Auckland moves to Orange setting tonight with limitless gatherings

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But officials ask for caution, citing the looming Omicron in the community
Restrictions apply for events and meetings with unvaccinated people

Auckland moves to Orange Setting tonight (RNZ Photo by Angus Dreaver)

Venkat Raman
December 30, 2021

Auckland and many other regions other than Northland will enter the ‘Orange’ setting under the Traffic Lights System at 11.59 pm tonight, allowing people greater freedom so long as they are fully vaccinated and carry the necessary Certificate or Pass.

But there is an appeal for caution since Omicron is waiting to spread in the community, with a second case (Air New Zealand crew member who arrived from Sydney) reported today.

As well as Auckland, Taupo, Rotorua Lakes, Kawerau, Whakatane, Opotiki, Gisborne, Wairoa, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will be under Orange setting from tonight.

(RNZ Infographic)

Northland will remain at Red.

The government website ( has put up a Traffic Light Map, according to which gatherings and events allowing people only with Vaccination Certificates or Vaccination Pass will not have any restrictions. There will be no limit to the number of people attending these events.

There will be no household bubbles under the Orange setting.

Events for the Vaccinated

There will be no limits for the following if Vaccination Certificates are used: Hospitality, gatherings (weddings, worship, marae), events, close contact business, gyms. Without the use of certificates, hospitality and gatherings will have limits applied. Without the use of certificates, events, gyms and close contact businesses will not be able to operate.

(RNZ Infographic)

New Zealanders can do the following: (1) Catch up with friends and families (2) Organise and attend weddings and civil union ceremonies (3) Organise and attend most faith-based meetings such as Church Services (4) Organise and attend get-togethers and Parties at home or other places (5) Organise and attend functions at associations, sports clubs and other venues, street parades, free public concerts in parks, community fairs, funerals and (6) Organise and attend most gatherings at Marae.

The government will review the settings during the week beginning January 17, 2022.

Radio New Zealand reports:

New Zealand moved out of the Alert Level System (introduced in March 2020) and moved into the Traffic Lights System (known as Covid-19 Protection Framework) on December 3, 2021 and the move to Orange for Auckland and other specified areas signals the first shift.

At Orange, gathering limits can lift. Places that choose not to use Vaccination Certificates will either be closed or have public health measures in place.

Hospitality, gatherings, events, close contact businesses, and gyms will not have to limit the number of people on the premise or apply physical distancing.

Limitations for the Unvaccinated

Without the use of certificates, gatherings such as social sport, places of worship, weddings and funerals can have up to 50 people based on One-metre physical distancing, but gyms and close contact businesses, such as hairdressers, are not able to operate. Hospitality outlets must be contactless only.

Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker has urged people to stay vigilant even as they enjoy the freedom of assembly and movement and get a test if they have symptoms.

“Some people will be infected without having symptoms. It is therefore important that everyone is alert to getting tested if they have any symptoms. We are in Summer now and there are fewer respiratory viruses in circulation.”

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai said that Northlanders are used to Red Traffic Light settings. Cases are still emerging in the area and people should get vaccinated and get tested if they do not feel well.

“Cases are not spiking at this point and hence hopefully, with the evidence and all of the assessment they can review our scenario and move Northland to the settings of the rest of the country in a couple of weeks,” she said.

Vaccination rates for Northland are 88% for the first dose and 84% for the second.

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