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COVID-19 Protection Framework FAQs

The following Frequently Asked Questions relate to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework. If you have a question not covered here, please direct your query to: We’ll get back to you as soon as possible during business days.

My Vaccine Passes are no longer required. Businesses and Gathering and Events organisers can still require vaccination as a condition of entry but requiring vaccination will not allow for increased capacity limits or freedoms and it is unlikely requiring vaccination can be justified in a risk assessment.  

Last updated: 4 April 2022

The COVID-19 Protection Framework and Public Health
  • Where can I find more information about COVID-19?

    More information can be found through these resources:  

    You can also email if this guidance does not answer your questions.

  • When do I need to wear a face mask? 

    You are not required to wear a face mask when you are playing sport or engaging in recreational activities, or when eating or drinking. The requirements for face coverings depend on the traffic light setting: 

    • At Green, face masks are encouraged whenever you are indoors.  
    • At Orange, you need to wear a face mask when indoors, including in retail settings and public facilities, but not swimming pools. You do not need to wear face masks outdoors, however they are still encouraged whenever you leave the house.
    • At Red, you need to wear a face mask when indoors, including at food and drink businesses, close-proximity businesses, retail settings, at public facilities (but not at swimming pools) and at indoors Events and Gatherings (but not when you have exclusive use of an indoor Gathering venue or defined space). You do not need to wear a face mask at outdoor Gatherings and Events, non-public facing workplaces and Gyms. Face masks are encouraged whenever you leave the house, even where they are not mandatory. This includes before and after playing sport or engaging in a recreational activity.  

    At Red, a face mask needs to be a proper mask that attaches around the head or ears-scarves, bandanas and t-shirts should not be used. Workers who are covered by the Vaccination Order, including Gym, events and hospitality staff need to wear a medical grade mask when in public facing roles. A medical grade mask is a Type IIR/Level 2 mask or above. 

    At Red, a coach, official or trainer will need to wear a mask unless they are at an outdoors Gathering or when they have exclusive use of an indoors Gathering. At all other times masks need to be worn unless exercising while coaching or instructing others. At Orange and Green, you may wish to wear a mask as a coach when training your athletes, particularly if you are indoors. 

  • How do we know if we have exclusive use of a venue?

    To have exclusive use of a defined space your Gathering group must be the only group using the space. This means that other people cannot mix with your Gathering. 

    If you have exclusive use of a defined space for your Gathering, then in the Red setting of the CPF you do not need to wear a face mask. However, you are still strongly recommended to do so. You must always wear face masks at indoor Events, unless you are eating and drinking, or exercising.

  • What is an indoor space and an outdoor space?

    At Red, outdoor and indoor activities have different restrictions. It is important to know therefore if your Gathering or Event is taking place indoors or outdoors.  

    An indoors space is generally a venue that is enclosed by a ceiling and walls, or other similar structures which don’t have much, if any, fresh airflow. Examples include Gyms and Halls.  

    An outdoor space is generally a place that has good ventilation, with a decent supply of free flowing, fresh air coming into the space. For example, this could be that a venue that does not have a roof, has less than four walls, or walls do not reach to the roof, allowing a significant amount of airflow 

    If your venue has both indoor and outdoor spaces, the activity that happens in the indoor space determines the rules that apply. This means retail capacity limits (1m2 of space per person capacity limit) apply to indoor spaces that people: 

    • Travel directly through to get to an outdoor space; and/or 
    • Need to go through to use a bathroom  

    When people are using indoor spaces for other reasons the normal indoor capacity limits apply.

  • How can I safely return to exercise after having COVID-19?

    Exercise is an important part of recovering from COVID-19 but must be done in a gradual and safe way. Exercise is important for regaining muscle strength and endurance but needs to be safely managed. For more information on how to safely return to exercise see here.

Vaccination and My Vaccine Passes
  • Can I require my staff to be vaccinated?

    The threshold for whether an employer can require a staff member to be vaccinated for a particular role is a high one. Employers may make vaccination a requirement for new employees (and existing employees if negotiated as a variation to the conditions of employment) only if, following a health and safety risk assessment, there is considered to be a high risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 to others (such as border workers, for example).  

    The Government has mandated vaccinations for some roles and settings, but organisations and individuals will need to determine whether they fall within these mandates or not. 

    For businesses where a Government vaccine mandate is not in place, the law includes a risk assessment process for employers to follow when deciding whether they can require vaccination for different types of work.  

    Please see information from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment about requiring vaccination in the workplace.

  • Can we ask or require people entering gatherings, events or facilities to tell us if they are vaccinated and/or refuse entry if they are not?

    Businesses can rely on private property rights to require MVPs, much like they can require someone to wear a shirt and shoes, so long as they aren’t discriminating or otherwise prohibited (e.g. supermarkets aren’t allowed to require MVPs). We would recommend that businesses/organisations still consider whether they need to implement MVP requirements given the latest public health advice. 

Events and Gatherings
  • Are the capacity limits for Gatherings and Events per facility/venue, or are they per defined space?

    You can have multiple groups of gatherings of each capacity limit if you meet the definition of defined spaces. 

    A defined indoor space is a single space if there are walls (permanent or temporary) that substantially divide each space, and the space does not share direct airflow with another indoor space.  

    A defined outdoor space is a single space if there are walls (permanent or temporary) that substantially divide each space or all people in that space are separated by at least 2 metres from other people who are outside that space. 

  • Can we hold an Event with multiple groups of people per defined space?

    At Red an indoor Event can go ahead with up to 200 people per defined space. This means you can have multiple groups of up to 200 people (based on the capacity limits of allowing 1m2 of space per person) per defined space. There are no capacity limits for outdoors Events at Red.

    Further, you need to consider as a part of your regular health and safety planning whether it is genuinely safe to be running your Event and bringing people together in multiple groups of up to 100. You should think about whether your Event is aligned with the CPF setting New Zealand is in and the need to keep people safe.  

    If you do run your Event with multiple groups of up to 200, it is your responsibility to ensure as best as reasonably practicable that there is no intermingling between each group of 200. What is considered reasonably practicable will depend on the event’s context. It is likely that it would be easiest and most sensible to have separate bathrooms, changing rooms, first aid and food facilities per group of 200 to avoid intermingling. You will also need to have separate entry and exit ways to each group’s area unless you can phase entry and exiting to ensure that no mixing occurs. If that is not practicable and facilities such as toilets need to be shared, processes should be put in place to sure that there is no intermingling at these shared facilities (such as a one in, one out policy).  

    Each group of 200 also needs to remain as is for the duration of the event. No new groups can be formed throughout, including participants moving to compete with people from different groups where 2-metre distancing cannot be maintained. 

    However, your workers at the Event can move between defined spaces. Workers are required to wear masks at all times, and you must consider how to ensure their health and safety whilst working at the Event. 

  • Can we use clubroom changing facilities, such as indoor showers and drinking fountains?

    Clubroom changing facilities (including bathroom facilities such as showers) and drinking fountains are open for use under the CPF. If there are multiple gatherings occurring in separate defined spaces which share facilities (i.e. separate gatherings occurring in different studios of a building that has only one bathroom facility), then individuals from each gathering can share the facilities so long as there is no intermingling between people, congregating or queuing in common areas.  

    The Ministry of Health also recommends ensuring frequent cleaning of bathroom facilities and drinking fountains. Face masks should also be used indoors as is required by the setting we are in (i.e. inside public facilities, but not swimming pools), and as practical (i.e. when not showering). Clubs could encourage members to bring water bottles filled from home and provide reminders about how to use drinking fountains most hygienically. 

  • Who is a worker? 

    Workers at events do not count towards capacity limits when they are present. Therefore, it is important to know who is considered a worker at your event.   

    People are workers if they carry out work in any capacity for a business or service. It does not matter if this work is paid or not-both volunteers and paid employees are workers. This means you must be carrying out work for a sports team, club, facility, or other organisation.

    Someone who is umpiring an informal sports game between friends is not a worker. Likewise, if you work for a sports facility, but visit in the capacity of a visitor to use the facility, then you are not considered a worker for the time you are there. You must be carrying out a business or service.   

    For example, if you are volunteering for a private tennis club’s master’s competition as a referee then you are a worker and you do not count towards the capacity limit.  Or, if you are a corner person for a club run boxing event, then you would be a worker as you are working for the club. Coaches, managers and any other supporting staff can be workers if they are working for a business and service. You would not count towards the capacity limit.

  • What is the relationship between the Health & Safety at Work Act and the COVID-19 Protection Framework?

    The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 is New Zealand’s workplace health and safety law.  It sets out the obligations, roles and responsibilities of businesses, undertakings (including not-for-profit organisations), officers, workers and others in managing workplace health and safety risks.  The CPF sets out the specific public health requirements for managing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. It identifies the controls you need to use to minimise the risk for your workers, volunteers, and other people affected by the work, such as customers. 

     When an event organiser is planning how to operate an event, you will need to consider both how you will implement the public health requirements under the CPF, as well as how you will continue to meet the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 requirements that may apply to your business or undertaking. 

    You can find more information about operating safely under these overlapping duties on the Worksafe NZ website.

Planning for a case of COVID-19
  • What happens if you are considered a household contact or a close contact or have COVID-19?

    If you test positive for COVID-19 after taking a PCR test at a testing centre or your usual doctor’s clinic, then you will be contacted by your doctor or a health professional. In Phase 3 you can also test positive from taking Rapid Antigen Tests at home. You should log your positive and negative Rapid Antigen Test results here. In both cases, what you need to do while self-isolating is outlined here.  

    If you find out you are a household close contact then you will need to self-isolate, while close contacts need to monitor for symptoms. You can call Healthline on  0800 358 5453 for free, or your usual doctor or nurse to arrange a test. How long you will need to self-isolate for will depend on what setting or phase of the CPF New Zealand is in. The current self-isolation times for Omicron Phase 3 and the protocol for testing can be found here 

  • What is the difference between a household contact and a close and casual contact?

    If you are exposed to someone who has COVID-19 you will be classed as a household contact or a close contact. The requirements for self-isolation will depend on what phase and setting of New Zealand’s Omicron response we are in. The most recent information about self-isolation requirements all types of contacts can be found on the Ministry of Health’s website here.  

    The Unite Against COVID-19 website also provides more information about self-isolation requirements for a household contact, and a close or casual contact here.

  • What do we do if we have a positive case at our Gathering/Event or workplace?

    If you have a positive case of COVID-19 at or immediately following your Gathering/Event depending on the phase and setting of New Zealand’s response to Omicron we are in, individuals may find out they are a close contact via Bluetooth alert and text or you may also receive a phone call from health officials to inform you that your Gathering/Event or venue is a location of interest, and they will step you through your obligations. 

    In Phase 3 of New Zealand’s Omicron response locations of interest are not published. If individuals at an Event or Gathering test positive for COVID-19, they will be supported to notify people they may have spent time with while infectious. Current self-isolation requirements are here.    

    If you become aware of a positive case at your Gathering/Event before you are contacted by health officials you will need to communicate this to staff members and people at the Gathering/Event (ensuring you do not disclose the person’s identity). Information about who is considered a close or household contact can be found here. 

    It is important that you consider what you would need to do if you were to have a positive case while planning for your Event or Gathering. It is much easier to plan for this before it happens, so do take time to consider factors such as:  

    • Who and how you would notify staff members and gathering/event participants 
    • Forming a contact register so you can record relevant information if needed.  The following template may help you here 
    • How you would identify a single point of contact as a liaison point for the Ministry of Health 
    •  How you can maintain high hygiene standards, using signage and announcements to communicate your expectations to attendees, improved airflow and ventilation, face mask use.  

    There may be additional things you wish to consider that are contextual to your sport or recreational Gathering/Event. 

    If your Event has to be cancelled because of COVID-19 you may be able to apply for support from the Events Transition Support Scheme.   

  • What is our responsibility as a Gathering/Event host to keep people safe?

    All Gathering/Event organisers have an obligation as a part of their normal health and safety planning to ensure the protection of attendees to follow the requirements of the CPF. More information about meeting your health and safety obligations in a COVID-19 climate can be found from WorkSafe here 

    You need to ensure you are: 

    • Following the capacity limits that apply.
    • Following the rules for face masks, including use at all times at events and indoor gatherings (unless participating in sport/recreation or eating and drinking) and at Red ensuring vaccine mandated workers when in customer-facing roles are wearing medical grade masks. Find more information about the mask requirements here. 
    • Promoting healthy habits amongst workers and participants and regular cleaning 
    • Ensuring people stay home if they are sick 
    • You may also want to consider how you can improve ventilation at your venue 
Public facilities, private businesses and EOTC
  • What is a public facility?

    A public facility is a premise that is owned or managed by central or local government, and used for recreational, social, community, or cultural activities and services, and are open to the general public (including premises where fees are charged for entry). They can be a mix of indoor or indoor and outdoor premises.  

    Public facilities excludes premises used exclusively for an event or gathering, and excludes recreation facilities that require membership to enter (for example, gyms). 

    Councils have the right to set policies around capacity numbers and the use of a vaccination pass to use their facilities.   

  • We are a local government-owned facility that has a mixture of sport and recreation venues and other public venues in the same building. What do we do?

    Public venues are defined as services or facilities provided by central or local government that are open to all of the public for recreational, social, community or cultural activities or services, including museums, public galleries, libraries, recreational centres, swimming pools and zoos.  

    Public venues can open at Green, Orange and Red, but must follow certain rules depending on the traffic light setting. Local councils should follow the specific rules for their gyms, swimming pools and recreation centres as set out in the Sport NZ CPF guidance. All other parts of the facilities should be managed in accordance with the traffic light rules for public facilities. 

    Councils have the right to set policies around capacity numbers and the use of a vaccination pass to use their facilities.   

    Venue operators must not deny entry to students enrolled in a registered school when they enter their venue to represent their school. Students are treated as if they have a My Vaccine Pass and cannot be asked to prove their vaccination status. This means that if your event or venue requires vaccination the capacity limits for vaccinated people still apply when school students are present.  Please see our school sport guidance here if you need information about this. 

    Note children under age 12 months and 3 years must not be asked to prove their vaccination status in any setting, whether they are representing their school or not.  

  • I have a sports club or facility that serves food and drink, has a shop, or has close contact businesses on our premises. What can I do?

    In Green, Orange and Red, you will need to consider specific rules for the commercial premises that you run at your sports club or facility, such as retail shops or hospitality.  

    If you have a retail shop or hospitality venue, you can open at the Red setting. The number of people you can have in your retail shop will depend on capacity limits, as all people in the shop must be able to be 1 metre distanced from each other. 

    For more information about safely operating these parts of your business or organisation, visit MBIE’s and WorkSafe’s websites. 

  • What are the new rules for Education Outside the Classroom providers?

    Children cannot be excluded from EOTC due to their vaccination status if some venues or organisers require vaccination. EOTC providers can offer curriculum-related activities to schools without requiring all children to be vaccinated. 

    EOTC providers will need to meet a number of conditions, including  

    • working with a registered school to deliver curriculum-related activities,  
    • staff delivering the service must be vaccinated.  

    You can keep up to date with all our guidance and information on COVID-19 and education as it is released at CPF for schools and kura – Education in New Zealand. Please consider carefully requiring vaccination as it is unlikely a risk assessment will justify their use in light of the most recent public health advice.

  • What are the new rules we need to follow for school representative teams?

    Venue and event organisers must not deny students enrolled at a registered school, entry to their premises, when they visit to represent their school. If a venue requires vaccination school students are to be treated as if they have a valid My Vaccine Pass so the capacity limits for vaccinated people apply. For more information on the rules for school sport see our extended guidance here.   

    If a student visits a premise in their individual capacity, then they are not exempt from any My Vaccine Pass requirements your venue or event requires.  

    When school representative teams visit premises supporting staff such as coaches, officials, teachers and parent volunteers are not exempt from any My Vaccine Pass requirements your venue or event requires. This includes school students who are in coaching positions, whether they are coaching a team of students from their own school, or from another school. 

    Please consider carefully requiring vaccination as it is unlikely a risk assessment will justify their use in light of the most recent public health advice. 

  • What is the definition of a gym?

    Means an indoor exercise facility operated by a business or service for which access is either limited to members, or otherwise controlled by the facility (through ticketing, fees, registration, or other means).   This includes martial arts gyms, weightlifting gyms, boxing and combat gyms, personal training studios, yoga studios and dance studios.  

    Gyms do not include exercise facilities that are available for use only by residents of a premises on which the exercise facility is located. For example, an apartment building gym which is available only for use by those who live in the building.

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