Alert level 3 - what does that mean for you?

An almost deserted Barrington Mall. Malls will remain closed under Level 3. Photo: Geoff Sloan
An almost deserted Barrington Mall. Malls will remain closed under Level 3. Photo: Geoff Sloan

The Prime Minister has announced we are moving out of lockdown and into level 3 on Monday at 11.59pm. But what does that mean for you?

Guidelines on what that means were released last week, including which businesses could reopen and if you'll be able to get your favourite takeaways.

The Government has given these examples for businesses opening:

• If you run a takeaway business, you can reopen it if you have pre-ordered contactless pick up, or can do home delivery.

• A real estate agent can open, but people should work from home if they can. The agent can enter someone's home but can't have customers in the office. You cannot run an open home.

• Construction businesses can start work again but strict hygiene measures must be put in place – and office staff who can work from home should do so.

Will schools be open at alert level 3?

Ardern said she still wanted the majority of children learning from home.

Early learning centres and schools will physically be open for up to Year 10 for families that need them.

"At-risk students and staff should also stay at home, and they will be supported to do so.

Tuesday will be a teachers only day and Wednesday will be the first day of term.

Secondary students in Years 11-13 and tertiary students will mostly continue distance learning at home because children over 14 years old can legally be at home by themselves.

Tertiary education facilities may open for limited activities involving small stable groups of up to 10 people who do not change. Research and hands-on learning like trades courses that can't be done off campus can happen in small groups with appropriate physical distancing.

Can I get a takeaway meal?

Yes, you can get your favourite takeaway as long as you can place your order and pick it up without face-to-face contact.

For example, you can use your local KFC or McDonald's drive-through or order a curry through a delivery service.

What does extending your bubble mean?

Under alert level 3, you can add more people into your bubble but the mantra is "keep it exclusive and keep it small".

But, for example, if you have extended whānau, a caregiver that you need, children in shared care, a de facto partner who is caring for others, or you're a single person who wants the company of a sibling, you can relax your strict bubble - a little.

The Government says: "Always keep your bubble exclusive, and keep it small."

You'll also need to know exactly who's in your bubble so you can contact-trace in case there's an outbreak which affects you.

Are funerals and weddings allowed?

Funerals, tangi and weddings can go ahead under alert level 3 but will be restricted to no more than 10 people and you'll need to keep a list of who attended.

But you can't share a meal, food or a reception afterwards.

Can I go for a tramp?

You can go for an easy day walk but don't do anything too challenging which could put you in harm's way and stay physically distanced from others on the track.

You can also go mountain biking but, again, don't do anything too challenging where you could injure yourself or others.

Can I use my boat?

No - boating, yachting and any team sports or training aren't allowed.

Can I go see my grandparents or kaumātua ?

People over 70 are still vulnerable to the virus, as are those who have pre-existing conditions so it's really important they're kept safe.

Ideally, you should limit the people interacting with them, especially if they're sick, and also keep using good hygiene measures. If your bubble has both a child and an older person, it's advisable to keep your tamariki home from school.

But it's really important to make sure older New Zealanders aren't totally isolated as they could get lonely. The Government is still working on advice to keep these people safe.

In the meantime, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said people would have to use their judgment.

What will I need to do to open my business?

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will set up a self-accreditation regime and will help businesses put together a worksite plan.

Will I need PPE if I'm going back to work?

Most workers won't need personal protective equipment (PPE) as good hand washing, physical distancing and good cough etiquette is the best defence to Covid-19, the Government says.

Can I go to the bach for the weekend?

No. Even if it's in the same region, your bubble is still your main home.

Will playgrounds be open?

Unfortunately, playgrounds will remain off bounds as the risk of spreading infection is still too high.

Can I go to the dentist or physiotherapist?

There will be more information about the health sector at different alert levels released by the end of the week including information regarding dentists, physios and allied health practitioners.

Bloomfield said the principle will be "do as much care as possible while keeping people safe".

GPs will stay open, like at alert level 4, and will hold most appointments through video-conferencing.

Can I go to the Warehouse or Kmart?

Kind of, but not really - you can visit it from the comfort of your couch through their website then use click-and-collect to pick it up at a store or home delivery.

Stores can't reopen for face-to-face interactions and have to make sure purchases are contactless, for example through online or phone orders which are delivered or collected.

Can I get a flat white?

Yes, if your local cafe can facilitate the order through a contactless method, like an app.

You'll have to take it away though, but at least you can drink it as you walk along the beach.

I spent lockdown in another region but need to return home so I can go back to work, can I do that?

If you were in the wrong place when the restrictions came into place, and need to get home, you will be able to do that, the Covid-19 website says.

But you can only move once and in one direction.

The same goes for Kiwis wanting to move to or from the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau, though again make sure it's once, and in one direction.

How will alert level 3 be enforced?

Ardern said level 3 came with higher trust but there would still be police acting as enforcers which would act on large groups congregating.

"But there is more trust at alert level 3."

But Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has previously said officers have spent a lot of the lockdown educating Kiwis so, when the shift happens, they'll focus on deliberate rule breakers - such as large gatherings.

Patrols had been pared back during alert level 4, so Kiwis should expect to see more police on the roads.

Will Parliament resume in alert level 3?

On restarting Parliament, Ardern said her preference was to leave it to the Business Committee and Cabinet would mirror that decision.

 

 

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