Auckland has awoken to life under orange in the Government's Covid-19 traffic light system.
The region turned orange at 11.59pm on Thursday – coming after more than 130 days of existence under level 4 and 3 lockdowns, and most recently life under red as part of the traffic light system.
New Year's Eve revellers heading to bars and restaurants in the Viaduct - or other entertainment locations in the region – are set to see some of the biggest changes of the system.
Under the system, venues such as bars, restaurants and cafes which enforce vaccine pass requirements can lift previous limits on crowd sizes, and can now let their punters not have to sit down - something which will allow for dancing the night away on New Year's Eve.
If a hospitality venue is enforcing vaccination requirements, you are legally required to provide your vaccine pass to gain entry.
Farewelling loved ones will also undergo numerous changes under the orange light setting.
The traffic light framework says it is up to the staff of where a funeral is being held and the family of the deceased to agree if the funeral is only open to people with My Vaccine Pass or to a mix of people with or without My Vaccine Pass.
If everyone has My Vaccine Pass, there is no limit to the number of people who can attend, both indoors and outdoors. That applies to ceremonies held at funeral homes, marae, churches, mosques and other faith-based places of worship, hired venues or facilities, and private homes.
If a venue chooses not to follow My Vaccine Pass requirements, funerals and tangihanga are limited to 50 people based on 1-metre distancing in a single defined space.
For those looking to either sell property or list their homes for rental during the orange setting, officials encourage 1-metre distancing during open homes and property inspections. There are no limits to the number of people who can attend.
Some things haven't changed in the new settings. In orange, you must still wear a face covering in retail outlets and on public transport.
Shops, including outdoor markets, banks and takeaway-only businesses, can open with capacity limits based on 1-metre distancing.
Barring exemptions, masks or other face coverings are also mandatory for:
* Domestic plane services
* Public venues/facilities (not swimming pools),
* Veterinary services and animal health and welfare services
* Courts and tribunals
* Specified social services
* The public area of premises operated by NZ Post Limited
* Premises operated by a central government agency, a local authority, or NZ Police
* Anyone who is not a patient or worker of a health service other than pharmacies
* Public-facing workers (paid and non-paid) at food and drink businesses and services, including within events
* Workers (paid and non-paid) at close-proximity businesses
* Workers (paid and non-paid) at gatherings, excluding performers and formal speakers.
Most workplaces can choose whether they check My Vaccine Pass for customers and visitors.
If they chose not to, they may have to follow some restrictions.
They can also switch between requiring My Vaccine Pass and not requiring one. This could happen in places such as funeral homes where they have different groups entering the venue after each other.
If a business chooses to switch, there must be no mingling of groups, rooms must be well ventilated, and surfaces such as door handles must be cleaned between groups.
For workplaces covered by vaccine mandates, workers must be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Businesses this applies to include food and drink services (excluding takeaway-only businesses), events, close-proximity businesses and indoor exercise facilities like gyms.
The Northland region remains the last area in New Zealand to remain under the red light structure. The next review of the traffic light system will be in the week of January 17.