Covid level 1: restrictions on businesses lifted

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there will still be strict controls on the border, but all current rules and restrictions on businesses and services will be "essentially lifted" under alert level 1.

New Zealand has been at alert level 2 for three weeks, with social distancing and restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather.

On Monday, the Cabinet will consider whether New Zealand is ready for a move to level 1, which could begin next week on Wednesday, June 10.

Ardern said at a media briefing this afternoon it was the Government's "strong desire" to get to level 1 as soon as was safe and possible. 

There will be no distancing rules at bars and restaurants at level 1. All restrictions on businesses, like hospitality, would be lifted with no distancing of tables.

Churches, sports stadiums, community sport, funerals and tangihanga of any size can all resume while physical distancing on planes and public transport can lift.

Prime Minister paid tribute to the efforts made in the fight against the coronavirus so far....
Prime Minister paid tribute to the efforts made in the fight against the coronavirus so far. Photo: Getty Image
When New Zealand reaches alert level 1 it would mean all of the hard work had paid off, lives had been saved and the economic recovery could happen sooner, Ardern said.

However, the move did not mean the battle with the coronavirus virus was over. Asymptomatic transmission was a risk, she said.

At level 1, Kiwis would have to adopt new habits, such as good hand hygiene. She paid tribute to the efforts made in the fight against the coronavirus so far.

"Lives have been saved, hospital protected from overflow and the job of economic recovery will be able to start faster."


• If you are sick, stay home.

• If you have cold or flu-like symptoms get tested

• Wash your hands, Wash your hands, Wash your hands

• Sneeze and cough into your elbow and regularly disinfect shared surfaces

• If you are told by health authorities to self isolate you must do so immmediately

• If concerned about your wellbeing or you have underlying health conditions consult with your GP

• Keep track of where you've been and who you've seen so we can use that for contact tracing if needed

• Businesses should help with rule seven by displaying a QR code


Watch health briefing with Dr Ashley Bloomfield:

There have been no new Covid-19 cases for the 12th day in a row, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said today.

One active case remains, an Auckland woman in her 50s, but she was first reported as a suspected case on May 1.

Confirmed and probable cases remains at 1504, with the total number of confirmed cases - which is reported to the World Health Organisation - still at 1154.

On Tuesday, Ardern announced that Cabinet will consider moving to alert level 1 on June 8, earlier than previously indicated. She had said the country would be given a period of time to transition, but it was possible that we could be at alert level 1 by 10 June.

"As long as we kept seeing the results that we're seeing now [then it is possible to move to level 1] ... if we see cases at the border then that also shouldn't derail our progress, because those of course are cases of individuals who are in quarantine."

Ardern said she would continue to advocate for distancing rules and had been in "awkward situations" where she had needed to reject close contact with people.

"We need to stick to level 2 rules for now. We need to stay united and when we get to level 1, appreciate the freedom it offers and put into place new behaviours that will mean we don't have to go backwards."

In reference to questions from a reporter on photographs of her at a restaurant getting close to people, she said she had tried to avoid it but that it could be difficult when people pushed in alongside you, sometimes children.

She said there were still some risks, including the country heading into winter and asymptomatic transmission.

- RNZ and NZ Herald 





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