With Auckland holding its collective breath, Jacinda Ardern has announced that the region will remain at Alert Level 3 but several key changes will occur.
People will be able to connect with loved ones outdoors with no more than two households at a time, up to a maximum of 10 people; early childhood education will return for all; and people can move around Auckland for recreation such as beach visits and hunting.
The rest of the country will remain at Alert Level 2, with the addition for hospitality venues of the removal of the maximum capacity level.
“The sacrifice carried out by Aucklanders has given us time - time for everyone to get vaccinated. Vaccination makes a difference. In the future vaccines will also play a big role with fewer restrictions,” noted Ardern.
Ardern also set out the government’s plans for managing COVID-19 going forward.
“Today, based on public health advice, Cabinet confirmed its plan to transition Auckland out of current restrictions carefully and methodically, with regular check-ins to ensure we’re continuing to actively control the virus,” she said.
The Road Map:
(There are no set dates for each step, the situation will be analysed each week before moving down each step.)
From 11:59pm Tuesday 5 October, Auckland will remain in Alert Level 3 but several key changes will occur. People will be able to connect with loved ones OUTDOORS with no more than two households at a time, up to a maximum of 10 people; early childhood education will return for all; and people can move around Auckland for recreation such as beach visits and hunting.
At step two retail will open their doors, with the usual measures of wearing facemasks and keeping up physical distancing; public facilities such as pools and zoos will open; and the number of people who can meet OUTDOORS will increase to 25.
Step three will bring back those higher risk settings. Hospitality will open – seated, separated and with a limit of 50; close contact businesses like hairdressers will also open with mask use and physical distancing; and gatherings will also then extend to 50.
Cabinet will review each step weekly to ensure it’s safe to move before confirming the next step. The wage subsidy will continue to be available.
This change in approach focuses on vaccinations and public health measures, rather than lockdowns and restrictions as a way to try to open the country and back to some form of normality.