The COVID-19 Protection Framework and what it means for tourism in our region

As outlined in the Government's announcement, Auckland border restrictions will ease from December 15, which means both fully vaccinated and those with negative COVID-19 test results can once again travel throughout the country under the traffic light system, also known as the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

This is great news for our local businesses that can anticipate Aucklanders starting to book their summer travel and accommodation across our region with confidence. It also means that with the increased number of visitors and restrictions, it will create its own set of unique challenges for us all to navigate.

We're likely embarking on our toughest period to date. Therefore, it's vital that you begin to prepare for what you'll inevitably encounter from mid-December onwards.

As tourism operators, it is our responsibility to keep our experiences safe for everyone in our community, which includes our staff, visitors and residents alike. We’re committed to help support your familiarisation with the COVID-19 Protection Framework as best we can, which will help ensure you’re prepared to operate within the guidelines and maximise the opportunities available this summer.

As a starting point, we’ve developed a few resources below that will help provide insight into some of the challenges we will face, as well as what we can do to get prepared in the meantime. The goal is to remain informed, actionable, positive and empathetic towards our community's needs. Any feedback on how we can help everyone succeed is welcome.

We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to share what is unique about this region with others this summer, and we should aim to do so as safely as possible. Here’s to making it the beginning of brighter days to come for our industry.

Ngā Mihi,

 Tim Barke
General Manager, Lake Wānaka Tourism 

Taking Action:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the COVID-19 Protection Framework - The Government has announced the next stage of the COVID-19 response plan and you’ll want to familiarise yourself
  2. Modify your COVID-19 safety plan - modify existing plans according to framework changes.
  3. Learn from Industry experience - we will be providing links to webinars and video updates from business and industry. You can watch a replay of the MBIE and MOH Vaccine Webinar here https://mbie.zoom.us/rec/share  Access password  s$9hLMy$    

Key Dates:

  • November 23- the free NZ Pass Verifier app to scan and verify My Vaccine Passes now available to download from the Apple and Google Play app stores today.

  • November 29– Cabinet will confirm which traffic light system areas of the country will be moved too from 11:59 on 2nd Dec.  It has been confirmed that Auckland will move straight to red and no area will be at green on this date. Booster jabs are able to be booked for those that were double vaccinated over 6 months ago.

  • December 2- At 11:59pm, all of New Zealand will move to the COVID-19 Protection Framework. Auckland will move to Red. Settings for the rest of New Zealand are yet to be decided on.

  • December 15– People travelling out of Auckland will need to be fully vaccinated, or have a negative test 72 hours prior to departure, to leave Auckland and visit other parts of the country. This requirement will remain in place during the core summer period, until 17 January 2022.

  • January 17 2022 - All workers covered by the My Vaccine Pass mandate need to be fully vaccinated by this date to continue to work.

Resources 

How to enforce the vax certificate process:
Official guidance on this is yet to be released but business.govt.nz has advised that customers who want to enter a business which requires the My Vaccine Pass are obligated to provide their My Vaccine Pass to be scanned, when asked. Businesses cannot accept a purple vaccination card or vaccination confirmation letter as proof of vaccination status.

How to check international vax certificates:
Official guidance on this is yet to be released but the Government has advised international passes cannot be scanned on the My Pass Verifier App.

If you have received your COVID vaccinations overseas, please contact the Ministry of Health to have your vaccination record from overseas added to New Zealand’s COVID Immunisation Register (CIR). You need to do this before you can get My Vaccine Pass. Your vaccination record and evidence above must be in English or translated into English prior to applying.  More on the Ministry of Health website here.

Vaccine Assessment Tool
A new Vaccine Assessment Tool to help businesses assess whether they should be requiring workers to be vaccinated will be available from mid-December. It builds on guidance and advice from workSafe, public health agencies, Business New Zealand and the Council of Trade Unions.

It has four criteria, at least three of which must be met before a business can require vaccination:

  • Workers are in an area with less than 100m2 indoor space
  • Workers work less than 1m apart from other people
  • Workers are routinely near others for more than 15 minutes
  • That the workers provide services to people vulnerable to COVID-19

 The tool won’t override risk assessments that businesses have already done under the existing health and safety guidelines. Businesses can choose which one they use, and any assessments done to date remain valid.

Employment Legislation to be passed urgently this week
Legislation allowing the Vaccine Assessment Tool to be created, as well as introducing four weeks’ paid notice of termination and paid time off to get vaccinated, will be passed under urgency this week. This legislation will come into effect the day after it is passed.

 The Tool will then be available for businesses to use once regulations are made in mid-December under the amended law.