News & Events

Vaccine passes now required for some facilities

Vaccine passes will be required for more Council facilities from Wednesday 15 December.

If you're accessing the facilities listed below, you'll need to have your pass ready to scan upon entry.

  • All Palmerston North City Library facilities (Ashhurst, Awapuni, Central, Mobile, Roslyn and Te Pātikitiki Libraries, Blueprint and Youth Space)
  • Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery
  • Council Chamber
  • Council-owned pools (Freyberg, Lido, Splashhurst)

These facilities join the Central Energy Trust Arena and Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre, which have had mandatory vaccine requirements since moving to the new traffic light system.

Health and wellbeing of our community has driven the change

Since the pandemic’s onset in March 2020, we’ve constantly been assessing the facilities and services we provide to ensure both our staff and residents are safe. This has meant we’ve been regularly making changes to these services and our best practice to ensure it’s up to current standards.

We take our role to look after our community and continue to provide essential services very seriously, and that means we’ve been reviewing all of our facilities and services under the new framework. We believe the best way we can keep our community safe and limit the spread of Covid-19 is by requiring vaccine passes at some of our facilities. This decision wasn’t made lightly and we understand some of our residents will not agree with our decision. However, we believe it is the single most important thing we can do to protect the most vulnerable people in our community.

More facilities and services could require vaccine passes

Libraries, pools, the Council Chamber and Wildbase were prioritised in the review of our risk assessments due to the number of people accessing these services and the need to protect our vulnerable communities, including children who are too young to be vaccinated.

We are continuing to review our risk assessments for other services and facilities and at this stage cannot rule out whether we may decide to introduce vaccine pass requirements at more locations.

We are reviewing these services under the ‘orange’ category of the framework, so there may be changes to what services require vaccine passes under the red or green settings.

We'll continue to update our residents on our website, via social media, and through media channels.

More details below on each service

We understand you may have some questions about how this will work. We have some questions and answers ready for you. 

Please be kind to our staff

Our frontline staff have worked hard over the past two years looking after our community during our Covid-19 response and will continue to do so. These staff are not the ones making these decisions, and we ask that you remember that in your interactions with them.

If you want to provide feedback to our team who are involved in making decisions about how our services operate under Covid-19 guidelines, please fill in the form below.

Questions and answers


Why didn’t you do this on the first day of the traffic light system coming into effect?

Since Covid-19 started more than 18 months ago, we’ve been constantly reassessing the risk to our staff and our community, and ensuring we are doing all we can to keep them safe. In the past this has been done against the Covid-19 alert level system. Now we are doing that against the new traffic light system. The government guidelines allow us to determine whether our spaces need vaccine passes. We didn’t want to rush into making a decision, but rather weigh up all the factors, see what mitigation measures we could implement to reduce the chance of covid spreading, and then made the call.

We know some people in our community are nervous about the Auckland borders opening on 15 December, so we wanted to have some decisions made before then.

Why these facilities?

These facilities are all spaces that attract large numbers of the public, in an enclosed space. They’ve all had strict measures in place during the alert level system for this reason, and under the framework system some of those risks still exist. Vaccine passes for these sites help protect some of the most vulnerable members in our community who are accessing them, like unvaccinated children.

Who made the decision?

Management has been conducting the risk assessments with key staff in these areas. Our proposals were supported by our elected members.

Will you be announcing more facilities that require vaccine passes/why not x facility?

We are currently working through more risk assessments, and we will let you know.

Will vaccine passes be required at these facilities in red and green too?

These facilities will require vaccine passes at both orange and red. We have not made any decisions yet about at green. We are looking into this and will provide updates, in line with updated government guidance.

Will staff in these facilities need vaccine passes too?

We've been conducting a risk assessment of facilities and services against the government's guidance to assess the need for vaccine passes, and we are currently reviewing roles. In the meantime, managers will work with staff who are not vaccinated on a safe and suitable alternative work location. 

CLM, which operates our pools, already has a requirement for its staff to be vaccinated.

Will I still need to wear a mask, be physically distanced and scan in at these facilities?

You still need to scan in as part of contact tracing requirements at all traffic light levels.

Each of our facilities has different requirements as they all function differently.

At our libraries, wearing a mask is mandatory at both orange and red traffic light levels. Maintaining 1m social distancing is also mandatory at orange and red, and the number of people allowed to visit at any one time is determined by the number of people who can be inside while doing this. At green, wearing a mask is optional and social distancing is not required. However, we encourage our residents to do what makes you feel safe.

At our pools, we encourage you to wear a mask when entering and exiting the facilities.

You need to wear a mask at CET Wildbase Recovery, and the same goes for our Council Chamber.

Will you be scanning our vaccine passes?

Yes we will. Please have them ready for us when you get to our facilities.

These are publicly funded facilities; will I get a portion of my rates back now that I can’t access these services?

No you won’t. You can still access many of our digital library resources and services online, through your library membership.

Will you be saving our vaccine passes?

No, we won't be storing this information.

Can I request to see a Council worker's vaccine pass if they are coming on to my property?

You can, and if you are making an appointment, it’s ok to request that. We want to ensure you feel comfortable and safe, just like we want our staff to feel that way.

Are any other Council facilities vaccine mandated?

CET Arena and our Conference and Function Centre are vaccine mandated by the government.

Are Te Manawa, the Regent, and the Globe Theatre vaccine mandated?

While these facilities are Council-owned, they are each operated independently by a board. They are making their own decisions about vaccine passes. We encourage you to keep an eye on their websites and social media pages for the most up to date information.

City Library

Does this apply to all libraries: Central, Ashhurst, Awapuni, Te Patikitiki, Roslyn and the mobile library?

Yes, it does.

Does this affect Blueprint: The City Library Makerspace?

Yes it does.

Does this affect Youth Space?

Yes it does

When will the mobile library be back on the road?

We will be looking at how the mobile library can operate under the traffic light system in the new year. This may mean a new way of offering services on the bus that meet traffic light requirements.

How will children be scanning in?

This is a tricky one for all organisations. We treat it like a trust based relationship with parents and teenagers, like when people are going to the movies or other age-based experiences. We ask that everyone be honest about ages and show us their passes. Our scanners can pick up the paper passes too, so they won’t require a mobile phone.

Will we still be entering one door and exiting another at Central Library?


Will there be fines for not returning my books/DVDs etc that I have checked out?

No there won’t. Fines have been removed for all children’s items and as part of the Covid response, we currently do not have fines for late books and DVDs. However, you will be charged for lost books if you take a long time to return them. You can return items in the book and DVD returns slots at the Central Library on The Square or George Street, at any of the branch locations, and at all the book drops across the city.

How do I set up a digital membership to access the digital collections?

Head on to the City Library website or call us on phone: 06 351 4100 and we'll get it sorted for you.

How will unvaccinated people access library materials and services?

Our extensive digital resources are still available for you to use. Just head to the City Library website and we’ve got lots of great resources available for you. Or you can download the Library App. If you need a hand, just give us a call and we will get someone to call you back.

Will regular activities e.g. jumping jellybeans, LibLab return now?

We are working through how we can offer our regular activities at orange and green and will keep you updated.

Will JPs and the Māori Land Court return now?

We’ll be having discussions with these providers and will provide an update on the City Library website and Facebook page.

Will library programmes return now?

We are working through how we can offer library programmes at orange and green and will keep you updated.

Will social distancing be required?

Maintaining 1m social distancing is mandatory at orange and red and the number of people allowed to visit at any one time is determined by the number of people who can be inside while doing this. At green, social distancing is not required. However, we encourage our residents to do what makes you feel safe.

Will the Central Library still be closed 1 hour a day?

Yes. We will be closing from 12.30 to 1.30pm at the Central Library until 7 January. At this stage, we will return to being open all day from Monday 10 January.

Will I have to show a vaccine pass if I just want to use a public toilet at one of the libraries?

Yes you will. Other public toilets are available at the ISite in Te Marae o Hine - The Square.

Can I still get help at the library to get my vaccine pass?

Yes, if you have your purple card that confirms that you have had your two vaccinations, we can help you get the new vaccine pass.

We can also talk you through the steps over the phone. Or you can call 0800 222 478. A number of pharmacies in town are also printing vaccine passes.

Why do I need to contact trace if you scanned my vaccine pass?

Currently they are two different systems. Your vaccine pass isn’t saved, so we need you to do both. This ensures that if our facilities become a location of interest, you’ll be notified.

Do I need to show ID with my vaccine pass?

We do have the right, under government guidelines, to request this. However, we don’t expect to need to do this often.

I have a medical exemption/letter explaining why I don’t have my pass, can I come in?

Great, the only acceptable medical exemption looks identical to the My Vaccine Pass, just show that when we check your pass.

I don’t have a pass, but the person I’m with does, can I enter?

No, sorry. Everyone older than 12 (+ 3 months) needs to have a vaccine pass.

Do children need a vaccine pass?

Everyone older than 12 (+ 3 months) needs to have a vaccine pass.

If I don’t have a vaccine pass and can’t come into one of the libraries or Youth Space how do I return my materials?

Just return them in the returns slot on The Square or George St at the Central Library, or at any of the branches or at any of the book drops across the city. You don’t need a vaccine pass to do that.

I’ve forgotten my vaccine pass at home, but I’m double vaccinated, can I come in?

Sorry, but we have to scan a vaccine pass.

Why are there security guards?

From time to time you may see security in place. This is just to help our staff, especially so in the early days of introducing this. We want both our community and staff to be safe.

I was here earlier today, do I need to scan my vaccine pass again?

Unfortunately it doesn’t save, so yes, we do need you to scan in with your vaccine pass each time you visit any of our libraries, Blueprint or Youth Space.

Council Chamber

Why does the Council Chamber require vaccine passes?

Our Chamber can have large numbers of people in it at once, so we consider it a public facility. Vaccine passes will help protect our at-risk members of the community.

Can I still speak to elected members?

You can still talk at any of our meetings virtually, and our elected members can be contacted by phone or email if you have any concerns.

If I speak virtually, people will assume I'm not vaccinated.

We’re used to people presenting in our meetings virtually, and our Council, staff and community know that can be for a myriad of reasons. We won’t be making any assumptions about why you're presenting virtually.

We’re continuing to also offer virtual options to everyone participating in the meeting so it’s up to every individual if they want to be in the Chamber physically or online. The same goes for our staff.

I am vaccinated, but don’t feel comfortable coming into the Chamber. Is there a way for me to still speak at these meetings?

Yes, we’ll continue to offer virtual opportunities for staff, elected members and members of our community. As always, you can contact our democracy and governance team and they'll guide you through the steps.

Are elected members all vaccinated?

Our elected members have told us they are fully vaccinated.

Will all the staff in the Chamber be required to be vaccinated?

Everyone in the Chamber will be required to scan their vaccine pass. Council staff and the public will still be able to attend the meeting online.

When do I need to show my vaccine pass when coming to a Council meeting?

When you enter at our public entrance, the Customer Service Centre on Te Marae o Hine - The Square, you won't need to show a vaccine pass. You’ll be asked for your vaccine pass on the 1st floor, before entering the Chamber.

Will you be scanning my vaccine pass?

Yes we will be. Please have it ready and come a few minutes before meetings start so we can ensure there are no significant delays.

Can I send my pass in, in advance?

No, this would break privacy protocols. Remember to bring your vaccine pass each time you come to the Chamber.