses are prohibited from asking for or scanning passes, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, all health and disability services, food banks or petrol stations.
  • Some businesses who are not requiring staff to be vaccinated may choose not to require My Vaccine Pass for entry. For example, retail businesses may not.

How you use the verifier app will depend on your sector or the choices you have made about how you will operate under the new framework.

Customers wanting to enter a business that is requiring the My Vaccine Pass are obligated to provide their My Vaccine Pass to be scanned, when asked.

Once final decisions are made, more detailed guidance will be available about verifying passes.

Content sourced from and Unite Against COVID-19. 

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