Health guidance for summer

Stay safe from COVID-19 during the summer. This guidance can help you prevent or minimise the spread of COVID-19 during what can be a busy social period.

Download COVID-19 key summer health messages (PDF, 112 KB) or read below.

Get vaccinated

Vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19, so we encourage you to be fully vaccinated before you go on holiday. 

If you are at home

If you are unwell or have been exposed to a COVID-19 case, stay at home. Do not travel or take part in events or activities if you are sick. Contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice and to arrange to get tested.

If you are travelling

If you become unwell or have been exposed to a COVID-19 case while on holiday away from home, contact Healthline or check the Healthpoint website for details of local health professionals who can advise whether and where you should be tested. If you are advised to get a test, please do so as soon as possible; do not wait until you get home to get tested. If you are symptomatic, isolate until you receive your test result.

If you test positive for COVID-19 while on holiday, a health official will discuss your relevant circumstances and advise you as to what you should do. This could be to stay where you are, make plans to isolate elsewhere or to return directly to your home. You should be able to discuss your options with the health official who is managing your care and agree on a plan that reduces the risk to others.

If you are unable to return home safely, you will be supported to isolate in accordance with the COVID-19 Care in the Community programme.

If you are isolating while on holiday or at home, follow the isolation guidance on the Ministry of Health website. Read more: if you become unwell or test positive for COVID-19 while on holiday.

If it is safe for you to return to your home, you will only be able to do this if you or a whānau member are driving. You must not use public transport or undertake any long-distance road travel that requires an overnight stay or interisland travel. You should drive directly to your home, making as few stops as possible and minimising your contact with other people. Remember to scan wherever you go, wear a face covering when not in the car, and maintain social distancing in public spaces. If you are using a borrowed or rental car, you will need to advise the car owner or car rental service so they can take steps to thoroughly clean the vehicle afterwards.


Testing services will be available throughout the Christmas, New Year and holiday period. If you need to get a test, call Healthline or check Healthpoint for details of the nearest testing service and find out when they are open.

Rapid antigen testing is only available for unvaccinated travellers over 12 years and 3 months without COVID-19 symptoms. Read more: testing over the holiday break for unvaccinated travellers.


Wear a mask or face covering when out and about. See the current guidance on wearing a mask or face covering.   


Scan everywhere you go or manually update your digital diary using the NZ COVID Tracer App or keep a paper-based record of where you’ve been. This is especially important when on holiday because later you may not remember all the locations you have visited or the people you have seen. Keep your phone handy to make scanning quick and easy. Businesses and locations are required to make sure people can easily keep a record of when they visit. 


Have your My Vaccine Pass ready, either on your phone or a paper copy, for places that require proof of vaccination to enter. A paper copy of your My Vaccine Pass is a useful back-up to keep with you, in case you lose your phone, or it has run out of battery.

Be prepared

Consider packing a kit that contains hand sanitiser and masks or face coverings - you never know what facilities will be available at the places you’ll be visiting.

Have backup plans should the COVID Protection Framework setting change.

Make sure you are aware of the risk that COVID-19 might affect your holiday plans and plan for this in case it happens.

Always do the usual

Maintain good hygiene practices:

  • Washing and drying your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser.
  • Remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Cleaning ‘high touch’ surfaces and objects regularly.
  • Wearing a mask or face covering and try and keep one with you at all times - see the current guidance on wearing a mask or face covering.   
  • Maintaining social distancing when out and about, especially in crowded places.

Red, orange, green – know the traffic light setting

Be aware of the current COVID Protection Framework setting and any additional measures you need to take to protect yourself and others.

Look out for yourself and others

Look after yourself and your whānau this festive season and summer holidays; take any opportunity to rest and enjoy a break.

We all need a bit of support from time-to-time, and if you or someone you know is struggling, there is free help available. Free call or text 1737 any time, 24 hours a day. You can also call Lifeline on 0800 543354 or text HELP to 4357. See the All Right? website for more.

Hosting gatherings for friends and whānau

If you or anyone in your home is sick, do not host gatherings or invite people over. It might be tempting to continue with your Christmas plans, but you play an important role in protecting others from becoming unwell, including from COVID-19, by limiting their exposure to anyone who is sick.

Encourage friends and whānau who are unwell to get tested for COVID-19. Do not place pressure on people to attend events if they are sick.

If you are hosting or inviting people into your home:

  • Encourage guests to wash and dry their hands or to sanitise their hands upon arrival and practice good hygiene. If possible, have some hand sanitiser available for everyone to use.
  • Consider having windows or doors open to provide ventilation. Weather permitting, try and host your event outdoors.
  • Try and avoid shared utensils and limit the number of people preparing, handling and serving food.
  • Keep a note of all the people who visit you at home, or at your holiday destination, or create your own QR code and encourage those who visit to scan in with the NZ COVID Tracer App. Read more about creating you own QR code.
  • Have backup plans should the COVID Protection Framework setting change.

Christmas staff parties (messages for party hosts)

  • Ensure everyone who attends is well. Take a zero-tolerance approach to staff attending who are unwell.
  • Encourage those who attend to scan in at the venue with the NZ COVID Tracer App.
  • Emphasise hand-washing - have hand washing or sanitising available for your attendees.
  • Consider outdoor venues that allow for social distancing.
  • Limit the size of your event to the smallest group possible or hold several smaller events.
  • Have backup plans should the COVID Protection Framework setting change.

Socialising over the holiday period

  • If you are unwell, stay at home. 
  • Take note of who you socialise with. If you mix with new people, keep a note of who they are.
  • Have My Vaccine Pass ready, either on your phone or a paper copy, for places that require proof of vaccination to enter.
  • Remember to scan into places using the NZ COVID-19 Tracer App. You might not be able to remember all the places you visit, so get into the habit of scanning in every time you enter a new place.
  • Wash or sanitise your hands upon entering and exiting venues. Keep some hand sanitiser in your pockets or bag. 

Going to an event 

  • Do not attend an event if you are feeling unwell; please stay at home.
  • If you begin to experience COVID-19 symptoms, go directly home or to your accommodation. Contact Healthline or your health professional who can advise whether you should be tested.  If you are advised to get a test, please do so; do not wait to get tested.
  • Use the NZ COVID Tracer App to scan in on all public transport (including taxis, buses and trains) or keep a record of how, when and what route you took to get to the event.
  • Scan in with the NZ COVID Tracer App upon arrival at the event and take note of your seat number or the area you were in.
  • Wear a mask or face covering.
  • Practice good hygiene by washing or sanitising your hands regularly, particularly upon entering and leaving the event. Sneeze or cough into your elbow.
  • Have My Vaccine Pass ready, either on your phone or a paper copy, for places that require proof of vaccination to enter.

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