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New Zealand’s New “Traffic Light” System and New Mandatory Vaccinations

Last week the Government announced the COVID-19 Protective Framework which introduces a new way to manage COVID-19 in New Zealand. The COVID-19 Protective Framework will have three levels - red, orange and green – and is expected to come into place once 90% of eligible New Zealanders are fully vaccinated (i.e. 90% of New Zealanders 12 years or older have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine).

Vaccination Certificate And A Wider Scope For Mandatory Vaccinations.

What we currently know about the COVID-19 Protective Framework is that there will be a focus on vaccinations because at all levels businesses, retail and public facilities will generally be able to remain open for vaccinated people.

Requiring a Vaccination Certificate from customers will be optional for many businesses, and businesses who choose not to require Vaccination Certificates from customers will be required to operate within stricter limits than they otherwise would.

This week the Government has confirmed that where customers need to show a Vaccination Certificate to enter a workplace, then the workers of that workplace must also be vaccinated.

The landscape around mandatory vaccinations is complex and moving rapidly. It is an untested area of law, although cases are now moving through the courts.

Broadly speaking, the following sectors are currently covered by a mandatory order requiring vaccinated workers to carry out certain roles:

  1. MIQ and borders;
  2. Health and disability; and
  3. Education.

The Government has now announced that the scope for mandatory vaccinations within workplaces will be extended further than what is currently in place because for businesses that require customers to show a Vaccination Certificate, then the workers of those businesses will also be required to be fully vaccinated. The industries that this applies to at this stage are close contact businesses, gyms, hospitality, gatherings (weddings/funerals etc), indoor and outdoor events.

If you operate a business in one of these categories then please urgently contact us to discuss how to proceed.

 

In addition to this, laws will also be introduced to cover the following:

  • A minimum four week notice period where an employee’s employment is terminated if they do not get vaccinated but their role requires a vaccinated worker;
  • Employers provide paid time off to their workers to allow them to get vaccinated; and
  • Keeping records of the vaccination status of workers.

We can expect legislation to this effect to be introduced when we move from the current Alert Level system to the new Traffic Light Framework.

 

Navigating Through The Traffic Light Framework And The New Rules

RED

Places where vaccine certificates are used

If a business is requesting proof of vaccine, these places will be able to open with up to 100 people, based on 1 metre physical distancing:

  • Hospitality;
  • Gatherings (e.g. weddings, places of worship, marae);
  • Indoor and outdoor events; and
  • Gyms.

 

These places will be able to open with other requirements:

  • Close contact businesses with public health requirement in place; and
  • Tertiary education – vaccines required for onsite delivery with capacity based on 1 metre distancing. 

 

Places where vaccine certificates are not used

If a business is not requesting proof of vaccine, restrictions will apply:

  • Hospitality – contactless only;
  • Gatherings (e.g. weddings, places of worship, marae) – up to 10 people; and
  • Tertiary education – distance learning only

 

The following will not be able to operate if they are not requesting proof of vaccine:

  • Indoor and outdoor events;
  • Close contact business; and
  • Gyms.

ORANGE

Places where vaccine certificates are used

IF A BUSINESS IS REQUESTING PROOF OF VACCINE, NO LIMITS WILL BE PLACED ON:

  • Hospitality;
  • Gatherings (e.g. weddings, places of worship, marae);
  • Indoor and outdoor events;
  • Close contact businesses; and
  • Gyms.

 

Places where vaccine certificates are not used

If a business is not requesting proof of vaccine, restrictions will apply:

  • Hospitality – contactless only; and
  • Gatherings (e.g. weddings, places of worship, marae); - up to 50 people, based on 1 metre distancing.

THE FOLLOWING WILL NOT BE ABLE TO OPERATE IF THEY ARE NOT REQUESTING PROOF OF VACCINE:

  • Indoor and outdoor events;
  • Gyms; and
  • Close contact businesses.

GREEN

Places where vaccine certificates are used

IF A BUSINESS IS REQUESTING PROOF OF VACCINE, NO LIMITS WILL BE PLACED ON:

  • Hospitality;
  • Gatherings (e.g. weddings, places of worship, marae);
  • Indoor and outdoor events;
  • Close contact businesses; and
  • Gyms.

 

Places where vaccine certificates are not used

If a business is not requesting proof of vaccine, restrictions will apply:

  • Hospitality – up to 100 people, based on 1 metre physical distancing;
  • Gatherings (e.g. weddings, places of worship, marae) – up to 100 people, based on 1 metre physical distancing;
  • Indoor and outdoor evenets – up to 100 people, based on 1 metre physical distancing;
  • Close contact businesses – face coverings for staff, 1 metre distancing between customers; and
  • Gyms – up to 100 people based on 1 metre physical distancing.

For further Employment Law advice, get in touch with Bronwen and the employment team.
bronwen@davenportslaw.co.nz09 883 4420

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