28 February 2024

Medical masks must for public-facing roles, teachers of Years 4+

New mask requirements have come in to help keep people safe as country prepares for Omicron.

From 11:59pm last night (3 February) medical-grade masks (Type IIR/Level 2 or above) became mandatory for those people who fall under a vaccine mandate and are in public-facing roles at work, including teachers of students in years 4 to 13. 

Masks can no longer be a t-shirt, bandana or scarf. It needs to cover your mouth and nose, and attach with ear or head loops.

For everyone else, masks are still mandatory on flights, public transport, in taxis, retail, public facilities, and in education for Year 4 and up. They are also now mandatory in close proximity businesses, food and drink businesses, at public events and gatherings.

“Get boosted, and wear a mask when you can’t distance from others. We will have a much better chance of facing the virus if we are well prepared, ” COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

“Ensuring you have the right mask, and that it is worn properly, will improve the overall effectiveness of wearing them and help reduce transmission of COVID-19, including Omicron,” he said today.

Some of the current face mask rules are:

  • Workers who fall under a legal vaccine mandate and are in a public-facing role will be required to wear a medical-grade mask (Type IIR/Level 2 or above).
  • Children in Year 4 and up will need to wear a mask on Ministry of Education funded school transport services and public transport, as well as in school. Teachers of students in years 4 to 13 are required to wear medical-grade masks, as above. 
  • Everyone else must wear masks in close-proximity businesses, food and drink businesses, at events and gatherings. You will still be able to remove your mask when eating and drinking.
  • This must be an actual mask with ear or head loops that covers both the nose and mouth properly and fits against the face. That means no more scarves, bandanas, or t-shirts pulled up.
  • Most gatherings where guests have exclusive use of a defined space won’t require guests to wear a mask, such as weddings. Workers (including volunteers) will continue to be required to wear a mask.
  • Masks are also not required when using gyms or swimming pools, however it is encouraged when moving around or in close proximity to others.
  • People are not required to wear masks in non-public facing workplaces, but all employers should continue to think about mask use policies that protect their workforce.
  • Masks are required on domestic flights(including arrival/departure points), public transports and in taxis or shared rides
  • You must wear a face mask inside at tertiary education facilities

This list is not exhaustive and people are encouraged to wear a face mask whenever they leave the house.

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