Advice on masks and face coverings during COVID-19

As the disabled community may be especially vulnerable or have specific needs when it comes to mask-wearing to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, we thought it would be useful to highlight information from the COVID-19 website around masks.

As always, the COVID-19 website has more information .

Who must wear face coverings?

Aucklanders are advised to wear masks outside the home and particularly in places where it’s difficult to maintain physical distancing from other people.

Other New Zealanders should consider wearing a mask in places where it’s difficult to maintain physical distancing from other people.

From 11.59pm on 30 August 2020, New Zealanders will have to wear a mask on public and passenger transport, i.e. buses, trains, ferries, planes, taxis and rideshare services such as Uber.

This applies across the whole country, whenever we are in Alert Level 2 or above.

How do you define a ‘face covering’ under the law?

This is any type of covering that covers the nose and mouth of a person.

Are there any situations where a face covering is not required on public or passenger transport?

You don’t have to wear a face covering if the following applies:

  • you are under the age of 12 years
  • you have a physical or mental health illness or condition or disability that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable
  • there is an emergency
  • it’s not safe in the circumstances
  • the person is communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing and visibility of the mouth is essential for communication
  • the person is asked to remove the face covering to ascertain identity
  • removal or not wearing the face covering is otherwise required or authorised by law.

Where can I get a face covering?

Disposable masks are available at a number of shops including supermarkets and pharmacies.

Re-usable masks are available from a variety of retailers.

Face coverings can be homemade. There are tips on mask wearing and making on the Unite against Covid website:

If you are unable to access masks and can’t make your own, you can use a bandana or scarf.

Do children and students need to wear masks?

Not at school, but children over the age of 12 will need to wear a mask from 31 August on public transport.

See Ministry of Education guidance for early learning centres, schools and tertiary institutions, for Alert Levels 2 and 3.

Will the government be providing masks to vulnerable groups?

The government is distributing masks to those who struggle to access them.

Officials are working with food banks, churches and community groups to reach who need them most.

The focus is on Auckland for the time being.

I think a retailer is charging too much for face masks. How do I complain?

People can report concerns about potential price gouging on essential goods and services by filling out a web form at

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