All of New Zealand, apart from Northland, will be moving to the Orange traffic light setting from 11.59pm on Thursday.

Orange traffic light.Orange traffic light. (Source:



It means regions currently in Red — Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts — will move to Orange.

Northland is set to stay at Red due to its comparatively lower Covid-19 vaccination rate, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said earlier this month.

She noted that the Green setting allowed people to gather in high-risk areas no matter their vaccination status, and said it was “important to maintain confidence” with people through the transition.

On not moving any area to Green, Ardern said that was “only for now through the transition period”.

The next review of the traffic light settings will be on January 17.

Here’s a reminder of the rules under each level:

If you have a My Vaccine Pass

Red: The Red light setting brings with it the toughest set of restrictions for vaccine pass holders, but in many instances, they’re similar to Alert Level 2 rules.

If you’re hanging out with others, whether you’re out and about or at home, your gathering limit is set at 100.

That’s a rule which carries over to businesses — retail, hospitality, gyms, events, and community gatherings can have up to 100 people, with social distancing of 1 metre.

Orange: There are no limits on gathering sizes at home or out and about.

Everything’s open, though there may be some spots that have a capacity limit based on the 1-metre social distancing rule, like public facilities such as libraries and pools, as well as retail and educational institutes.

Green: There are no limits on gathering sizes and no distancing rules either.

Masks are only mandatory on flights, though encouraged elsewhere.

If you don’t have a My Vaccine Pass

Red: Gatherings at home are only allowed with up to 25 people, which is the same limit for outdoor community gatherings, as well as weddings, tangihanga, marae, places of worship and sports.

Cafés, restaurants and bars are contactless only, whether that’s drive-thru or delivery.

Gyms and hairdressers are closed without a vaccine pass in Red, and tertiary education is online only as well.

Orange: Hospitality is still completely contactless, though you can now have 50 people around at your place and at gatherings out and about.

The ban on hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms and events is also still in place.

Green: People are able to go into hospitality businesses, but only if they don’t require a pass. Even then, the limit’s 100 people.

That’s a common limit throughout much of Green, with the same limit on home gatherings, weddings, funerals, events and gyms.

Hairdressers are open to people without a vaccine pass, but staff have to wear face masks and there needs to be 1m between customers.

Rules which apply to everyone

At Orange and Red, face masks are to be worn almost everywhere, but under Green, that’s only for flights.

Vaccine pass or not, there are some places we’re all still welcome: Supermarkets, pharmacies, health and disability services, food banks and petrol stations are all prohibited from using the passes.

At all levels, scanning or record-keeping is required.