Thursday, December 9

The 3 Steps to Easing Auckland Restrictions – What You Need to Know

The government has announced a three-step plan to ease Auckland’s Alert Level 3 restrictions. This is what you can do in each of the steps.

Central Auckland on Wednesday August 25, 2021 on the eighth day of a Covid-19 lockdown.

Photo: RNZ / John Edens

The government’s three-step plan for Auckland will eventually allow for outdoor socialization as well as the reopening of shops, preschools and schools.

The intention is to allow whānau to reconnect with each other and for more businesses to run as well as educational facilities for children to resume on-site.

According to the roadmap, Auckland will remain at Alert Level 3 for the foreseeable future as restrictions are eased. The rest of the country remains at alert level 2.

However, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made clear during the announcement of the easing of some restrictions today: “In all, this phasing out amounts to a careful and methodical transition plan for Auckland.”

So how will it work?

With the Auckland region still at level 3, masks should be worn in most indoor settings and a social distance of 2 meters still applies.

The air and road boundaries between the city and the rest of New Zealand, including the Alert Level 3 area in Waikato, will remain in place.

The schools are scheduled to reopen on October 18, 2021, although this will be confirmed the week before.

“In the meantime, if your child is 12 or older and not yet vaccinated, we strongly recommend that you use these two weeks to vaccinate,” Ardern said.

There are no dates to pass at each step; it will depend on the advice of health officials.

Step 1

  • Outdoor meetings between two households can continue, with a maximum of 10 people attending.
  • Travel is allowed anywhere in the Auckland region for exercise, sports or outdoor recreation
  • Early Learning Centers can be reopened for all children, with a maximum of 10 children in each bubble.

The prime minister said that the “outdoors” part may not seem relevant, but in fact it is the most relevant part of all.

“Leave it out,” he said.

“Science tells us that Covid finds it difficult to spread out outdoors … kids can have a play date at a park, friends can meet outside for a walk, have a picnic, or have a beer.”

Ardern said the public health team believes that if proper precautions are taken, the risk posed by reopening early childhood centers is low. This includes limits of 10 within a bubble in ECE and strict infection control.

“To ensure this is done as safely as possible, we are encouraging early learning teachers to get tested together with other Auckland residents who will be returning to work and will seek options for more regular but less invasive surveillance testing. .

“This is an additional precaution and an acknowledgment that children of that age cannot be vaccinated.”

Step 2

  • Retail can operate, and customers can enter the premises, wear face covers, and stay 2 meters away.
  • Public facilities such as swimming pools, libraries and museums can be reopened, with face covers and a social distance of 2 meters is required.
  • Outdoor meetings of up to 25 people can be held.

Step 3

  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, bars and restaurants can reopen with a limit of 50 people.
  • Event facilities, such as cinemas, casinos and theaters, can open with a limit of 50 people in a defined space, with face covers and a physical distance of 2 meters.
  • Close-contact businesses, such as hair salons, barbers, and beauty salons, can reopen and workers cover their faces.
  • Social gatherings, indoors and outdoors, can take place with a limit of 50 people in a defined space.

“At the end of these steps, we will move to a national framework that reflects a more vaccinated population, allowing us the ability to deal with riskier environments, such as large-scale events, with the use of vaccine certificates,” Ardern said.

Today, the country reached the milestone of 2 million New Zealanders vaccinated.

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