With 15 new cases of COVID-19 today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says “the indications at this stage are promising.”
In her media conference today, Ardern laid out clear rules around alert level 3 should the country move into it.
“The first thing I want to emphasise is that this no way foreshadows the decision on Monday regarding the lockdown,” she began.
The principle of alert level 3, she reminds, is to restrict contact with each other. Ardern likened level 3 to a “waiting room” where we must primarily stay at home if possible.
Level 3 comes with “extra risk and a high level of trust and responsibility. The more distance the better,” says Ardern. She recommends people keeping a note of where they have been and who they have been in contact with.
Can you go outside your bubble?
Under level 3, Ardern says people must stay in household bubbles when not at work, school, buying groceries or exercising.
People must stay within their immediate household bubble, but can expand this to reconnect with close family, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people.
Workplaces: employees to work from home if they can
Workplaces can re-open but employees must work from home if they can.
Workplaces that do open must operate safely. This means:
- Keeping 1-metre between workers
- Recording who is working together
- Limiting interaction between groups or workers
- Disinfect surfaces
- Maintain high hygiene standards
Cafes and restaurants open for delivery or contactless pickup
Bars, restaurants and cafes will be closed but unlike level 4, will be able to open for delivery, drive-through and contactless pre-ordered pick up. Customers cannot enter stores.
Retail can also re-open for online shopping and delivery.
Travel extended to regional
Under level 3, travel is still restricted but expanded to regional, rather than local.
Weddings and funerals restricted to 10 or less
Gatherings are limited under level 3, with the restriction of funerals and weddings with up to 10 people allowed. For weddings, ceremonies are only permitted, not receptions.
Schools partially open to year 10
Early learning and schools up to and including year 10 will be open for children to return if parents need to go back to work.
Ardern says attendance is voluntary and says children who are able to should remain home and learn via distance.
Recreation: swimming and surfing allowed, but no boating
Under level 3, people are allowed to swim, surf or fish from the shore. Motorised recreation, like boating and jetskis, is not allowed due to safety risks.
The most important principals here are to stay close to home, stay two metres away from people not in your bubble, and don’t do activity that could get you hurt and require medical care or rescuing (putting essential workers at risk).
When will New Zealand move to level 3?
Ardern emphasises that New Zealand won’t risk going to alert level 3 too early. The criteria for moving to level 3 is:
- Community transmission is under control, and the transmission rate is very low.
- Robust measures at the border stopping new infection.
- Tracing and testing capacity to shut down any new outbreak.
- Supplies for, and capacity, in the health system.
For more guidance on alert level 3, visit covid19.govt.nz