The Government will make an announcement next week, on whether the country will remain in Alert Level 4 or downgrade to Alert Level 3.
Today Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern painted the picture of what life will look like under Alert Level 3 – should the decision be made to downgrade.
Alert Level 3 will see many significant restrictions on New Zealanders’ movements retained, but will permit aspects of the economy to reopen in a safe way that will allow the economic recovery to begin, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.
“There are promising signs our go hard and go early elimination strategy is working and the lockdown is breaking the chain of community transmission. Any move to Level 3 cannot put those gains at risk,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“By design, Level 3 is a progression, not a rush to normality. It carries forward many of the restrictions in place at Level 4, including the requirement to mainly be at home in your bubble and to limit contact with others.
“Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our primary focus but we also need to position the economy for recovery. Importantly the test for a business opening at Level 3 moves to it being safe, rather than being essential,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Changes at Level 3 include:
Minor extensions to bubbles.
Sticking to existing bubbles is recommended but some expansion is allowed if, for example, you have a caregiver that you need, children in shared care, a defacto partner who is caring for others, or you’re a single person who wants the company of a sibling for example. Keep it exclusive and keep it small.
Some people can return to work and business reopens if safe
People must work from home if they can. Where that is not possible businesses may re-open but must comply with health and safety requirements around physical distancing and contactless engagement with customers.
Businesses only accessed by the staff, and without a customer facing function, such as building and construction or forestry can open under strict health and safety and physical distancing rules.
Businesses that are accessed by the public or customers such as retail, hardware stores and restaurants can open but only for online or phone purchases and contactless delivery or click and collect.
Partial reopening of education
Early childhood centres and schools will be available up to Year 10 only, but attendance is purely voluntary. For children who are able, distance learning is still the best option. Tertiary education will mostly be through distance learning.
Travel restrictions remain but move from local to regional
This recognises that more people will travel to work, or to take children to school. But to avoid taking potential COVID-19 cases to other parts of the country, restricting movement to what is necessary remains the goal.
Funerals and weddings
Funerals and weddings will be able to go ahead, but limited to 10 people. But they can only be services. No meals, food or receptions can take place.
“We have engaged with sector groups on the details announced so far. Further details will continue to be made available over the coming days,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“The main message remains stay home to save lives. It remains the most effective way to break the chain of transmission. At Level 3 there are slightly more opportunities for you to come into contact with people outside your bubble. As a general rule of thumb, the goal of keeping two metres away from each other still applies.
“To eliminate COVID-19 will continue to take a team-of-five-million effort. Under lockdown we have shown our ability to put in place a virtual wall that has broken the chain of transmission. Our new line of defence when we reach Level 3 is common sense, following the rules and trust in one another,” Jacinda Ardern said.
The Alert Level Summary can be found here