A new way of managing Covid-19

By: Tamati Coffey

Tamati Coffey
Labour List MP

As we take the next step in our Covid-19 response plan, I know many people here in the Western Bay will be looking forward to a way of life that feels a bit more normal.

Our shift to the orange setting of the new Covid-19 Protection Framework means that with vaccine passes, we can safely enjoy all of the great things our community has to offer with fewer restrictions.

The framework, also known as the traffic light system, is our new way of managing Covid-19, and it’s designed to keep Kiwis safe as we carefully reopen.

For almost two years, we’ve relied on the alert levels and our elimination strategy to keep us safe, prevent our health system from getting overwhelmed, and protect lives and livelihoods. This approach has served us well – we’re entering this new phase better placed than many other countries, with fewer hospitalisations and deaths, a strong economy, and one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

However, we’ve seen overseas that Delta has changed the game. Many countries that recently removed restrictions are now putting them back in place as they face fourth and fifth waves. Other new variants are an added reminder of why our careful and considered approach is so important. With Delta here, it’s time to change our game plan so we can safely reopen.

Our plan will keep New Zealanders safe, while ensuring we can enjoy summer with fewer disruptions and more certainty. Businesses can safely reopen, big events can go ahead, and people can plan ahead with confidence, because our high vaccination rates mean lockdowns are no longer our main line of defence against Covid.

Across all settings of the new framework, vaccine passes are a key part of our plan. They’ll ensure our communities, workplaces and events are safe, adding an extra layer of protection for people who can't be vaccinated, such as young children.

At orange, vaccine passes mean we can return to a more normal way of life. Because of the protection the vaccine provides, restrictions like being seated and separated, or limiting the number of people able to enter, are no longer required in many places if all customers and staff are fully vaccinated.

We’ll still need to keep up those important health behaviours like scanning in wherever we go and wearing face coverings when we’re out and about, but the vaccine pass allows us to do more and do it safely.

If you don’t have a My Vaccine Pass yet, it’s really important to get yours sorted as soon as possible so you can enjoy everything our community has to offer.

If you’re fully vaccinated, you can request it now by visiting: www.mycovidrecord.nz or by calling: 0800 222 478. If you’d like a hand downloading or printing your pass, or if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch and our team will be more than happy to help.

The past couple of years have been challenging, but together we have worked hard to keep our communities here in the Western Bay safe. Now, as we take the next step in our plan and shift to a new way of managing Covid-19, we can all look forward to more opportunities and another great Western Bay summer.