Guidance on events for sport and active recreation

Events under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF)

Events are a category under the CPF that have specific rules at Green, Orange and Red settings.  

Sport NZ has published CPF guidance, which says that sport and recreation organisations will need to determine if their activity fits into the Events or Gatherings rules. For the majority of circumstances, it will be clear if something is an Event or Gathering, however, we are aware that there are some situations where it is not obvious.  

As a general rule, most community sports and recreational activities under the CPF will be considered Gatherings rather than Events. It is important to note that ‘events’ is an umbrella term including professional and semi-professional sporting events, community events, auctions, and private events. Gatherings are a sub-type and refer to private groups where attendees are generally known to each other. This means that while you may have called your sporting or recreation activities an ‘event’ in the past, it may not meet the definition of Event under the Framework – for example, an end-of-season game day for a club or a prize giving. 

This guidance should help sport and recreation organisations to determine which rules to follow.

Under the Order, an Event is defined as an activity organised by a business or service, for when entry is controlled (whether through ticketing, fees, registration, or any other means) that is held at: 

  • Commercial premises or private premises (indoors or outdoors), or 
  • Publicly owned premised hired for the purpose of the activity, or 
  • An outdoor area where a group of customers or clients is accompanied or supervised by a worker providing services to that group. 

It includes all normal operations at cinemas, theatres, stadiums, concert venues, conference venues, casinos and private galleries. It excludes any activities that take place at a private home. 

How do I know if I am an Event or Gathering? 

Organisations will need to decide if they think they meet the definition of an Event or Gathering within the Framework.  

As a general rule, if the sport or recreation activity is regular (daily, weekly, monthly) and you belong to the same group/club and generally know the people you are participating with (excluding opposition participants), then you should follow the rules for Gatherings. To help, we’ve provided a chart to guide your thinking.

Examples 

#1  Weekly football module - Gathering 

A weekly indoor football league would follow the rules for Gatherings, even though entry is controlled for participants because this registration is generally based on a seasonal or annual membership. In addition, players will know (or know of) all of their teammates and this takes place on a regular basis. It is likely that players will only come into contact with a small number of players in other teams at that Gathering if they only play a couple of games. 

#2  Annual touch tournament - Event 

A seasonal touch tournament would follow the rules for Events. Entry is controlled for participants through registration, teams will play multiple games in a one-off or annual tournament. Players may know all of their teammates but will be engaging with a large  number of players in other teams while playing multiple games over the course of few days in the tournament. This may make it hard for teams to work out who they came into contact with. 

However, the Event rules are only for the participants and workers (including volunteers) due to the nature of the event venue. Spectators would need to follow Gatherings rules. See more information below about the management of spectators.  

#3  Annual marathon and fun run - Event 

An annual running event takes place in an uncontrolled environment and should follow the rules for Events. Entry is controlled through registering for the event, but it is likely participants will come into contact with a very large number of participants who may come from many regions across New Zealand. This will make it hard for participants to work out who they came into contact with. 

However, the Event rules are only for the participants and workers (including volunteers) due to the nature of the event venue. Spectators would need to follow Gatherings rules. See more information below about the management of spectators.  

#4  National athletics meet in a stadium - Event 

A meet held in a stadium should follow the Events rules, on the basis that athletes would come from many regions across New Zealand. They would enter via a registration process and all attendees (participants, coaches, officials and spectators) would access the stadium via controlled entry points.  

The Event rules apply to all people attending (participants, workers, volunteers and spectators) as it is in a controlled location. See more information below about the management of spectators.   

How do Event organisers manage spectators? 

The event organiser has a key role to play in relation to managing spectators as much as possible, as they are holding an event which attracts spectators. The management of spectators will vary depending on the type of event and where it is held (e.g. indoor venue, along a public road). In all types of events, it is important that spectators, workers and participants all understand if it is a My Vaccine Pass event or not. This may require additional communications and advertising prior and during the event. To help, we’ve provided a chart below which may guide your thinking. 

Controlled event facilities:  

For example, an indoor netball court or fenced athletics stadium. 

Spectators should be relatively easy to manage and can also follow the Events rules. This is because the event takes place in a controlled facility, so spectators can be controlled at the entry and exit points of the facility.  

  • Organisers should ensure QR codes are readily available at all entry and exit points and ensure their event does not exceed the capacity limits. 
  • If you are holding a My Vaccine Pass event, then you need to ensure vaccine passes are sighted and where practicable, verified for all participants, workers and spectators using the Ministry of Health NZ Pass Verifier App.  
  • Organisers should develop their health and safety risk assessment and management plan as normal, adding COVID-19 protections in line with the CPF guidelines on top as required. 

Uncontrolled event facilities: 

For example, a touch field on public land. 

Spectators should follow the Gatherings rules. This is because the event takes place at an uncontrolled location and the registration only covers event participants and workers (including volunteers). 

  • Organisers should ensure QR codes are readily available at all entry and exit points, where possible.  
  • If you are holding a My Vaccine Pass event, then you need to ensure vaccine passes are sighted and where practicable, verified  or all event participants and workers.  
  • Organisers should consider what they can reasonably do to manage the crowds - this means they might consider how they organise spaces around the course to encourage distancing of spectators or use signs or loud speaker announcements to remind people to keep their distance from one another while watching. This would be similar to other crowd control considerations an event organiser would have to think of from a health and safety perspective. 
  • Organisers will be expected to take steps to keep the event and gathering aspects separate to ensure that non-MVP checked people do not become part of the event. They could take a pragmatic approach to enforcing the gathering rules around the event – instead asking groups of people to move apart or reminding them to keep their distance.   

Uncontrolled event location:

Where participants move around a course, for example, a marathon or fun run. 

Spectators should follow the Gatherings rules. This is because the event takes place at an uncontrolled location where participants, spectators and workers may move around a course, and the event registration only covers participants and workers (including volunteers). 

  • Organisers should ensure QR codes are readily available at all entry and exit points, where possible.  
  • If you are holding a My Vaccine Pass event, then you need to ensure vaccine passes are sighted and where practicable, verified for all event participants and workers.  
  • Organisers should consider what they can reasonably do to manage the crowds - this means they might consider how they organise spaces around the course to encourage distancing of spectators or use signs or loud speaker announcements to remind people to keep their distance from one another while watching. This would be similar to other crowd control considerations an event organiser would have to think of from a health and safety perspective. 
  • Organisers will be expected to take steps to keep the event and gathering aspects separate to ensure that non-MVP checked people do not become part of the event. They could take a pragmatic approach to enforcing the gathering rules around the event – instead asking groups of people to move apart or reminding them to keep their distance.   
  • Organisers should have specific controlled areas where only registered event participants and workers can go (e.g. start and finish lines) to reduce risks at high traffic areas. 

Organisers may also need to consider other components of their event, such as food trucks or other stalls or activities for those watching the event and any additional obligations. The event organiser would be considered to be responsible for a gathering at these stalls or trucks and in that case they would need to think about things like defined spaces / controlled access to that space  - including if My Vaccine Passes are required and number limits depending on the traffic light setting. Specific rules for businesses and hospitality can be found on Business.govt.nz.

What do workers at Events need to do? 

If you are following the rules for Events, then all workers need to be vaccinated. Workers include staff, volunteers, contractors, professional and semi-professional performers. Workers must have had their first dose when the COVID-19 Protection Framework came into force, on 3 December 2021 (or their first day of employment after that), and both doses by 17 January 2022. 

A worker is defined as any person who carries out work in any capacity for that business or service (whether paid or unpaid). This includes volunteers who may attend the Event to marshall a specific section of the course. 

For more information on worker vaccination requirements, please see Employment New Zealand.

How do we prepare for our Event? 

Businesses and services must display NZ COVID-19 Tracer app QR codes, and are required to ensure that, as much as possible, record keeping is undertaken (i.e. all those on premises must scan QR tracer codes, or other record keeping must be used). 

For posters for your Event, please see Unite Against COVID. 

For questions about My Vaccine Pass and the Verifier app, please see Unite Against COVID.

 

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