New Zealand will move into the Covid-19 Protection Framework at 11.59pm on Thursday 2 December, making Friday, 3 December the first day the traffic light system will be operationalised.
This was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today after date confirmation by the Cabinet.
“Cabinet has today provided New Zealanders certainty by confirming the whole country will move into the traffic light system on December 3 – 11 days from now.
“Setting the date now gives people, communities and businesses time to prepare to move safely and smoothly into the new traffic light system,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
The Covid-19 Protection System Framework was first announced by the Govt on 22 Oct wherein the vaccinated Kiwis were assured more freedom.
It is, however, yet to be decided which region will go into what colour of the new traffic light system – red, orange or green. Detailed guidance of how businesses will operate at each setting of the light will also follow later.
“Decisions on what colour each region will move into will be confirmed on 29 November, giving regions time to drive up vaccination rates further.
“As previously said, Auckland will enter at Red. The settings for other regions will be based on factors like vaccination levels, but Cabinet has already confirmed that no region will start at Green while we are transitioning and managing a current outbreak.
“Later this week, we will release detailed sector guidance so business and other organisations can see how they will operate at each setting of the traffic light,” Prime Minister said.
As vaccine passes will shortly be required at places like bars, gyms and restaurants, she also announced the start of a trial period for vaccine passes at hairdressers and barbers in Auckland this week .
“We’re preparing too, with a trial period for vaccine passes at hairdressers and barbers in Auckland from November 25 to ensure the transition into the new system goes as smoothly as possible the following week.
“Hairdressers have been chosen because by default the scale they operate at, with a limited number of customers at any given time, poses the least risk for the next stage of re-opening.
“Those businesses that participate in the trial must operate with vaccine passes, take bookings only, and all staff must be fully vaccinated”, she added.
This is how this new Covid-19 Protection Framework system will work:
The Red setting will be used when the virus is spreading and action needs to be taken to protect vulnerable and prevent too much pressure on health system.
Public facilities will open with up to 100 people, based on 1m distancing, and Retail will open with capacity limits. Working from home will be encouraged; ECEs, schools, and kura will open with public health measures. Regional boundary restrictions will apply.
At Orange, it means there is increasing community transmission that is putting pressure on our health system.
Everything will remain open and all current gathering limits for events or hospitality can be lifted. Regional boundary restrictions will not apply.
Green is when there is some low level of Covid in the community, and transmission is limited.
At Green you are permitted to use public facilities, Retail, Workplaces, ECEs, schools, kura and tertiary providers. Regional boundary restrictions will not apply.
Eighty-three percent of eligible New Zealanders are already fully vaccinated, but 195,786 people or 4.6 per cent of the eligible population are more than three weeks since their first shot. If all those who are overdue for their second shot got it today, New Zealand would be 88 percent fully vaccinated.