It's time to hit the dance floor - New Zealand will be moving from Red to the Orange traffic light setting from 11.59pm tonight. 

At Orange, there will be no limits on gathering numbers and there are no distancing requirements at venues. The seated and separated rule for hospitality venues did not apply to Orange. 

People will still need to wear a face mask in many indoor locations but people do not need to wear a face mask outdoors. 

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, who made the announcement on Wednesday, said “over the past few weeks we’ve seen a sustained reduction in cases and hospitalisations despite the relaxation of settings, so we’re confident a move to Orange can lock in those gains while helping the country return to a greater degree of normality". 

The next review of the traffic light setting will take place in mid-May. 

“Wearing a face mask at Orange is still important, especially with capacity limits removed. People are required to wear a face mask in many indoor settings. Next to being vaccinated and having a booster, face masks are our main defence against Covid-19 at Orange."

Hipkins said Omicron was still in the community and the threat of new variants arriving here is still a risk. 

"I urge everyone to continue to be cautious and think about the health of others, especially those who are immunocompromised or at higher risk of long-term health impacts from infection.

“It’s also important to make a plan in case you get COVID-19 on holiday. If you’re not using your own vehicle to travel – such as being reliant on airplane or public transport - you need to make sure you can isolate where you are."

Where you have to wear face masks

According to the Unite Against Covid-19 website, during Orange, you have to wear a face mask: 

  • on domestic flights
  • on public transport
  • at indoor arrival and departure points for domestic flights and public transport
  • if you are aged 12 years or over on Ministry of Education-funded school transport and public transport
  • in taxis or ride share vehicles
  • inside a retail business, for example supermarkets, shopping malls, pharmacies, petrol stations, and takeaway food stores
  • inside public facilities, such as museums and libraries, but not at swimming pools
  • at a vet clinic
  • visiting the indoor area of a court or tribunal — unless the judicial officer does not require them
  • at premises operated by local and central government agencies, social service providers, and NZ Police
  • in the public area of premises operated by NZ Post Limited
  • when visiting a healthcare service, for example a healthcare or aged care facility.

In Orange, people working at a gathering must wear a face mask, according to the Unite Against Covid-19 website. 

Workers must wear a medical grade face mask: 

  • in a food and drink business or service
  • in a close-proximity business, for example if you are a hairdresser
  • at an event

Top Images: The country's will be moving to the Orange Traffic Light setting which means there are no limits on gathering numbers. (File photo) Photo: Michael Madden-Smith/Re:

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