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COVID-19 Sector Update - 26 November

26 November 2021

Kia ora koutou,

I hope this email finds you well. 

The guidance we are about to share will be much anticipated. It is the first update on the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF) as it relates to play, active recreation and sport. In conjunction with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) , we have worked through your feedback and input from across the sector to produce guidelines that we hope are clear and workable. As some detail about the CPF is still being finalised, we are releasing a high level ‘at a glance’ view first. This will be followed by detailed sector guidance next week. You can use this information to begin your planning. 

We know you will have many questions that emerge in translating these guidelines into your operational contexts. Over the next week, we will be offering a series of opportunities to deep dive into specific examples and scenarios to support implementation. While we firm these up, you can contact your Partnerships Manager for immediate support and also send questions to: . This inbox is the fastest way to gain support from our policy team.

COVID-19 Protection Framework transition timings

  • All of New Zealand will transition to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF) at 11.59pm on 2 December 2021. 
  • The first day the CPF will be operationalised is 3 December 2021. Auckland and those parts of the country with lower vaccination rates will initially move into the new system at Red, the highest level in the CPF. 
  • The rest of the country will move to Orange. Cabinet will make decisions about regional settings on 29 November. 

Government’s CPF framework can be found here.

Our new COVID-19 Protection Framework Guidance

Sport NZ’s new guidance is available on our website here. Both the existing alert levels and new CPF guidance can be found on our site, noting we do not transition to the new CPF until 3 December.  

As we build towards the cutover, we will promote the guidance more widely, including on our social media channels. At a high level, the traffic lights respond to the following community conditions: 

  • Red is designed to protect at-risk people and the health system from an unsustainable number of hospitalisations.   
  • Orange is designed to reduce increasing community transmission that is putting pressure on the public health system and at-risk people.  
  • Green is designed to minimise the cases of COVID-19 community transmission.

Key principles of the CPF settings for play, recreation and sport

  • All outdoor parks, fields and playgrounds can open for use at red, orange and green
  • Gyms can open at red, orange and green if vaccine passes are in use
  • Sport and recreational facilities can open but will need to consider specific rules for the commercial premises that they run such as cafes. More guidance about this can be found on MBIE’s website
  • When participating at council-owned pools and recreation centres, the guidance for Public Facilities applies
  • For community sport and recreation played elsewhere, the rules for Gatherings generally apply. The number of people that can meet at the Gathering depends on whether vaccine passes are required and checked or not
  • Note that separate guidance is being prepared for events; the definitions for this are being confirmed and will be provided in a separate fact sheet as soon as possible. Sport and recreation organisers will need to decide if they operate as a Gathering or an Event
  • A Gathering organiser, venue or facility need to make the choice to ask for proof of vaccination. In the first instance, organisations and venues owners should talk to each other about the plan to safely run the sport or recreational activities under the CPF
  • There can be multiple Gatherings at one venue, however each Gathering needs to take place in a defined space with distance maintained between groups. Spectators at an outdoor gathering can be treated as a separate gathering and the same limits apply to them
  • There are no requirements for physical distancing while playing / participating; and you do not need to wear a mask when taking part 
  • You can cross regional boundaries, and move from red to orange for example, if you have a vaccine pass and/or a proof of a negative COVID-19 test.  You should abide by the relevant settings for the area you visit; you no longer take your home settings with you. If you’re sick, you should stay at home.

You can view the detailed ‘At a Glance’ guidance here. More detailed guidance will be published early next week. 

One feature of the new guidance is moving away from Alert Level rules and language. For example, bubbles no longer exist and you no longer need to take your Alert Level with you when travelling. View the CPF as a completely new context. 

COVID-19 Protection Framework implementation support

Over the next week, we will create a series of opportunities to deep dive into specific examples and scenarios to support implementation of the framework. This includes a webinar series as well as detailed fact sheets on topics such as operating gatherings and events, school sport, field usage and vaccine pass checks. We will monitor questions into the Covid-19 inbox to ensure we pick up on commonly-asked-questions, so feel free to propose topics through this method. More detail on these webinars will come next week. 

Getting help and guidance from Sport NZ

As always, please send questions directly to your Partnership Manager if you have one or send your query to: Note that anyone in the sector is welcome to sign up to Sector Update here.


Thank you to everyone who, over the past few weeks, has given their time and provided input into the development of the CPF guidance for our sector. We have aggregated a range of perspectives across operational contexts and advocated as strongly as possible for conditions that enable sport, active recreation and play, balancing all-important health and safety considerations

Keeping our nation moving and encouraging participants to have confidence getting back to sport and recreation is key. With participation levels negatively affected by the pandemic, we continue to advance thinking around how to promote participation, build confidence in health and safety measures and overall, support those who’s activity levels have been impacted.

Thanks again. Whatever help we can provide, please ask. 

Ngā mihi, 
Raelene Castle

If you require an accessible version of any content on the site please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

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