Exemptions for the use of face masks

April 2024

Unite against Covid 19 banner 1 300x157 - Exemptions for the use of face masksAs you may be aware from today the use of masks or face coverings are mandatory for:
• people travelling on public transport services in, into and out of the Auckland region (except for children under 12 years of age and a person who has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering safely or comfortably — this can include a range of people such as those with a disability or asthma)
• the drivers of small passenger service vehicles in Auckland, such as taxis and app-based ride services, but not their passengers
• people travelling on passenger flights throughout New Zealand
We know that some people who have a disability or health condition may not be able to wear a face covering safely or comfortably. To help with this, an Exemption Card has been developed that can be shown when in public if necessary, for example to transport operators.
Users are not required to show the card, but they may feel comfortable showing something official that confirms they are exempt from wearing a face covering.
The use of this card is self-regulated and decided upon by the individual. We encourage New Zealanders to do the right thing and only use this Exemption Card if they need to.
Accessing the card
Individuals who believe they need this Card can call Healthline for free on 0800 611 116 for more information. Healthline will be able to provide advice to those who ring and provide a printable version of the Card or supply users with a version that can be saved and shown from a smart phone. Healthline will be able to talk through options for those unable to access a printer or show it from their phones.
In addition digital versions of the Card have so far been shared with Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) including Blind Citizens NZ, Deaf Aotearoa, Disabled People’s Assembly and People First.
The Card is available in credit card, A4 or A5 size.
Once users have the Card, they can decide whether or not they wish to use it, they will not be required to display this Card, but are encouraged to have it with them.
We are working with stakeholders from disability, health and transport sectors to raise awareness of the Card and to help encourage fair and responsible use. We ask you help us with getting this information to those who need it.
If you have any questions around the Card or need any further assistance please contact my colleagues on covidcomms@health.govt.nz.

Ngā mihi nui
Adri Isbister
Deputy Director-General, Disability Support Services