COVID-19 Protection Framework ends

At 11.59pm on Monday 12 September 2022, the COVID-19 Protection Framework came to an end after more than two years since New Zealand reported its first case of COVID-19.

Also known as the ‘traffic-light system’, which was introduced at the end of 2021 (replacing the four-tiered alert system that was implemented on 21 March 2020), the changes have been referred to by Prime Minister Ardern as a “milestone” in New Zealand’s COVID-19 response.

One of the key changes is that all Government vaccine mandates will end on Monday 26 September 2022, although employers can still require their employees to be vaccinated for health and safety reasons.

International travellers and air crew are also no longer required to be vaccinated before entering New Zealand.

Further, while mask wearing requirements have been dropped, this excludes certain healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and aged care facilities, and some workplaces may still request people to wear masks. Masks are also encouraged in confined spaces and among vulnerable people.

Individuals who have contracted COVID-19 are still required to isolate for 7 days and wear a facemask in certain healthcare facilities, such as hospitals.

Household contacts no longer need to isolate for 7 days, but are recommended to take rapid antigen test each day for a period of five days.

These changes have come about due to the country’s COVID-19 case numbers falling, high level of vaccination, low levels of hospital admissions for COVID-19 and increased access to antiviral medicines to treat COVID-19.

If you require advice on how the changes affect you or your workplace, specifically if you consider that your business has health and safety reasons to maintain vaccination requirements, then please reach out to our nationwide Employment Team.

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