The COVID-19 Protection Framework

Our pathway to freedom

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The Government has announced the next stage of the COVID-19 response plan to provide a pathway out of lockdown and give vaccinated New Zealanders more freedom.

The COVID-19 Protection Framework brings us a world where we are freer to move and live with less disruption and offers the stability businesses need to plan for the future.


Vaccinations continue to be the key to change the way Aotearoa manages the virus, and give us more possibilities.

Once 90% of eligible New Zealanders are fully vaccinated and protected, it will be safe to introduce this new framework that does not rely on lockdowns as the main measure to stop the virus spreading.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shares a plan with all New Zealanders that will help us stay safe from COVID-19 into the future.

About the new framework

The COVID-19 Protection Framework introduces a new flexible 3-level approach to managing COVID-19 in the community:

  • Green
  • Orange
  • Red

The framework is more flexible than the current Alert Level system because we know that businesses that only open to vaccinated customers pose a lower risk. We can move up levels when needed to control an outbreak.

Click HERE for more information on the Red, Orange & Green COVID-19 Protection Framework

Public health measures

Testing, contact tracing and isolation will continue as key tools to minimise any spread of the virus.

Localised lockdowns will still be an option if we see a rapid growth in cases. There may still be a need to use wider lockdowns, similar to the measures in Alert Level 3 or 4. 

To shift between levels, we will consider:

  • vaccination coverage
  • capacity of the health and disability system
  • testing, contact tracing and case management capacity
  • the transmission of COVID-19 within the community, including its impact on key populations.

More information will be released in late November.

Vaccination certificate requirements

Requiring a vaccination certificate will be optional for many locations. There will be some higher-risk settings where they will be a requirement in order to open to the public.

At all levels, businesses, retail, and public facilities will generally be able to remain open for vaccinated people.

Businesses, events, organisations, community, and a range of sectors may legally choose to implement a vaccination entry requirement for customers.

If a business, organisation or service does not wish to request proof of vaccine, they will have to operate with strict limits on capacity and space requirements. They may need to close in Orange and/or Red levels.

For more information on how this new framework will be used to allow businesses to operate, please click HERE

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Click HERE to download the COVID-19 protection Framework poster