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A guide to Covid-19 regulations and mental health support

The Covid-19 Protection Framework

The COVID-19 Protection Framework introduces a flexible three-level approach to managing COVID-19 in the community:


Legislation: The Government has announced new legislation to guide decisions on what workplaces need vaccination. The legislation also covers provisions for paid time off for employees to get vaccinated.

Vaccinations in your workplace

Health and disability, education and prison workers are required to be fully vaccinated under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021. Read more

Other workplaces, where it’s not mandatory, are required to undertake a “New Risk Assessment”.

WorkSafe’s regulatory approach

WorkSafe has enforcement responsibilities under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 (COVID-19 legislation) and its orders. Read about how they can support you.

Te Reo terms

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori have produced an excellent language resource that gives te reo terms linked to COVID-19

How to talk about Covid-19 vaccinations

Below are some tools for people who want to talk effectively about COVID-19 vaccinations to people who may be hesitant about getting vaccinated.

Encouraging COVID-19 Vaccinations: A Guide for Workplaces, 2021: This one-page guide developed by The Workshop provides practical, evidence-based principles and ideas for actions to help workplaces encourage their employees to get vaccinated. Its Building Trust resource is also available on its website.

Early Resolution is a free phone-based service provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment that helps resolve a workplace issue early, quickly and informally.

Exemptions from mandatory vaccination

The Ministry of Health’s website states that in some situations, health and disability, education and prison workers may be able to get an exemption from being vaccinated against COVID-19. However, there are very few situations where vaccination is not advised. A medical exemption is expected to be rarely required.

Privacy guidelines

The Covid-19 vaccination and privacy rights: The Privacy Commissioner’s website provides up-to-date information.

The website also has information about collection, storage, retention and disposal of contact tracing information.


COVID-19 mask exemptions

Some people may not be able to wear a face covering safely or comfortably. The Unite against COVID-19 website has more information on exemptions, including who may be exempt and how to get an exemption card. 


COVID-19 vaccination team for disabled people

A 30-strong team is now on hand, as part of the COVID Vaccination Healthline, to support disabled people to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

Disabled people and their support people can get tailored advice and support for booking their vaccination appointments, including help with transport to and from the vaccination site and arranging the necessary support or accommodations during the appointment.

The team members are either disabled people themselves or allies to the disability community across Aotearoa New Zealand. 


The NZ Events Association website has NZEA's COVID-19 communications and media releases plus other useful information for the events sector.

Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission website addresses some frequently asked questions about Covid–19 and your rights. It also points to guidance issued by government agencies about your rights under privacy, employment and health and safety legislation.

Mental health 

  • The WorkSafe website has a range of resources about maintaining a mentally healthy work environment un the home.
  • Creative New Zealand has compiled a summary of the positive impact of creativity for wellbeing using Māori health advocate Sir Mason Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā framework of health: Taha Hinengaro – Mental wellbeing; Taha Tinana – Physical wellbeing; Whenua – Connect to the land; Taha Wairua – Spiritual wellbeing; Taha Whānau – Family and social wellbeing. 
  • Umbrella is a New Zealand organisation of psychologists, sharing their wellbeing expertise. Its website has a section with free downloadable resources and articles aimed at helping support mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19. It also has free e-training modules about mental health and stress.
  • Te Pou is a national centre for mental health, addiction and disability, and the host of Mental Health First Aid Aotearoa New Zealand. It has a large, free resource library. 
  • The Mental Health Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing are connect, give, take notice, keep learning and be active. Fitting these into our daily lives are important for the wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and organisations.
  • When we’re anxious or depressed, it can change the way we think, feel and act. This website has a lot of information and ideas about how to take care of yourself and others. There’s also a free 24/7 helpline.

Please contact Kate Hiatt, Creative Spaces Advisor, Arts Access Aotearoa (T: 04 802 4349 E: if you have any questions or useful information and links you would like to share.




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