NZ goes to Red at midnight: details

Jan 23, 2022

The Prime Minister has just announced that all of NZ wil go to status Red at midnight tonight. Here's a summary and reminder of what's involved.

Nine Covid-19 cases reported in Nelson/ Marlborough region have the Omicron variant. A further case has been confirmed late yesterday.
These cases are one cluster and they flew to a wedding in Auckland. So there is an Auckland link. They also attended other events in Auckland.
The Prime Minister has reminded everyone to get their booster shots as quickly as possible.


Here are the details of how the Red status works. See the complete details at the Ministry of Helath Website.

Accommodation can open at Red. There are no capacity limits. 

Some accommodation may choose to require My Vaccine Pass. They can require you to show your My Vaccine Pass to be at the accommodation.

This includes:

  • cabins
  • campgrounds
  • backpackers
  • boarding houses
  • hotels and motels
  • seasonal worker accommodation
  • AirBnB properties
  • tertiary accommodation.

It does not include private residences.

If you are holding an event or a gathering at accommodation, follow the relevant advice:

DOC huts and campsites

Everyone over the age of 12 years and 3 months must have a My Vaccine Pass to stay in a DOC hut or campsite. Visitors will be asked about their vaccination status when they book a DOC hut or campsite. Hut wardens may also carry out spot checks to make sure everyone has My Vaccine Pass.

If you do not have a My Vaccine Pass, you can still use the DOC tracks and toilets, but you will not be allowed to stay overnight.

Staying in a DOC hut or campsite | link)

Scan in or keep a record of where you go

Scan the QR code or keep a record of where you go. This will help with contact tracing for any cases in your community.

Serving food and drink

Accommodation services can provide food and drink.

Customer-facing food and beverage services, other than room service, must follow the food and beverage rules.

Hospitality at Red


  • You can travel anywhere in New Zealand at any traffic light setting. There are no boundaries under the traffic lights.
  • You can travel for any reason.
  • You do not need a My Vaccine Pass or a negative COVID-19 test, unless you are travelling with some transport providers.
    Airlines and Cook Strait ferries
  • If you are travelling into a different setting area, you will need to follow the guidance for that area when you are there.


Gatherings can go ahead at Red, with and without My Vaccine Pass requirements, but with different restrictions for each.

Under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights), household bubbles do not exist.

Examples of gatherings that can go ahead at Red include:

  • catching up with friends and whānau
  • weddings and civil union ceremonies
  • most faith-based gatherings
  • get-togethers and parties at your home
  • club functions
  • social sports
  • funerals and tangihanga
  • most gatherings at marae
  • street parades
  • free public concerts in a park
  • community fairs

Acces to Basic services:

You will not be asked to show your My Vaccine Pass to access these places and services:

  • supermarkets
  • dairies
  • food banks
  • pharmacies
  • petrol stations
  • public transport services except air travel
  • essential health and disability services, including primary care services, specialist clinics, laboratories and imaging services, public and private hospitals, maternity care, hospice services, oral healthcare services, mental health care services, ambulances and emergency care 
  • aged residential care services as a resident
  • public housing and social housing
  • emergency accommodation for people in need.

Access to education

Children, students, their parents or caregivers will not be asked to provide proof of vaccination to access these places:

  • early childhood education and care centres
  • registered schools
  • secondary schools
  • school transport services
  • out of school care and recreation programmes.

Scan in or keep a record of where you go

Scan the QR code or keep a record of where you go. This will help with contact tracing for any cases in your community.

What Red means for businesses and employers.

  • The requirements apply by activity. If your business carries out a number of different activities, you will need to consider how best to meet the requirements for each. For example, a mall may have a food court (food and beverage rules apply), general retail (retail rules), and a supermarket (which people must be able to access without presenting a My Vaccine Pass). If your business carries out a number of different activities that can't be separated, you will need to operate under the more stringent rules. If you can separate operations, you can operate in line with the specific rules within each separate area.
  • Businesses must display posters advertising if they require people entering to have a My Vaccine Pass
  • Information on My Vaccine Pass and the verifier app.

Checking My Vaccine Pass 

  • Businesses and services may switch between requiring My Vaccine Passes and not requiring My Vaccine Passes. They will need to clean the premise/space between the two groups, and ensure they follow the appropriate rules relating to the use of My Vaccine Passes or not requiring My Vaccine Passes. You must clearly communicate what settings you are operating under, and display the appropriate signage. For example, a conference venue can host a conference for a small group of people under the unvaccinated rules (including number limits), clean, and they can then host a larger conference for vaccinated attendees. 

The capacity limits apply to the premises or a defined space. Limits include all attendees, but not workers.

  • A defined space is: an indoor area that has no direct airflow to another indoor area that is being used; or an outdoor area that is separated from other outdoor areas by 2 metres. Separate spaces must be managed so that, so far as is reasonably practicable, groups do not mix entering, leaving, or using the premises.
  • Some capacity limits are based on 1 metre distancing. This means the maximum number of people who could occupy the space if each person was 1 metre apart. People do not need to stand 1 metre apart.
  • There is one exception to how capacity limits are applied. If you are holding a gathering at a private dwelling or house you only need to adhere to the maximum number limit, regardless of the size of the house.
  • For some types of businesses there are lower capacity limits if they do not require a My Vaccine Pass, than if they do. If you have a group of people that has both people with My Vaccine Pass (or children under 12), and people without, you must adhere to the lower capacity limit.
  • Workers include anyone required to operate the business or service, and therefore includes paid and unpaid.

The COVID-19 Resource Toolkit has resources and signage you can easily download and use depending on what level of the COVID-19 Protection Framework your business is in.

COVID-19 Resource Toolkit(external link) — Unite against COVID-19

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