COVID-19 Protection Framework: Guidance for the primary sectorTe Pou Tarāwaho Ārai KOWHEORI-19
Find out about the Government’s COVID-19 Protection Framework and what it means for the primary sector.
COVID-19 Protection Framework
The COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) introduces a new flexible 3-level approach to managing COVID-19 in the community:
- Green – used when there’s limited COVID-19 in the community, hospitalisations are at a manageable level, and the health system is ready to respond.
- Orange – used when there’s increasing community transmission of COVID-19, the whole health system has focused its resources but can manage the outbreak, and there is an increasing risk to the public.
- Red – used when action is needed to protect the health system and to protect at-risk populations.
The new traffic light system is more flexible than the previous Alert Level system. It takes into account aspects like vaccination coverage, COVID-19 transmission in communities, and the capacity of the health and disability system.
Testing, contact tracing, and isolation will continue as key tools to minimise any spread of the virus.
Regional traffic light settings
Traffic light settings are now in place for all of New Zealand.
From December 15, people travelling out of Auckland will have to be either fully vaccinated or have a negative test within 72 hours of departure. This requirement will be in place for the core summer period, until 17 January 2022.
Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions for primary industry businesses working under the framework
Is an essential worker category going to remain for travel in and out of Auckland?
From 15 December, people travelling out of Auckland will have to be either fully vaccinated or have a negative test within 72 hours of departure. This requirement will be in place for the core summer period of 15 December 2021 to 17 January 2022.
Can the primary sectors operate at red, orange and green?
Yes, with the appropriate measures in place such as face coverings, record keeping, and physical distancing. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should also be used where required.
Vaccination remains one of the best tools to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
Under the COVID-19 traffic light system, localised lockdowns will be a part of the toolkit to help manage transmission, particularly for more vulnerable communities, and in instances where additional protection is urgently required.
High vaccination rates means we’ll be less reliant on more widespread lockdowns, unless urgent action is required to protect our health system or protect New Zealanders against new variants.
Visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website for information about each of the three traffic light levels and their requirements.
New Zealand COVID-19 Protection Framework [PDF, 84 KB]
How can I minimise the risk of infection?
Vaccination is New Zealand’s key tool in protecting people and minimising the spread of COVID-19.
Getting vaccinated means you’re far less likely to get really sick and need to go to hospital if you catch COVID-19. Vaccinated people are also less likely to pass COVID-19 on to others.
In addition to getting vaccinated, there are other simple steps you can take to protect yourself and others, which include face coverings, record keeping, and physical distancing. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should also be used where required.
Can I hold meetings and events under the traffic light system?
Events and meetings are allowed under the traffic light system, but there are limits on attendance which depend on the use of vaccination certificates and the status of the area. These limits also apply to meetings or gatherings you hold at home.
New Zealand COVID-19 Protection Framework [PDF, 84 KB]
Can self-employed people access the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment?
Yes. Existing eligibility criteria can be accessed on the Work and Income website. Self-employed people can also access the Leave Support Scheme.
Frequently asked questions about positive COVID-19 cases within the primary industries
Where can I seek help if COVID affects work on my farm, orchard or vineyard?
Sector organisations have been working together to ensure farmers, growers, fishers, and others are supported if a positive COVID-19 case affects their business.
A key focus has been ensuring they are prepared and have good contingency plans in place. The sector and MPI have developed a detailed checklist to help farmers and growers prepare for a positive COVID-19 case on-farm.
The checklist enables you to list contact details for key people, daily livestock feed requirements, instructions to operate machinery and essential farm tasks.
There are also checklists for lifestyle block owners and growers.
Rural Support Trusts are also providing support to rural communities. You can reach them on 0800 787 254.
For further guidance on workplaces with cases of COVID-19, visit the Ministry of Health website.
What should I do if my workplace has a case of COVID-19?
Follow official guidance from the Public Health Unit and your Medical Officer of Health.
Further information can be found on the Ministry of Health website.
What do I need to do if my primary business is a location of interest?
Follow official guidance from the Public Health Unit and your Medical Officer of Health. Further information can be found on the Unite Against COVID-19 and Ministry of Health websites.
Am I allowed to yard cattle if I test positive for COVID-19?
Before yarding cattle, we recommend speaking to your processor and supply chain partners (such as transporters), as they will have rules and requirements around loading and transporting animals.
Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be directly managed by a local public health unit.
Does a farmer need to notify a processing company and/or transport company that they have tested positive for COVID-19?
We recommend speaking to your processor and supply chain partners (such as transporters), as they will have rules and requirements around loading and transporting animals.
Can a meat works or transport company refuse to pick-up/slaughter on the grounds that a worker has tested positive for COVID-19?
We recommend speaking to your processor and supply chain partners (such as transporters), as they will have rules and requirements around loading, transporting, and processing animals.
Can a COVID-19 positive farmer infect farm animals?
There remains no evidence that pets or livestock can spread COVID-19.
However, it’s good practice to wash your hands before and after interacting with animals.
International advice is that, as a precautionary measure, people sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with pets and other animals, as they would with people.
Frequently asked questions about vaccinations in the traffic light system
Do I need to mandate staff vaccinations?
Mandatory vaccinations are required for some workers to reduce infection and transmission.
Businesses not subject to a government mandate will soon have a new, simplified assessment tool they can follow to determine if work at their business needs to be done by vaccinated people. This will be available from the Worksafe website.
In the meantime, businesses can use Worksafe's risk assessment.
Under COVID-19 Protection Framework, will I need to seek a Vaccine Pass from customers?
The COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) allows greater freedoms for vaccinated people than unvaccinated people.
When New Zealand moves into the traffic light system, people may need to use My Vaccine Pass (the official record of a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status) to enter certain settings, like events and venues.
There are a limited number of settings where denying entry on the basis of vaccination status is prohibited, including supermarkets, dairies, pharmacies and petrol stations.
Visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website for more information.