Border easing ‘logical’

Jim Boult. Photo: ODT files
Jim Boult. Photo: ODT files
The Government’s strategy for opening New Zealand’s borders is "a light at the end of a very long tunnel", Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult says.

A gradual transition towards isolation-free travel for vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries would not "open the floodgates for international visitors", but provided a path towards recovery for the district’s tourism-reliant economy, he said.

Although managed isolation had been a necessary measure to protect New Zealanders’ health, the vaccination rollout made the progressive easing of border restrictions a "proactive and logical decision".

The announcement also underlined the importance of measures such as getting vaccinated, scanning QR codes, allowing staff to work from home, and giving staff adequate time off when they were sick, he said.

"Teamwork has never been so necessary and, perhaps early next year, never so rewarding."

Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ruth Stokes said she was pleased to see the Government’s pathway for opening the borders, although it was slower than many in business had been hoping for.

"A lot of people would’ve liked to have seen a bit more pre-Christmas."

For many struggling Queenstown businesses, a lot was riding on how the Covid-19 situation unfolded in Australia next month, she said.

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