Masks have become a part of our everyday lives here in Aotearoa and many countries around the world. No matter how often or little you wear one, it can be daunting for many as we navigate this ‘new normal’ which in itself presents an array of uncertainties. “Will there be another outbreak” , “I see some people no longer wearing masks” and “When will mask usage end?”
These are all questions a few if not most of us would have asked in recent weeks and months, and understandably so!. Here in New Zealand we’ve kicked off live events, opened up bars and gyms fully and have parked (for the most part) our Covid tracing app, so why and where are masks still required?
THE OFFICIAL WORD
All of New Zealand currently sits within the ORANGE traffic light framework, meaning mask usage is as follows with official advice HERE. We’ve pasted some relevant information from the official Covid 19 website, (www.covid19.govt.nz)
We encourage you to wear a face mask whenever you leave the house.
You must wear a face mask:
- on domestic flights
- on public transport, this includes Cook Strait Ferries but does not include passengers within their allocated carriage on specified Kiwirail services or when you are on a ship that does not have an enclosed space for passengers
- at indoor arrival and departure points for domestic flights and public transport
- if you are aged 12 years or over on Ministry of Education funded school transport and public transport
- in taxis or ride share vehicles
- inside a retail business, for example supermarkets, shopping malls, pharmacies, petrol stations, and takeaway food stores
- inside public facilities, such as museums and libraries, but not at swimming pools
- at a vet clinic
- visiting the indoor area of a court or tribunal — unless the judicial officer does not require them
- at premises operated by local and central government agencies, social service providers, and NZ Police
- in the public area of premises operated by NZ Post Limited
- when visiting a healthcare service, for example a healthcare or aged care facility.
You are not required to wear a face mask when visiting a voting place to vote in a general election. This applies to people going to cast their vote, and to anyone supporting or assisting them. – www.covid19.govt.nz
As you can see, the usage of face masks is still very much an essential tool in the response to Covid 19 and slowing its spread within our community.
NEW ZEALAND AT ORANGE…FOR NOW
Heading into winter here in New Zealand the decision has been made to keep Aotearoa at Orange. This decision is key based on recent data showing a slight increase in hospitalisations and cases in the Northern Region.
Maintaining an Orange light setting means a slow in spread for the virus if it were to see a second wave within our community, and also keeping our health system functioning to keep our most vulnerable safe.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Masking up and following official advice is just as important as it ever has been, not just for ourselves but those around us. The next review of traffic light settings here in New Zealand will take place in June, we’ll keep you all updated as we progress and THANK YOU all for masking up and keeping each other safe.