Wearing a face covering when you are at work

At Alert Level 2, 3 and 4 you must wear a face covering if you have any customer contact. The Delta variant is more transmissible by droplets, so face coverings are a way we can protect ourselves and each other.

Alert Level 1

You must wear a face covering if you are a driver of:

  • a taxi or ride-share vehicle
  • public transport — except if you are closed off from passengers, for example a train driver.

Alert Level 2

You must wear a face covering if you have any customer contact when you are at work.

You must wear a face covering if you work:

  • in a public-facing area at a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, licensing trust, pharmacy, food bank, self-service laundry, hardware store, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, shopping mall, bank or at New Zealand Post
  • in a public-facing area at a retail store
  • as a delivery driver to residential addresses — delivery drivers only need to wear a face covering when they are out of their vehicle
  • at a cafe, restaurant, bar, nightclub, soup kitchen or any other food or drink business in a customer-facing role
  • for a close contact service — for example, barbers, hairdressers or beauty therapists
  • at a vet clinic
  • at a farmer's market
  • at a social gathering, for example a wedding
  • by providing services while on site in a home or place of residence, except for providing childcare
  • in a public-facing area at an indoor public facility — for example, a library or museum, but not at a swimming pool
  • in the public-facing area of a court, tribunal, local or central government agency or social service provider
  • as a driver of a taxi, ride-share vehicle, ferry, bus or train used for public transport — this excludes school buses and ferries between the North Island and South Island.

If you are not customer-facing

If you work in an environment that does not have customers or is not public facing, you do not need to wear a face covering. For example, in an office building or on a factory floor.

However, if you have contact with customers at any point, for example at reception or in the lift, you must wear a face covering. This includes if you meet with clients regularly, such as lawyers and accountants.

We encourage you to wear a face covering if it is hard to maintain physical distance.

Working safely at Alert Level 2

When you do not need to wear a face covering

Employees working in public-facing places such as swimming pools, event facilities (such as cinemas or conference centres), or gyms are encouraged but not required to wear a face covering.

Alert Level 3

You must wear a face covering if you have any customer contact while at work.

You must wear a face covering if you work:

  • in a public-facing role at a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, licensing trust, pharmacy, food bank, self-service laundry, hardware store, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, shopping mall, bank or New Zealand Post
  • in the public-facing area of a court, tribunal, local or central government agency or social service provider
  • as a delivery driver to residential addresses — delivery drivers only need to wear a face covering when they are out of their vehicle
  • as a driver of a taxi, ride-share vehicle, ferry, bus or train used for public transport — this excludes school buses
  • in the passenger areas of the ferry that runs between the North and South Island
  • at a veterinary clinic
  • in someone's home — for example as a tradesperson or locksmith
  • in an indoor setting at a high school when at Alert Level 3, for example in classrooms and assemblies.

Working safely at Alert Level 3

Alert Level 4

You must wear a face covering if you have any customer contact when you are at work.

You must wear a face covering if you work:

  • in a public-facing role at a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, licensing trust, pharmacy, food bank, self-service laundry, hardware store, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, shopping mall, bank or New Zealand Post
  • in the public-facing area of a court, tribunal, local or central government agency or social service provider
  • as a delivery driver to residential addresses — delivery drivers only need to wear a face covering when they are out of their vehicle
  • as a driver of a taxi, ride-share vehicle, ferry, bus or train used for public transport — this excludes school buses
  • in the passenger areas of the ferry that runs between the North and South Island
  • at a veterinary clinic
  • in someone's home, for example as a tradesperson doing an emergency job, except if you are providing childcare.

Working safely at Alert Level 4

Exemptions for workers and customers

We know that some people who have a disability or health condition may not be able to wear a face covering. If a customer enters the business premises without a face covering, you should be mindful of this.

If you are a customer-facing worker and cannot wear a face covering, you do not need to wear a face covering. We encourage you to work with your employer to see if there are other health and safety actions that can be taken. You can also apply for an exemption card.

In general, face coverings should be worn whenever you can. The Delta variant is more transmissible by droplets, so face coverings are a way we can protect ourselves and each other.

If you are around people you do not know, it is a good idea to wear a face covering.

Who does not need to wear a face covering

Advice for businesses

  • Encourage workers and customers to wear a face covering when entering the premises.
  • Businesses and workers do not need to enforce the use of face coverings.
  • Some people cannot wear a face covering and are exempt. They still have the right to access businesses and services.
  • Some people will have an exemption card with them to show there is a reason why a face covering is unsuitable for them. Exemption cards are not mandatory, so some people will not have one.
  • Be kind and respectful of privacy when approaching a customer who is not wearing a face covering. While it is not always obvious why a face covering is unsuitable, it is inappropriate to enquire about someone's disability or condition.
  • If someone refuses to wear a face covering, you do not need to take any further action.

Face covering requirements | business.govt.nz (external link)

Face covering posters for businesses

Request an exemption card for face coverings

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.

Healthcare workers

Healthcare workers face covering requirements are not included in the Pubic Health Order that outlines face coverings. There are separate personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements at healthcare facilities.

PPE use in health and disability care settings (external link)

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