Aotearoa is officially moving to Alert Level 2! Here is what you need to know

Publish Date
Monday, 11 May 2020, 6:36PM
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  • New Zealand will move from Alert Level 3 down to Alert Level 2 on Thursday, May 14.
  • On Monday, May 18 schools and early learning centres may reopen
  • On Thursday, May 21 bars may reopen if they are able to follow the correct restrictions.
  • Group gatherings of no more than 10 will be allowed at Alert Level 2. These restrictions will be reassessed in two weeks time.

Life at alert level 2 will mean we can resume many of our favourite pastimes and see our friends again.

You can expect the doors of some shuttered businesses to open — but life as we know it will take on a new normal.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today revealed we are moving into level 2 in stages.

"We all know there is more to do. We may have won a few battles but we have not won the war," Ardern said today.

Cabinet agreed the country was ready to move to level 2.

Retail stores, malls, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and public spaces can open this Thursday.

On Monday, May 18, children and young people will return to school.

And next Thursday, May 21, bars will be able to open, as long as they maintain the 'three Ss' rule outlined last week.

Bars had been left until last because they posed the most risk, she said.

"There does need to be a new normal," Ardern said.

"We will be breaking out of our bubbles. We will be around more people."

There will be a few instances at alert level 2 where it won't be practical to maintain physical distancing, so there will be other measures to manage public health risks. Examples include hairdressing, physiotherapists, home help, and public transport.

Gatherings and events

• Physical distancing, infection prevention and control requirements must be met.

• All gatherings should record attendees to help for contact tracing if needed.

• Group gatherings of friends or family may be no more than 10.

• Food and drink consumption is allowed at gatherings, meaning you can have food at wedding receptions or after a funeral or tangihanga. It should be prepared carefully and served individually, for example, not from a buffet.

• You can have friends and family over to visit your home, but play it safe — keep surfaces clean, wash your hands, and keep the numbers low so you can practice safe distancing.

• No one can attend any gatherings or events if they have Covid-19 symptoms or if they need to be in isolation/quarantine for any reason.

Businesses, workplaces and public venues

• All businesses can open if they can do it safely. Businesses must follow public health guidance about physical distancing and contact tracing. Alternative ways of working are still encouraged where possible. For example; remote working, shift-based working, physical distancing, staggering meal breaks and flexible leave.

When engaging with customers businesses should:

• Maintain good contact registers, or contact tracing records, to record everyone who they interact with on the premises.

• Maintain physical distancing of one metre between groups of customers.

• Hospitality businesses should keep groups seated, separated, and use a single server if possible. This means each group has one server, though servers can each serve more than one table.

• Services can also be provided on customers' premises, for example, cleaning and home help.

• For some businesses, close personal contact is required to deliver a service. In addition to maintaining robust contact registers and good hygiene practices, specific guidance for key sectors is being developed by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and WorkSafe.

• Many public venues, such as museums, cinemas, food courts and markets, will be open again. However, restrictions will include the one metre physical distancing rule. This might require limiting the number of people inside at once. Some venues may stay shut if they can't open safely.

Exercise, sport and recreation

• Kiwis will be able to resume walking, biking and hunting on public conservation land. Public swimming pools and gyms will reopen with restrictions. Boating and motorised watersports will resume.

• Sport activities (including those that involve close contact) are allowed but only if good contact registers are maintained, the conditions on gatherings are observed and - where practical – physical distancing is used. No one should train or play if they have symptoms of Covid-19.

• Last week, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson said professional sports could resume domestically subject to necessary public health measures. At that stage, Investec Super Rugby and the ANZ Premiership Netball League had already confirmed their intention to resume domestic competition.

Education

Public health advice is that schools and early learning services are safe to open onsite at alert level 2 to all learners. Schools will not make this transition midweek but at the start of next week.

• Playground, sports equipment use and sports, including contact sports, can resume under certain conditions.

• School transport services will also return to normal schedules.

Tertiary education

Tertiary education facilities will implement public health requirements and physical distancing as appropriate for the context. They will need to maintain distance learning capability to help manage within these constraints, and ensure safety of staff and students at risk of Covid-19.

• Physical distancing of two metres should be maintained where people do not know each other and where contact tracing measures are not in place. In areas designated 'controlled learning spaces' or 'other controlled environments', where contact tracing and strict hygiene practices are in place, people should be encouraged and enabled to maintain physical distancing of one metre, where possible.

• Hand sanitiser should be available at entry to classrooms and lecture theatres. Students and staff should ensure they are regularly washing and drying their hands.
• Surfaces that multiple people might touch such as desks, door handles and keyboards should be cleaned as often as is practical.

• On-campuses businesses such as gyms, pharmacies, cafes, restaurant, etc. must operate in accordance with the public health control measures that apply to that type of business.

• Workplace-based learning will be conducted within the specific rules applicable to the relevant industry.

Find out more information about Alert Level 2 at covid19.govt.nz.

This article was first published NZ Herald on the and is republished here with permission.