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Wearing a face mask

Face masks are one way we can protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. You should wear a face mask whenever you can, and there are some places where you must wear one. 

Face masks need to be secured to the face either by loops around the ears or ties around the head. This means people can no longer use items that wrap around the face such as scarves, bandannas or clothing pulled up over the mouth and nose.   

You are encouraged to always take a mask with you when you leave home so you can wear it when needed. 

Face masks at Red 

You must wear a face mask: 

  • on domestic flights 
  • on public transport, this includes Cook Strait Ferries but does not include passengers within their allocated carriage on specified Kiwirail services 
  • at arrival and departure points for domestic flights and public transport 
  • if you are aged 8 years or over or are a student who is in Year 4 or above on public transport and Ministry of Education funded 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 classrooms and assemblies. This includes visitors, workers, and students and teachers in Years 4 to 13 
  • inside at tertiary education facilities 
  • when visiting a licensed early childhood service 
  • at food and drink businesses, for example cafes, bars and restaurants. You can take your mask off when seated and to eat and drink 
  • at close-proximity businesses, for example hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons 
  • when you are at a gathering, except when you have exclusive use of the venue or defined space 
  • 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. 

Face masks at Orange 

You must wear a face mask: 

  • on domestic flights 
  • on public transport and at arrival and departure points, this includes Cook Strait Ferries and school transport but does not include designated carriages on specified Kiwirail services 
  • 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. 

When you don’t need to wear a face mask 

There are some situations where a face mask does not need to be worn.  

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

Face masks do not need to be worn: 

  • by children under 12 — except at Red for those aged 8 years or over or in Year 4 or above when indoors at school and on public and school transport 
  • at a gathering if there is exclusive use of the venue or defined space, for example weddings or funerals 
  • on a boat or ship that has no enclosed space for passengers, for example jet boat tours 
  • on charter or group tours 
  • on private flights 
  • by drivers, pilots, staff or crew of the service if they are in a space completely separated from passengers, for example pilot in a cockpit, train driver in a train cab, or a captain on a ferry. 

You also do not need to wear face mask if: 

  • it is unsafe, for example if wearing one means a driver cannot safely operate the vehicle 
  • there is an emergency 
  • you have a physical or mental health illness or condition or disability that makes wearing a face mask unsuitable 
  • you need to prove your identity 
  • you need to communicate with someone who is deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind or has a disability which makes it hard to have effective communication 
  • you need to take medicine 
  • you need to eat or drink, if eating or drinking is usually allowed 
  • it is not required by law.  

Face mask exemptions 

For some people wearing a face mask is unsuitable. 

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

Who does not need to wear a face mask 

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