Level 1: Life almost back to normal but with closed borders

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Under current alert level 1 guidelines mass gatherings including sports events and concerts, night clubbing, weddings and parties are all permitted. Photo: ODT file
Ready to leave physical distancing behind, fancy having a big party or getting a coffee without the hassle of leaving contact details - then get ready to welcome alert level 1.

Under current alert level 1 guidelines - which are subject to change - the previous physical distancing and contact tracing required over the past two months will become a thing of a past and mass gatherings including sports events and concerts, night clubbing, weddings and parties are all permitted.

With 11 consecutive days of no new cases, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today confirmed level 1 could be introduced as early as next Wednesday.

Cabinet will now review the decision next Monday - a week earlier than planned.

The Government's latest Covid-19 alert level guidelines show that under level 1 there are very few restrictions on most activities.

But generally speaking under alert level 1, most activities are permitted and contact tracing is only required for all confirmed and probable new cases of Covid-19.

Public hygiene measures should also remain high with surfaces being regularly disinfected, hands washed and dried, people coughing and sneezing into elbows and anyone with cold or flu symptoms should stay at home and ring Healthline or their GP.

Weddings, concerts, night clubbing appear to be all back on the table and people wanting to have a meal at their favourite restaurant or a coffee at their local cafe can do so without having to leave their details.

Hospitality NZ chief executive Julie White said the hospitality sector had been faced with some of the toughest restrictions and would be pleased to see rules around single servers and a maximum of 100 people in a venue be lifted next week.

It would also mean some night clubs who felt they couldn't run successfully under level 2 could open their doors.

White said even the most successful venues were struggling to make a profit and needed the restrictions lifted. She urged the Government to ensure consistent rules across the board.

Under level 2 the major cinema groups Event and Hoyts have remained closed, but according to their websites are both getting ready to reopen very soon.

Every type of recreation, be it fishing or a rugby tournament, is also allowed and there are no restrictions other than the general public health measures in place, according to Sport NZ's website.

People can also visit their GPs again, have company meetings and - dare we say it - sit side by side.

There does, however, appear to be some inconsistency around physical distancing, with one table saying it is encouraged and the other saying it is not required.

All education facilities can reopen and large lectures can resume - but any probable or confirmed case of Covid-19 does mean they will have to close again immediately.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand chief executive Lisa Hopkins said not having restrictions on gatherings was a big boost for their members who ran conferences and meetings and had been finding it tough.

The increase of gatherings from 10 to 100 had meant some events could happen - but having no size limits would be even better.

"Business events are extremely safe - we've always said that and this just reinforces that justification."

The tough border restrictions still made it difficult for the industry as a large number of attendees for business events came from Australia so the industry was still looking at these to be lifted, she said.

Meanwhile there could be uncertainty for upcoming concerts and events with guests coming in from overseas due to the tough border restrictions staying in place. Some organisers have already cancelled events this year.

The one thing that doesn't change under level 1 is the country's tight border restrictions and most visitors wanting to come in will have to wait. Anyone who does enter the country must be in managed isolation or quarantine for 14 days before any onward domestic travel.

The Ministry of Transport - like many other agencies - is still working on the requirements for transport under level 1 so the exact details are not available yet.

The Government's decision to bring forward when it reviews going to level 1 comes after a number of politicians including deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Act leader David Seymour have been putting pressure on the Government to move to alert level 1 earlier.

Seymour said the Government should remove remaining restrictions and allow us to get back to normal as soon as possible so that more economic pain could be avoided.

What's in:

  • Mass gatherings
  • Social contact

What's still out:

  • People entering the country

In brief:
• Covid 19 coronavirus: NZ could be at level 1 by June 10

• Covid 19 coronavirus: NZ may move to alert level 1 next week says Jacinda Ardern as Winston Peters speaks out about protests

• Covid 19 coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern confirms Cabinet to consider level 1 move on June 8

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