Today the government announced that Level 2 would see the return of shopping, eating out, weddings, domestic travel, schools, sport, and seeing friends, but under strict rules.

Level 2 was described by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as a safer version of normal, making it clear that this move would be to “a new normal” not back to “business as usual.”

People will be allowed to break their bubble but the government has recommended a two metre distance be maintained between strangers, a one metre distance otherwise (eg for work colleagues), and for hugging to only happen between close family and friends.

Restaurants and cafes can open but they must adhere to what the government referred to as the three ’S’s:

  • Seated - patrons must be seated with no more than 100 in a venue
  • Separated - there must be social distancing of one metre between tables
  • Server - there must be table service, no ordering from the counter

Businesses will also be required to maintain a contact register of all diners, including takeaway customers.

Contactless payment will not be required under Alert Level 2, when this statement was questioned regarding the safety and hygiene Ardern reminded that both retail and hospitality businesses have a number of high touch areas that will be a concern, not simply the eftpos terminal.

“We’ve come up with principles to help businesses,” said Ardern, referring to the continuation of strict cleaning and hygiene practises.

The government hasn’t ruled out moving to Level 2 in phased stages and reminded Kiwis that even in Level 2, we need to remain cautious.

Ardern maintained that the government would only announce a move to Level 2 if they were sure it was safe.

The three key aspects of the government’s plan moving forward are Test, Contact Trace and Isolate.

More guidelines will be offered by the government when the offical announcement to move into Level 2 is made.