Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on 6 September the revised rules of alert level 2, what she calls ‘Delta level 2’.
4 key changes to alert level 2
- Mandatory mask use. Face coverings are now mandatory for everyone over 12 when going into retail places such as supermarkets, shops, malls, restaurants, cafes, and bars. The same rules of wearing masks apply on public transport and visiting healthcare facilities. Staff at customer-facing workplaces must wear face coverings as well.
- Scanning in. You are now legally obliged to keep a record of places you have visited (restaurants, bars, cinemas, churches, hairdressers, etc) and anywhere else where you come in close contact with people. The government recommends using the Contact Tracer app, but you can also use a written record.
- Limits on gatherings. New rules on gatherings limit to 50 people for indoor gatherings. This includes cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs and events. The outdoor maximum is 100 people.
- Social distancing. A 1-2 metre social distance is required in public places that do not have a 50 person limit, including shops, libraries, museums and gyms.
Can I return to the office?
Where in Level 3 many workers were only able to be on site if they could not work from home, businesses will be able to open their offices and premises. However, if you are still able to work from home, it’s encouraged.
Businesses are urged to use alternative ways of working where possible, to reduce levels of people movement and interaction. For example, a business could use staggered shifts to reduce the amount of interpersonal interaction between workers on premises.
Can I travel around New Zealand?
Yes, you will be able to move around the country again as long as it is done so safely. Distance should be maintained on public transport and at airports. While Auckland remains in alert level 4, people travelling through the region (e.g, from Northland to Waikato) mustn’t stop and are asked to provide proof of why they are travelling.
Will I be able to go to retail stores in person?
Yes, stores will open as normal, however face coverings are required, as well as record keeping and good hygiene practices in place.
Can shopping centres and malls open?
Yes, but they will need to follow the lead of supermarkets with measures such as limiting the numbers of people.
Can I go to the hairdresser or beautician?
Yes, hairdressers and beauticians can open but staff will need to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Can I go to the gym?
Yes, exercise facilities and recreational centres can open, but social distancing must be observed.
Will professional sport resume?
Yes, professional sport such as Super Rugby and netball will be able to resume domestically.
Can I go to a bar, cafe or restaurant?
Yes. Bars, cafes and restaurants will open, subject to face covering requirements and conditions on gatherings being met. These venues must be able to apply the Three S’s – seated, separated and single server. People must be seated and no venue, regardless of size, can have more than 50 people. People must be separated, so there must be physical distance between tables. Each venue must have table service and will need to have a single server for each table. Contact tracing will also be key. Venues that don’t comply will be shut down.
Can I go to a nightclub or dance venue?
No, these venues will be unable to operate.
Are large gatherings allowed?
No, gatherings of more than 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors are not allowed.
Can we go to events, such as weddings?
Gatherings of up to 50 people indoors (100 outdoors) are allowed while maintaining physical distancing and contact tracing requirements. Events such as weddings, concerts, religious ceremonies and funerals can be held with these limits. Public venues such as museums and markets can open, and the same rules of distance and hygiene apply.
Can I see family and friends?
Yes. You no longer need to stick to your bubble and can begin seeing family and friends again, as long as you maintain good hygiene and keep a distance. You can have friends and family over to your home, but should keep the numbers small so that you can practise the physical distancing measures.
Will the borders open?
No. The border remains unchanged – New Zealanders arriving from overseas will still need to isolate for 14 days.
Will kindergartens, schools and universities be open?
Early learning, schools and tertiary education can reopen at level 2, but again with hygiene measures. Masks are not mandatory, but recommended.