Wear a face covering

Face coverings help reduce the spread of COVID-19. You should wear one whenever you can. COVID-19 spreads by droplets, so face coverings are a way we can protect ourselves and others.

At Green

It is mandatory to wear a face covering on domestic flights.

You are encouraged to wear a face covering in public indoor settings.

At Orange

We encourage you to wear a face covering when you leave the house.

It is mandatory to wear a face covering:

  • on domestic flights
  • on public transport and at arrival and departure points, this includes Cook Strait Ferries and school 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 public areas within courts, tribunals, 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.

At Red

We encourage you to wear a face covering when you leave the house.

It is mandatory to wear a face covering:

  • on domestic flights
  • on public transport and at arrival and departure points, this includes Cook Straight Ferries and school 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 venues or facilities, such as museums and libraries, but not at swimming pools
  • at a vet clinic
  • in an indoor setting at schools, for example a classroom and assemblies. This includes students in Years 4 to 13 and staff
  • inside at tertiary education facilities or when a visitor to a licensed early childhood service
  • in the public areas within courts, tribunals, 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 health care service, for example a healthcare or aged care facility.

Exemptions and requesting an exemption card

For some people wearing a face covering is unsuitable. If you cannot wear a face covering, you can get an exemption card. You can show your exemption card when needed.

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

Find a list of exemptions — where a face covering does not need to be worn and who does not need to wear one.

Who does not need to wear a face covering

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.

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

Face coverings when you are at work

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has advice about the requirements for face coverings in different sectors.

Face covering requirement for workers and customers | business.govt.nz (external link)

The Ministry of Health has information about the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in a health and disability care setting.

PPE in health and disability care settings | health.govt.nz (external link)

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