New COVID-19 Protection Framework Guidance

The COVID-19 Protection Framework, also known as the traffic light system, will replace the Alert Level system at 11.59 pm on Thursday 2 December 2021. 

About the framework

The COVID-19 Protection Framework signals a new chapter in our response to COVID-19. The new Framework allows businesses to open and operate in a way that is as close to normal for vaccinated people while minimising the virus’ spread.  This helps keep vulnerable people and those that can’t be vaccinated right now safe.

The Framework empowers people and business to take responsibility for keeping COVID-19 down. Having a highly vaccinated population that regularly uses their My Vaccine Pass means we will be better able to protect our hospitals and health system.

The guidance and advice on this website is interim. It will be updated once the COVID-19 Protection Framework Order is issued.

Framework levels

The framework involves a traffic light system, with red, orange and green levels.

Red will be used if there’s a need to protect both at-risk people and our health system from an unsustainable number of hospitalisations.

Face coverings will be mandatory on flights, public transport, in taxis, retail, public facilities, and recommended whenever leaving the house.
Orange will be used when there’s increasing community transmission of COVID-19.

Face coverings will be mandatory on flights, public transport, in taxis, retail, public facilities, and encouraged elsewhere.
Green will be used when there are some COVID-19 cases in the community.

Face coverings will be mandatory on flights

What it means for business

  • The requirements apply by activity. If your business carries out a number of different activities, you may need to apply different rules. For example, a mall may have a food court (food and beverage rules apply), general retail (retail rules), and a supermarket (which people must be able to access without presenting a My Vaccine Pass).
  • Businesses must display posters advertising if they require people entering to have a My Vaccine Pass
  • Information on My Vaccine Pass and the verifier app.

Checking My Vaccine Pass 

  • You may switch between operating under My Vaccine Pass is required/not required, as long as your premises are cleaned between groups. For example, a conference venue can host a conference for a small group of people under the unvaccinated rules, clean, and they can then do a larger gathering for vaccinated. You must clearly communicate what settings you are operating under, and display any required signage.

The capacity limits apply to the premises or a defined space. Limits include all attendees, but not workers.

  • A defined space is an indoor area that has no direct airflow to another indoor area that is being used; or an outdoor area that is separated from other outdoor areas by 2 metres. Separate spaces must be managed so that, so far as is reasonably practicable, groups do not mix entering, leaving, or using the premises.
  • Some capacity limits are based on 1 metre distancing. This means the maximum number of people who could occupy the space if each person was 1 metre apart. People do not need to stand 1 metre apart.
  • There is one exception to how capacity limits are applied. If you are holding a gathering at a private dwelling or house you only need to adhere to the maximum number limit, regardless of the size of the house.
  • For some types of businesses there are lower capacity limits for if they do not require a My Vaccine Pass, than if they do. If you have a group of people that has both people with My Vaccine Pass, and people without (excluding children), you must adhere to the lower capacity limit.
  • Workers include anyone required to operate the business or service, and therefore includes paid and unpaid.

See detailed guidance on what each level of the COVID-19 Protection Framework means for your business or service (click on industry title below for more information).

Accommodation services
Backpackers, dormitories, commercial campgrounds, all other accommodation.
Close contact services
Barbers, beauty parlours, hairdressers, nail salons, non-medical message, tattoo parlours, close-contact social services and some in-home aid, but excluding health services.
Entertainment, recreation and exercise
Entertainment, recreation and exercise venues including cinemas, theatres, casinos, bowling alleys, arcades, mini golf, guided walks and kayaking tours, golf and tennis clubs and courses, gyms and facilities for other indoor physical activities. This also includes businesses of these types that can be privately hired for a gathering.
All event types, including professional and semi-professional sporting events, community events, auctions, and private events.
Food and drink services
Including cafes, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, community clubs, hired venues where food and drink is provided for consumption and places where food and drink is sold without a dining area. This does not include the manufacturing, supply or processing of food and drink (refer manufacturing or primary industries below).
Manufacturing, supply or processing of good and packaging
Guidance if you operate in the manufacturing, processing and packaging sector.
Primary Industries
Guidance for the agriculture, aquaculture, fishing and forestry industries.
Public facilities
Including libraries, art galleries, swimming pools and museums.
General retail stores (including clothing stores), agricultural supply stores, pet stores, hardware and DIY stores, dairies and convenience stores, supermarkets, greengrocers, butchers, bakers and fishmongers, farmers’ markets, petrol stations, pharmacies.
General in-home services, building and construction, maintenance services, utility connections, health and disability, social services, repair services, client consultant services, housing and housing support, animal welfare, public sector services, scientific services, union services, and film productions, news and broadcast media.
Transport, freight and logistics
Including public and private transport and passenger services, freight such as couriers and parcel services, transport and delivery of goods, as well as construction, infrastructure, and utilities work.

Published by – 25 November 2021