COVID-19 Level 1 Face coverings update

COVID-19 update – Face coverings
18 February 2021
Kia ora koutou

Following the recent cases in Papatoetoe, the decision was made yesterday by Cabinet to require face coverings to be worn on public transport across New Zealand at Alert Level 1. This means that face coverings will be required on public transport at all alert levels. There is no change to the application of face coverings for schools.

Cabinet will review the decision on face coverings for public transport and our alert levels on Monday 22 February.

At Alert Level 1, as with Alert Level 2, face coverings must therefore be worn:

on all public transport, including on long-distance bus and train journeys and most ferries
on domestic flights throughout New Zealand
by taxi and ride-share drivers — while it’s not compulsory for passengers to wear them, they are strongly encouraged to.
Face coverings are not required at school or on any school transport. But they must be worn on all public transport, including by any school children aged 12 and over.

At any alert level, children, young people or teachers and other staff who want to wear face coverings at schools or early learning services may do so. They are entitled to make this decision and should not be criticised for doing so.

Public Health advice is that children under six should not wear face coverings in any setting.

There are also general exemptions for users of public transport, including for people where, for medical and health reasons, a face covering would not be appropriate, and small passenger vehicles such as taxis and Ubers (the drivers will be required to wear a mask).

Please go to our FAQs on our website for more information about face coverings in education settings.

A range of general information is available on the COVID-19 website:

Ngā mihi
Iona Holstead