What are the vaccine pass requirements?
Businesses, event organisers, and organisations (such as play, active recreation and sport providers) can choose to legally require visitors or customers, participants and supporters to show evidence that they have received two COVID-19 vaccinations through the My Vaccine Pass.
If a business, event or organisation does not wish to check proof of vaccination, they will have to operate under strict limits on capacity and space requirements. They may need to close in Orange and/or Red settings.
In all types of gatherings or events, if you have a group of vaccinated and unvaccinated people, you should treat the participants all as unvaccinated when considering the capacity limits. However, this does not apply to the children under the age of 12 who cannot be vaccinated. If your event or gathering uses vaccine passes and there are children under the age of 12, it does not trigger the lower non-vaccine pass capacity limit requirements.
Businesses and services may switch between operating under vaccination pass required/not required, provided that the sequential cohorts are managed so that no intermingling of groups occurs, and rooms are ventilated, and high-touch surfaces cleaned between the groups. The switching between vaccinated and unvaccinated settings must be made clear to all involved (staff and attendees) and there should be clear processes to manage this. This does not apply to gyms or events in the Orange and Red setting.
We understand that the implementation and enforcement of vaccine passes may be difficult for sport, recreation and play organisations, as this is a big change from the Alert Level settings we are used to. It is important to remember that scanning COVID-19 QR codes or record keeping at gatherings and events is still mandatory.
How do I use My Vaccine Pass as a member or participant?
My Vaccine Pass is the official record of your COVID-19 vaccination status for use in Aotearoa New Zealand. Anyone over 12 years old who has had two COVID-19 vaccinations administered in New Zealand, or who have been given a medical exemption, can download their My Vaccine Pass.
The quickest way to get a My Vaccine Pass is to create an account on the My Covid Record website. If you cannot access this service, you can ring 0800 222 478 (with your NHI number handy). Step by step visual instructions can also be found on the Unite Against COVID website. The My Vaccine Pass will include your full name, date of birth and a QR code. Requesting your pass takes a few minutes and will be emailed to you within 24 hours. You can then print out your My Vaccine Pass or save at digital copy to your cellphone.
Your My Vaccine Pass will have a six-month expiration date from the day it is issued.
How do I check vaccine passes as a sport and recreation organisation or event?
If you are required or choose to use vaccine passes at your event or facility, then you are required to check the vaccine passes of your customers, participants, or members. You can use the NZ Pass Verifier app to do this.
- To scan a pass, press the large ‘Scan’ button. This will bring up the scanning screen.
- Point your phone at the QR code on the pass so that it fits within the target area on your screen. A results screen will appear to indicate whether the My Vaccine Pass is valid or not.
- If the NZ Vaccine Pass is not valid, the app will tell you why this might be, this could include:
- the pass has expired
- or the QR code can’t be verified
- To scan another pass, tap the ‘Scan again’ button or swipe the results screen downwards to dismiss it.
Internet is required when you first download the app, however, you can use it to scan My Vaccine Passes without an internet connection. The Ministry of Health recommends that you connect the verifying devices to the Internet on a regular basis to ensure it can verify all valid My Vaccine Passes.
You cannot use the NZ Pass Verifier app to scan International Travel Vaccination Certificates.
How do we make sure vaccine passes are used at our sport or recreation gathering or event?
Using vaccine passes will help sport and recreation organisations be able to operate more freely in the Green, Orange and Red settings of the CPF. A business needs to sight every vaccination pass, but don’t need to verify every single pass. You must also ensure people who enter the event premises scan the QR code or provide a contact record for the organiser’s alternative contact record processes.
If you are in a facility when entry and exit can be controlled, it will be easier to check visitors’ or participants’ vaccine passes when they enter the controlled facility or venue.
We recommend that in the first instance, it is the organisation’s responsibility to check and verify members’ vaccine passes when they sign up. This could be at the start of a season or when someone registers for your event. Organisers should also sight vaccination passes at each weekly gatherings (e.g. a sport module) but they do not need to verify the passes each time – see below about how membership-based organisations can verify passes on a one-off way.
Businesses that have members (such as gyms and studios), with the permission of the member may store that they have verified the pass from the member and record the expiry date. That means the member can access the club without showing their pass until this date.
We understand that for some sports and recreational activities, implementing and enforcing vaccine passes may be difficult – particularly if you use public land or an uncontrolled venue like a field.
You need to have systems and processes in place to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that all people (including workers) at the event or gathering have MVPs. The extent to which this is undertaken at each venue will vary. For example, at large uncontrolled venues where it is impractical to verify every MVP, a sample could be verified through spot checking.
We understand that this may be really difficult for organisations and are keen to work closely in the coming weeks to share best practice and help ease implementation difficulties. In the meantime, continue to provide feedback to your Partnership Manager and Sport NZ on how the use of MVP is working for sport and recreation, so we can continue to provide more relevant guidance.
Businesses and organisations can exercise their judgement as to whether a child is younger than 12 years and 3 months and therefore does not need a MVP. The obligation on them is to be reasonable in their judgement. They could, for example, ask the child how old they are, for their birth date or for their school ID.
Businesses choosing to do so must display posters or signage indicating to customers that entry is contingent on having a My Vaccine Pass. These can be downloaded from the Unite Against COVID website.
Those who have been granted a medical exemption from being vaccinated are very rare in New Zealand (likely to be a few hundred individuals nationwide). Those that do have an exception will still be able to generate a covid vaccination pass and show this in the normal way (i.e. the business will not know that they have an exemption, and verifies the pass in the normal way. Letters of exemption (including those from doctors) are not a valid exemption – in all cases ask for a pass.
Members Emailing Covid Passes
We have had it confirmed by the MOH that membership-based businesses (like gyms) may offer the ability for members to email their covid pass, with the following special conditions:
- That it is verified in the normal way (i.e. using the verify app), checking DOB and name
- Only the expiry date is recorded in the members’ records
- The email is deleted.
The last step is important as vaccine passes must not be stored in any way (including in email archives). This means exercise providers can allow members who cannot make it into the facility, or just want to do it in advance, to email in their pass.
What about my workers?
- Vaccination has been mandated for workers at businesses and venues that must use My Vaccine Passes to operate, or operate with fewer restrictions, at all levels of the COVID-19 Protection Framework. This mandate applies to events, hospitality, close contact businesses, and gyms, regardless of whether they choose to operate with My Vaccine Pass, operate at lower capacity limits, or close. They must have their first dose by 3 December and second dose by 17 January 2022.
- Workers at gatherings are only required to be vaccinated when attendees are required to hold a My Vaccine Pass. This means that workers at gatherings that choose to operate within capacity constraints set out in the COVID-19 Protection Framework, without vaccine passes, do not have to be vaccinated. Workers at gatherings where they must be vaccinated are required to meet the same vaccination timeframes as My Vaccine Pass holders – that is, they must be double vaccinated when the Framework comes into effect at 11:59pm 2 December.
Can our attendees play or participate if they have only had one vaccination?
If you are holding a gathering or event where My Vaccine Passes are being used, then all participants must show a valid vaccination pass. Participants who have only had one vaccination cannot get a My Vaccine Pass until they’ve had two doses of the vaccination, so until then, they should be treated as if they do not have a vaccine pass.
The exemption to be fully vaccinated by 17 January 2022 only applies to workers where vaccination has been mandated such as events, hospitality, close contact businesses, and gyms.
Can our attendees use a negative COVID-19 test and come to an event or gathering where vaccine passes are used?
A negative COVID-19 test is not a substitute for vaccinations for events or gatherings under the CPF. If there are unvaccinated people at your event or gathering, then you must follow the rules and limits for where vaccine passes are not used.