Wear a face covering

Face coverings can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. You must wear a face covering in some locations. Keep your community safe, and cover for each other.

Latest update — 29 November 2021

We are working to update this page. More information will be available before New Zealand moves to the traffic light settings.

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Wearing a face covering helps stop the spread of COVID-19

Wearing a face covering helps keep you and others safe. Face coverings are particularly useful in poorly ventilated indoor spaces and when physical distancing is hard. They stop droplets spreading when someone speaks, laughs, coughs or sneezes. This includes someone who has COVID-19 but feels well or has no obvious symptoms.

Face coverings are one part of keeping yourself and others safe. Our strategy to protect New Zealand against COVID-19 is based on our border protections, testing, contact tracing, vaccination, and other healthy habits, like washing hands and physical distancing.

Request an exemption card

If you cannot wear a face covering, you can get an exemption card. You can show your exemption card when needed.

You can request a card from:

You should only request an exemption card if you have a disability or health condition that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable.

Types of mask or face covering

Wearing a face covering helps keep you and others safe. They are particularly useful when physical distancing is not possible.

Face coverings are an extra protective physical barrier to prevent you from spreading diseases to others. It could also help protect you from becoming infected. A face covering needs to go over your nose and mouth.

A suitable reusable or disposable face covering is needed to help protect against the airborne spread of COVID-19.

  • A single-use face covering can only be worn once, and we recommend you throw it away after wearing it. Put it in a rubbish bin, or in a bag and throw it out. Do not put face coverings in the recycling.
  • Fabric reusable face coverings can be washed and reused.

A face shield is not recommended as it is less effective than a face covering that covers your nose and mouth. Dust masks are also not recommended, as they have a one-way valve which can allow droplets to spread.

Many stores and online retailers now offer face coverings. If you do not have a face covering, you do not need to buy one. You can make one with what you have available at home.

How to make a face covering

How to wear a face covering safely

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