Requiring My Vaccine Passes for entry

Businesses can choose whether to require customers to have My Vaccine Passes as a condition of entry. For some businesses, this decision will affect the rules they must operate under.

From 11.59pm, 4 April 2022, businesses will no longer need to sight customers’ My Vaccine Passes in order to operate (or operate with fewer restrictions). The COVID-19 Protection Framework rules, such as capacity limits, will apply to all businesses, regardless of whether they require My Vaccine Passes. If they wish, most businesses have the option of limiting access to their premises to people with a My Vaccine Pass (as a condition of entry).

Your rights around who can enter your premises

Most businesses can limit access to their premise to vaccinated people only, including requiring that My Vaccine Passes as a condition of entry.

Businesses can do this as long as:

  • it doesn’t breach any contractual restrictions (for example in a lease or under a franchise agreement)
  • it doesn’t breach any law, such as the COVID-19 Protection Framework (which prohibits certain places requiring My Vaccine Passes, like supermarkets or pharmacies) or the Human Rights Act. 

Access conditions are a business decision, and businesses do not need any further justification. Businesses may, however, choose to share their reasons for requiring vaccination, for example, where this is for consistency with a work health and safety risk assessment.

There is, however, no obligation for a business to undertake a health and safety risk assessment or point to a public health basis for the access conditions that they set. If a business had based access conditions on these grounds, they may want to review those conditions to reflect updated public health advice.

The exception to this is for workers or employees, where a business’ decision must:

  • be supported by a work health and safety risk assessment
  • reflect a third-party access requirement.

Read more: How to decide what work requires a vaccinated employee — WorkSafe

Read more: Vaccines and the workplace — Employment New Zealand

Checking My Vaccine Passes

Businesses operating under My Vaccine Pass rules must check customers’ passes. We recommend at or near the point of entry, or as soon as possible after entry (for example, if there is only one staff member, this might be at the counter).

  • Some businesses are prohibited from requiring My Vaccine Passes. These include supermarkets, pharmacies, health and disability services, specified social services, food banks, petrol stations and public transport (excluding air-travel).
  • It is up to customers to present only their own My Vaccine Pass. Businesses are not required to check ID, but they may request it.
  • Businesses are not required to check a customer’s pass if they reasonably consider that the customer is a child under the age of 12 years 3 months.
  • Businesses may not require My Vaccine Passes from students where their participation in an activity is organised, directed, authorised, or facilitated by a registered school. This includes education outside of the classroom, and representative activities.
  • My Vaccine Pass is the only valid document that can be used to access events or venues requiring proof of vaccination status. 
  • If a person was vaccinated against COVID-19 while overseas they will need to complete the online Overseas Vaccination Submission form. It may take some time to get a My Vaccine Pass, so they are advised to start the process well before they travel. 
    Overseas vaccination submission form — Ministry of Health
  • You can’t use the NZ Pass Verifier to scan International Travel Certificates.

NZ Pass Verifier app

  • The free NZ Pass Verifier app is available now from the Apple and Google Play app stores for downloading. The app is used to verify digital or printed My Vaccine Passes, by scanning the QR code on the Pass.
  • The Verifier app can be downloaded onto a smart phone or tablet.
  • Further information on how to download and use the NZ Pass Verifier app is on the Ministry of Health website. This includes information on downloading, use of and technical support for the NZ Pass Verifier.

NZ Pass Verifier — Ministry of Health

Building third party verifier apps

A business may build their own verifier app, or integrate verification into their existing systems, for example integrating the QR code scanner into existing smartphone apps or ticketing operations. Technical information including the formal specification for the QR code and additional resources, are available from the Ministry of Health.

The formal specification for the QR code — Ministry of Health
Ministry of Health Github page — Ministry of Health

Customer compliance

Businesses must display posters or signage indicating to customers if entry is contingent on having a My Vaccine Pass. These can be downloaded from the COVID-19 website.

Posters for businesses and organisations — COVID-19

Customers must show a My Vaccine Pass before they can enter business premises that require them, this includes showing it for verification if asked.

It is recommended businesses provide staff with wording for customers who do not wish to comply with requirements, so staff are best able to de-escalate a situation. Make it clear when workers should walk away or decide not to continue to engage with a person. Consideration should also be given to what kind of behaviour might mean calling the Police.

Compliance for businesses

Compliance for businesses

Businesses must continue to comply with My Vaccine Pass requirements until 11.59pm, 4 April 2022. As with any workplace requirement it is a high trust model. Businesses can expect strong feedback from their customers and competitors if they do not follow the rules.

COVID-19 Protection Framework guidance

Keeping workers safe

As well as meeting the COVID-19 Protection Framework requirements, businesses must continue to comply with all other laws including the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).

Consider the systems and processes you have in place to keep workers safe and ensure your workers have adequate support, instruction, and information to perform their duties.

You must involve your workers and their representative (including unions) in creating these systems and processes.

Worker engagement and participation — WorkSafe

Plan for what to do if a person refuses to show their My Vaccine Pass, or becomes angry at the worker who is requesting their My Vaccine Pass.

Some practical steps could include:

  • Provide staff with wording they can use if someone refuses to show their My Vaccine Pass.
  • Provide staff with wording to use if things escalate, so they are best able to de-escalate the situation.
  • Put signs up indicating that abuse of your staff will not be tolerated.
  • Consider what kind of behaviour might mean you call the Police and what information would be useful to share with Police. This could include an incident report outlining witness details and accounts of what took place.
  • Be clear about when to walk away from the situation. Workers have the right to cease or refuse work where they believe that the work would expose them or another person to a serious health and safety risk.
    Request assistance to resolve issues relating to the cessation of work — WorkSafe
  • Develop or use existing internal mechanisms for regularly checking in with workers, collecting feedback, reporting incidents, and keeping a record of what has happened.

Exemptions

My Vaccine Pass is available to everyone who is fully vaccinated, and to the small number of people who are medically exempt from receiving the vaccine.

There are no circumstances in which a letter from a GP or health provider could be used in place of My Vaccine Pass.

Information on My Vaccine Pass and exemptions can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

COVID-19 vaccine exemptions and certificates — Ministry of Health

Source: Business.govt.nz – 30 March 2022