Life at COVID traffic light orange

13 April 2022

Life under Orange

The government’s decision to move the entire country into the Orange setting of its Protective Framework (effective 14 April 2022) changes several requirements Kiwis will have become used to under the Red setting.

The Orange setting means there is still community transmission of Covid-19, but the focus shifts to protecting vulnerable communities as well as managing pressure on the country’s health system. This means there are still some restrictions and guidelines to follow.

Gatherings and visits

Under Orange, there is no limit for indoor or outdoor gatherings. All types of gatherings can proceed, including weddings, faith-based gatherings, funerals and tangihanga, as well as community events and social sports.

Businesses and workplaces

All workplaces can open under the Orange setting, although some will still covered by vaccine mandates (e.g., health and disability sector workers in particular). There is no longer a requirement to use My Vaccine Pass, although some businesses may still choose to.

Hospitality venues

Venues such as cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs can all operate under the Orange setting. Requiring the My Vaccine Pass is not longer compulsory. Public-facing workers must wear masks, but customers don’t need to.

Retail (shops and outlets)

Shops, including outdoor markets, banks and takeaway-only businesses can open under Orange. Some retail businesses can still choose to use the My Vaccine Pass as a condition of entry. Customers and workers must wear face masks.


Education services, like playgroups, early learning centres, schools and kura can all open under Orange. Face masks are now encouraged (but are not required) when inside at school, but they are still required to on public and school transport.

Tertiary education services can also open, with students able to attend classes, lectures, labs, workshops, tutorials and meetings in person. Tertiary providers can still choose to use My Vaccine Pass as a condition of entry, and masks are encouraged.

Sports and recreation

Indoor and outdoor events can take place under the Orange setting, including all community and professional sport. Gyms, dance studios, ice skating rinks, playgrounds, and outdoor exercise classes can also all take place. Again, masks are recommended but not required.

Rob Davies is part of our Commercial Disputes & Employment team at Norris Ward McKinnon.

Commercial Disputes & Employment Team