It has been confirmed, New Zealand will move out of Alert Level 3 and into Level 2 at midnight Wednesday May 13, this move comes sooner than other countries and is a result of New Zealand’s initial hard and fast lockdown stance.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern started by sharing her appreciation of the sacrifice made by Kiwis during the pandemic.

Retail outlets, cafes, restaurants and gyms can all open from Thursday May 13.

The bar industry is being asked to wait a little longer, however, with the government announcing Easter/ANZAC style rules for this sector - If the establishment’s primary purpose is dining, it can open and sell alcohol (such as a restaurant, pub or tavern). If the establishment’s primary purpose is to sell alcohol it must wait until Thursday May 21 to open.

Adern explained that the government had worked with Hospitality New Zealand on this staggered approach for the safety of this sector.

All cafes and restaurants must adhere to the three 'S' guidelines of seated diners, separated by 1 metre, with a single server per table. There will also be a time limit placed on the experience with diners only allowed to stay in an establishment for up to 2 hours.

Social gatherings are to be kept to groups of no more than 10, this includes at home celebrations such as birthdays.

The government confirmed that any environment that contains risks will be provided with appropriate guidelines and that more support will be on offer for businesses when the latest budget is announced later in the week.

The budget, which will be in direct response to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, is titled Rebuilding Together.

Ardern repeated that New Zealand is moving into a “new, safer, normal” but that Kiwis should remain vigilant. She noted that if there is data that demonstrates risk, the government will be able to act on it.

The golden rules for Level 2 include:

  • Keep distance (1 metre from strangers)
  • If you’re sick, stay home
  • If you have any cold or flu symptoms, stay home, contact your Dr and get tested
  • Wash you hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands! (and do it properly)
  • Don’t mix ’n mingle with more than 10 people
  • Keep track of who you come into contact with

There was no information given by the government regarding contact tracing or any  plan for a centralised approach to this.

The government’s call to Kiwis remains: “Keep it small, keep your distance and be kind.”