Covid-19 rules and restrictions on businesses to be lifted under alert level 1

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there will still be strict controls on the border, but all current rules and restrictions on businesses and services will be “essentially lifted” under alert level 1.

She said the lower alert level will also put an end to restrictions for hospitality businesses, and gatherings of any size can take place.

Physical distancing measures will not be considered necessary.

“Community sport can start without physical distancing restrictions.”

Contact tracing efforts will remain and the government will be encouraging contact diaries.

Watch the PM’s latest briefing here:

Ardern said the golden rules under alert level 1 were:

  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • If you have cold or flu-like symptoms get tested
  • Wash your hands, Wash your hands, Wash your hands
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow and regularly disinfect shared surfaces
  • If you are told by health authorities to self isolate you must do so immmediately
  • If concerned about your wellbeing or you have underlying health conditions consult with your GP
  • Keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen so we can use that for contact tracing if needed
  • Businesses should help with rule seven by displaying a QR code
  • Stay vigilant
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She said it was the government’s “strong desire” to get to level 1 as soon as it is safe and possible.

“Within the last week we removed restrictions on bars and by Monday we’ll have a good view on whether that’s led to more cases.

She paid tribute to the efforts made in the fight against the coronavirus so far.

“Lives have been saved, hospital protected from overflow and the job of economic recovery will be able to start faster.”

Yesterday, Ardern announced that Cabinet will consider moving to alert level 1 on 8 June, earlier than previously indicated.

She said the country would be given a period of time to transition, but it was possible that we could be at alert level 1 by 10 June.

“As long as we kept seeing the results that we’re seeing now [then it is possible to move to level 1] … if we see cases at the border then that also shouldn’t derail our progress, because those of course are cases of individuals who are in quarantine.”

Ardern said the criteria for level 1 would be re-examined but it was likely to remain as it currently stands.

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“We need to stick to level 2 rules for now. We need to stay united and when we get to level 1, appreciate the freedom it offers and put into place new behaviours that will mean we don’t have to go backwards.”

Ardern said she would continue to advocate for distancing rules and had been in “awkward situations” where she had needed to reject close contact with people.

She said in reference to photographs of her at restaurants getting close to people she had tried to avoid it, but that could be difficult when people push in alongside you, sometimes children.

She said there were still some risks, including the country heading into winter and asymptomatic transmission.

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