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  Here's some helpful information about face masks  

Wearing a mask

Wearing a face mask, is one of the important tools that can help reduce the spread of COVID -19, and where there are cases of community transmission to help keep protect you, your whānau and
others in our community safe.

What are the best masks to use:​​

Any mask is better than no mask but there are clear differences between them

  • N95/KN95 masks provide the best protection

  • Surgical masks are a good option, if you are not able to access N95 masks, and are better than cloth masks

  • Cloth masks are better than no mask, although not as effective as surgical masks or N95 masks

  • Tee shirts, Bandana's and other makeshift versions of masks may not be considered an adequate face covering by businesses and establishments after 3 Feb 2022.


At Phase 3 of Red

You should wear a mask whenever you leave the house, when you are with people that you do not know or who are not from your household, when you are in indoor spaces, and when it is difficult to keep physical distance.

You must wear a mask:

  • on domestic flights

  • on public transport –, this includes Cook Strait Ferries and

  • school transport, and at public transport arrival and departure points

  • in taxis and rideshare vehicles

  •  inside retail businesses, like supermarkets, shopping malls,

  • pharmacies, petrol stations, and takeaway food stores,

  • inside public venues or facilities, such as museums and

  • libraries (but not swimming pools)

  • at a vet clinic

  • in an indoor setting at schools, for example, a classroom and

  • assemblies. This includes all students in Years 4 to 13 and

  • staff

  • inside tertiary education facilities or when a visitor to a

  • licensed early childhood services

  • in the public areas within courts, tribunals, local and central government agencies, social services providers, and NZ Police

  • in the public areas of premises operated by NZ Post Limited

  • when visiting a health care service, for example, a healthcare of aged care facility

Masks do not have to be worn:

  • by children under 12, except in a school setting at Red for Years 4 and up

  • by those with medical exemptions, who have a medical condition or disability that makes wearing a mask not possible or unsuitable (may be physical and or mental health). Please
    note you may need to provide proof of identity.

  • on a boat or ship that has no enclosed space for passengers,
    for example jet boat tours


Masks may be able to be removed briefly, where it is not required by law, in order to:

  • communicate with someone who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind or has another a disability where  communication is made harder with a
    mask on.

  • take medication

  • eat or drink

How to safely put on a face mask:


  • ensure your face mask is not damaged or, frayed and is clean and dry

  • wash and dry your hands or use a hand sanitiser before putting your mask on

  • place the mask over your nose and mouth and secure with ties or loops. Make sure the mask fits snugly, moulded to your face and around your nose.

  • make sure the masks fully covers your nose, mouth and chin at all times.

  • your mask should be comfortable, with no gaps around the mask and your face, and allow you to breathe easily.

While wearing a face mask:


  • don’t touch the front of the face mask. If you do, wash and dry your hands thoroughly

  • avoid touching your face, as infection can still be introduced by touching your eyes or if you are not wearing your face mask correctly

  • face masks should not be moved during use. This includes pulling the mask up or down below your chin.

  • Replace the mask if it becomes damp, damaged or soiled.

How to safely remove a mask:


  • wash and dry your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitiser.

  • remove the face mask from behind (do not touch the front of the mask) by untying the ties or removing the loops and pull it away from your face.

  • be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing your mask.

  • if you are just needing to remove your mask for a short time (for example to eat). It is much safer to change to a clean face mask rather than try and reapply the same, already used
    mask again.

  • either place in sealable plastic bag (for washing later on) or dispose of it appropriately (see the following).

  • at the end of the process wash and dry your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitiser.

Safely disposing of single-use face mask:

  • dispose in a closed lidded bin or place into a bag and seal before putting into a rubbish tine or taking home

  • wash and dry your hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitiser

Cleaning surgical masks​​

  • if you are not unwell and do not have COVID-19, evidence has shown that with appropriate cleaning these can be safely re-used up to ten times.

  • to clean: Gentle massage under warm water and then pour boiling water over face masks to cover them for a few minutes.

  • remove them carefully from water and hang them up to dry completely overnight

  • DO NOT use soap or detergent or rub too vigorously as these will all decrease the effectiveness of the masks much more.

  • wash hands with soap and dry after cleaning masks.

Cleaning home-made facial coverings or cloth masks​​

  • wash the mask in a washing machine with detergent at 60 degrees Celsius

  • after putting the mask in the washing machine. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitiser.

  • dry the mask completely before you use it again, do not use a damp mask.

  • if you cannot wash the mask, put the mask aside, (e.g. in a sealed bag ) for 72 hours before using again.

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